JENGA...a comprehensible input game???

JENGA...a comprehensible input game???

January 25, 2019

Yep.  For real.

This is definitely a student favorite.  We love the fact that they acquire language, chat in the target language and have fun while they are having a blast.  It's so amazing that even the Food Truck Garage in Punta del Este, Uruguay does it!

PdeE Food Truck Garage

If you've been with us for a while, you know that jugar jueves is a thing.  Sure, sometimes we use activities that are authentic games played in the target culture, but sometimes they are for output, reinforcing pros and cons for a debate, for grammar or vocabulary, or like this one, just loaded with input.  

Each MesaMima unit is equipped with the 54 questions or statements that your students need to play.  All you need to do is buy yourself some Jenga games.  This is where you recruit help from a teacher's assistant, parent helper, or your own family.  That labor comes really cheap.

  • Number each block 1-54 on each set.
  • In class, distribute the sets and your pages of questions to groups of 4 students
  • I usually put ONE answer key taped to the board, but one per group is fine too! Simply write the answer next to the question and fold it in half!
Although your unit has the instructions in it, here they are so you can wrap your head around it!


  1. Figure out who goes first by having each group use Tin Marin to eliminate 3 people.  Start with the last person and proceed agujas del reloj. 
  2. The person to start chooses a block and reads the question before removing the block.  After answering correctly, or stating their opinion, they can take the block out and place on top of the tower. If the answer is incorrect, continue to the next student. 
  3. Continue as above until the tower falls.  Obviously, the entire class won't knock their tower down together...Decide if they get to replay, have a follow up activity, etc...extra motivation to work carefully.  Alternatively, declare a team winner for the group with the highest tower. 

Note:  In EVERY class EVER, there is a group of students who seem to want to just play Jenga, and completely ignore the questions.  Be sure to reiterate that they MUST answer the question that coordinates with the number before moving the block.  You will want to monitor groups as they are working as well. At the very end, a quick 3 minute, no-question brain break to see who can build a taller tower can be the carrot that you dangle;)

***Feel like numbering blocks is for the birds?  Try turning the questions into a deck of 54 cards, and students can choose a card, answer it, and then choose a block at random.  Beware this takes more prep with each unit, but avoids the pre-numbering.  Why not just binge watch Elite on Netflix and get to numbering?

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