Prefix Games and ESL Activities

Prefix Professionals

ESL Prefixes Game - Reading and Matching Activity - Elementary - 25 minutes

Here are two fun prefix games to help introduce elementary students to prefixes and root words. The students are divided into pairs and begin by playing a pelmanism game. Each pair is given a set of prefix cards and a set of root word cards, which they shuffle and spread out face down on the table in two sets. Students then take it in turns to turn over one prefix card and one root word card. The student reads the prefix and root word card aloud. If the prefix and root word go together to form a word, the student keeps the two cards and has another turn. If the cards don't match, the student turns them back over, keeping them in the same place. The game continues until all the cards have been matched. The student with the most pairs of cards at the end of the game wins. The students then move on to play a game of snap with the cards. One student takes all the prefix cards and the other student takes the root word cards. The students shuffle their cards and place them face down in a pile in front of them. Both students turn over a card from their pile at the same time. If the prefix and root word match to make a word, the first student to say 'Snap' scores a point. Students then pick up their own cards, shuffle them and play again. If the prefix and root word don't match, the students continue turning over cards until a matching pair comes up and someone says 'Snap'. If a student says 'Snap' when the cards don't match, the other student scores a point and the game continues. The first student to get ten points wins the game.
 

Find Someone Who...

ESL Prefixes Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Intermediate - 30 minutes

In this insightful prefixes activity, students ask and answer yes/no questions containing words that use prefixes. Each student is given a copy of the worksheet. The students begin by completing the items on the worksheet with 12 prefixes. When the students have finished, the answers are checked with the class. The students then prepare the yes/no questions they need to ask in order to do the activity. Students then go around the class, asking each other the questions, e.g. 'Did you use to misbehave when you were younger?' When a student finds someone who answers 'yes' to a question, the student writes down their name and asks a 'Wh' follow-up question to gain more information, noting down the answer in the last column of the worksheet. When everyone has finished, the students give feedback to the rest of the class on what they found out.
 

Prefix Dominoes

ESL Prefixes Game - Reading, Matching and Speaking Activity - Intermediate - 25 minutes

In this engaging prefixes game, students play dominoes where they match prefixes that have an opposite or negative meaning to words. The students are divided into groups of three and each group is given a set of dominoes. The students shuffle the dominoes and deal out five each, leaving the rest in a pile face down. The top domino from the pile is then placed face up on the table. The first player puts down one of their dominoes, making sure that the prefix or word on their domino matches with the word or prefix on either side of the domino on the table. If the player forms an opposite or negative word successfully, they score a point. For an extra point, the player then uses the word in a sentence. The other players then take it in turns to match their dominoes in the same way by putting them down at either end of the domino chain and making a suitable sentence when an opposite or negative word is formed. If a player cannot put down one of their dominoes, they take one from the top of the pile and put it down if they can. When a player has gotten rid of all their dominoes, the game ends. The students then add up their scores. The player with the most points wins the game. Afterwards, the students can shuffle the dominoes and play again. When the students have finished, the prefixes are reviewed and other words are elicited using each prefix.
 

Prefix Puzzle

ESL Prefixes Activity - Writing, Listening and Speaking Activity - Intermediate - 30 minutes

Here is a challenging crossword activity to help students practice 20 of the most common prefixes. The students are divided into two groups (A and B) and each student is given a corresponding worksheet. Both groups have the same crossword, but Group A has the words across and Group B has the words down. Working together, the students define and write down clues for the words written on their crossword. Students should define the part of speech and explain the meaning of the prefix for each word, e.g. 'It's an adjective. The prefix means opposite. We use the word to describe..., etc'. However, students are not allowed to use any part of the word being described in their clues. When the students have finished writing, they pair up with someone from the other group. The students then take it in turns to ask their partner for a clue to one of their missing words, e.g. 'What's 1 down?' Their partner reads out the clue for that word and the other student tries to guess what it is. If the student guesses the word successfully, they write it on their crossword. If not, their partner continues to give more clues until the student is able to guess the word. When the students have finished, the meaning of each prefix is reviewed with the class.
 

What's the word?

ESL Prefixes Game - Reading, Listening, Matching and Speaking Activity - Intermediate - 25 minutes

In this entertaining prefixes game, students listen to sentences with missing words and complete them by choosing suitable words and adding prefixes to them. The students are divided into pairs (A and B) and each student is given a corresponding worksheet. Student A goes first by reading sentence 1 on their worksheet to their partner, e.g. 'I had to BLANK my account when I lost my mobile phone.' Student B then tries to guess the missing word by choosing an appropriate word from a box on their worksheet, adding a prefix to it and making any other necessary changes, such as changing the tense or form of the word. If the guess is correct, Student B scores two points. If the word is wrong, Student B has one more chance to guess for one point. If the student fails to guess the word, Student A reveals the answer, which is shown in brackets at the end of the sentence. Student B then reads their first sentence to Student A and so on. This continues with students taking it in turns to guess the missing word in each sentence until all the sentences have been read out. The student with the most points at the end of the game wins.
 
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