May I give you a bomb?

Students practice request sentences by trying to pass off a ticking time bomb.

This is my adaptation of this old chestnut from Englipedia.

First, I write up on the blackboard:

  • May I give you a bomb?
  • Sure.
  • No, you may not.

I demonstrate how to play with the JTE first. I show that I have a paper cut-out of a bomb and make a ticking noise to show that I'm trying to get rid of it urgently. I ask the JTE "May I give you a bomb?" and play rock-paper-scissors with them. If I win, the JTE has to say "Sure" and then I give them the bomb. If I lose, the JTE can say "No, you may not" and I have to find someone else to pass the bomb off to.

The rule is that once you've asked someone once, you have to ask someone else. As in the demonstration, the person who's holding the bomb has to win rock-paper-scissors before they can pass it off. I tell the students that they can stand up and move if they have the bomb, but they have to stay in their seats otherwise. The responding student needs to say the appropriate response. This is a hard rule to enforce, so keep an eye out.

I set a time for one minute and pass out the 6 bombs on the worksheet to random students in the class. It's probably best to avoid giving them to very quiet students in the beginning. As the game is going, I say "tick tick tick tick!" to try and instill urgency in the students to make the game more fun. If you have any kind of sound effect or building music, you could play it. Once the timer expires, I yell "Ka-boom!" and stop the game.

I play the game in three rounds. Students who are holding a bomb in the first round get 1 point, and students with no bomb get 2 points. Then I announce that Round 2 is starting and the students holding the bombs continue the game. For Round 2 I give students in both categories a few more points, and then in Round 3 I reverse the points and the students holding the bombs get more points. The winners are the students with the most points. The original game had students become elminated if they held a bomb when the timer went off, but if you do the point system then all of the students can participate for the whole game. This game is very open to adjustment, so go with whatever works for your situation!

You can play this game with just about any request sentence, such as:

  • Can I give you a bomb?
  • Would you like a bomb?
  • How about a bomb?
  • Do you want a bomb?

I've never had a class that wasn't extremely enthusiastic about the game, but it's probably better to keep it short and sweet and to make sure the class isn't getting too rowdy.

Small files
  • Bombs.docx (570 KB)
    1. EdnaKrabapple June 19, 2019

      They loved it! I gave out 1 bomb per table for round one and they all sat down. For round two there were 2 bombs per table. For the final round I handed out 3 bombs per table and then got everyone to stand up and roam around the classroom.

    2. ohnoko December 2, 2020

      I've used this game as a warm-up a few times now. The kids love it!

    3. emilieloveskiwi April 27, 2023

      I'm planning on using this soon, thanks! But I plan to change up the point system a bit. I'm going to roll two dice after each round. The students sitting down get points from a 10 sided die, while the students holding the bombs get points from a 6 sided die. (You can type "roll dice" in Google if you don't have a 10 sided die.) This way, there might be a little more point variation depending on which round the students are caught holding the bomb.

    4. ratclass April 27, 2023

      omg im very excited to use this! thanks for sharing!

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