Triad’s Word Game

Teaching Tips

  • Card stock works best if it is available.
  • It is also helpful to have a variety of writing implements such as markers, colored pencils, pens, glitter pens, and crayons so that students can disguise their writing. We want the players to match the cards by category, not pen color.

This game teaches students about the meanings as well as multiple meanings of words. It also encourages critical thinking skills because it requires students to categorize words.

  • Divide class into groups of four to eight students.
  • This activity can take place in a learning center or several games can go on simultaneously in the classroom.
  • The object of the game is to collect three cards all from the same category.
  • Each student player can use teacher selected words from the Word Bank word lists. Link For example; the teacher might have selected the following words from the Word lists as part of a science unit on weather:   thunderstorm, tides, hurricane, wind
  • The player must decide upon a category that the words fit into and then expand the list so that there are between four and nine words in the list. For example, a player might add the following words to the list: blizzard, tornado, air pressure, front

1 – The teacher has several options for this game.

    1. The teacher can pre-select the words from the Word Lists.
      1. The teacher can have the game be more open-ended and request that students come up with their own categories from a recent unit of study. For example, if the students had been studying the human body, they could come up with categories about the different human body systems such as the circulatory system, respiratory system, digestive system, skeletal system, and nervous system.
      2. The teacher can use the game to have students come up with structural or spelling categories. For example, a student could select words that have the “-tion” ending or “-cher” spelling pattern.
      3. The game can be completely open-ended and students can choose any category.

2 – Each player selects three words from their list and writes them secretly on three separate slips of paper.

3 – One person collects all the cards, shuffles them, and deals three cards to each player. Each player looks at their cards and tries to determine what the categories are and what other items would fit into the category. They would keep their guesses to themselves. For example, if the cards read:

blizzard                       vein                 humidity

the player might think that blizzard could be a type of storm or an ice cream creation; vein might have to do with parts of the body or, more specifically, the circulatory system; and humidity might have to do with weather or the water cycle. Then the player would want to think of other items that would fit into the category. For example, if blizzard is a type of storm, then other items in the category might be thunderstorm, tornado, and hurricane.

4 – The player to the right of the dealer would start by asking another player, “Do you have thunderstorm?” If the player had the card with “thunderstorm”, she would give it to the asking player. Then the asking player would get another turn. She might ask another player, “Do you have tornado?” If the player does not have that card, then the turn moves to the next player

5 – The cards that players ask for will reveal clues about what might be in their hands. For example, the player asking for thunderstorm might be seeking out other kinds of storms or weather conditions.

6 – When all the players have had one turn, each player passes one card to the right and the game continues. The passing of one card happens after each round.

7 – There will be times when a player has no cards. For example, when they just have declared a category.

Teaching Tips

  • Optional: One point can be deleted if a player’s category is discovered first or last. This is to help students choose “in-the-middle” categories that are neither too hard nor too easy.

8 – There will be times when a player has more than three cards.


  • The player and the author of the set score one point after they collect all three cards in the original category.
  • No player can declare their own set.
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