The Right Word Activity

The Goal: To learn the importance of exact wording. The team with the longest list of correct names for things in the classroom after five minutes wins.

When the teacher says “Go,” groups of three or four students will right down the names of things in the classroom for five minutes. The groups may organize themselves anyway they wish, but each group must have only one list of words when the timer goes off. Students are encouraged to use computers and other electronic devices to find the right word for an item. The team with the most words at the end of the activity will get 25 points extra credit each.


  • The words on the list must be things, not people, abstractions or actions.

  • The things must be inside the room, and they must be visible (not inside a bag).

  • Students must accurately name the thing. For example, if a team writes “chalkboard,” instead of “whiteboard,” the team will not get any points.

  • If two or more teams write the same words down, for instance two teams write “whiteboard,” neither team gets points.

  • If one team has more exact wording, that team gets the point. If one team has “whiteboard” and the second “dry erase whiteboard” the second team gets the point.

  • Descriptive words, about quantity, quality, size or color do not count unless they define the item. Thus “black backpack” is just “backpack,” but “dry erase” and “white” help define “dry erase whiteboard.”

  • Brand names do not count. You must name the thing itself.

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