Guessing Game – passive voice activity

Lesson Plans & Activities

This is a simple activity to help students practice the passive voice‏‎ in the present simple‏‎. You should use it once you have gone through the basics of the passive voice and your students are familiar with the rules of formation for the passive present simple tense.

The activity can be used with any student level or age group and it can easily be played with very little equipment.


If you have a stand alone blackboard use the back side to write on it several items that can be easily described by shape, size, and material. Alternatively prepare a set of flashcards‏‎ with one item printed on each card. You can do this by hand or use your computer to create the cards.

You might now want to revise a few passive questions such as:

  • What is it used for?
  • What is it made of?
  • Where is it found?
  • Where is it bought?
  • Who is it used by?

But of course see if the class can’t come up with more like these.

How to Play

Mix the cards in front of your class as if you were an experienced card dealer. Feel free to ham it up here!

For the first game you want to demonstrate, so you pick a card at random from the pile and make sure the class can’t see what it is you’re holding. Then invite the class to guess what is on the card by asking simple questions as above.

You can give a few clues if they get stuck.

Gameplay could go along these lines:

Question: What is it used for?
Answer:It is used for keeping food.
Question:Where is it found?
Answer:It is usually found in kitchens but also in shops and basements.
Question:What is it made of?
Answer:It is made of metal and plastic.

And whoever gets the right answer keeps the card and scores a point. Once the class have the hang of this then get students to play it in small groups‏‎ while you circulate and help.

Variations on the Theme

  • You can vary the level of difficulty of this activity by choosing items that require a more or less detailed description to be identified.
  • To make the activity easier select items that can be grouped under the same category like household items, garden tools, food, etc.
  • You can also adapt the activity to practice other tenses in the passive voice. In this case you may want to focus on activities or events rather than objects, like an excursion, a dinner party, Bungy Jumping, horse riding, etc.

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  1. Alma Ghita

    Thanks! Sounds like an engaging activity. I’ll try it in class today: ).

    • Pete West

      Thanks, Alma. Let us know how it goes. 🙂