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Cube Game

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Lesson Type: Build Mastery
Grade: 2, 3
Group Size: Individual, Pair, Small Group, Large Group, Whole Class
Length: 10 minutes
Goal: Given a vocabulary word, the student can use clues to help his or her peers to identify it. Conversely, given clues, students can use their vocabulary knowledge to identify the word the clues hint at.

Materials: Vocabulary Cube (print here), markers, a list of six vocabulary words to review on the board or chart paper

What to Do


Print out a copy of the Vocabulary Cube for each group. Have your students use the list of vocabulary words to fill in the sheet so that there is one word for each box. Then have them cut the cube template out and tape the sides of the cube together to create a three-dimensional cube.

Alternatively, students could build their own cubes using words from their word journals or the word wall.


1. Review the vocabulary words you have chosen for this lesson.

Today, we will become more familiar with our vocabulary words by playing the Cube Game.

2. Choose a student to help you model this game.

Today, we are going to play the Cube Game. Your group will sit in a circle. One person will throw the cube to another person, as [Student name] is going to do now.

Have the student throw the cube to you.

The person that catches the cube will silently read the word their right thumb is touching. It’s their job to help us guess what the word is without ever saying it. The person holding the cube can act the word out, give us an example of the word, or give us a synonym or antonym for the word: it’s up to them. The rest of the group has to guess what the word.

Try to get students to guess the word under your right thumb. Call on students to guess the word.

I just showed you what to do when you catch the cube. I am sure that you’ll probably recognize most of these words. If you forget the meaning of the word under your right thumb, don’t worry. In that case, just throw the cube to another person in the group.


3. Have students play the Cube Game.

Now, it is your turn to play the Cube Game. Remember to use lots of different ways of explaining your word when it is your turn.

4. Walk around to monitor students’ performance as they play the game.


For Advanced Students:

Students can generate words for their own word cubes. Have two groups of students create cubes and then swap.

For Struggling Students:

Students may need help identifying the right thumb. If students have a difficult time coming up with a way to describe a word, encourage them to use synonyms and examples.

For ELL Students:

Students may need help identifying the right thumb. You may have these students work with partners to describe their words.

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