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Seven-Letter Scrabble® Spell-Off



  • Arts & Humanities
    -- Language Arts
  • Mathematics


  • K-2
  • 3-5
  • 6-8
  • 9-12

Brief Description

How many words can students create with seven Scrabble® letters?


Students will

  • use their spelling skills to build words using just seven letters.
  • correctly spell those words.


spelling, Scrabble®, game, vocabulary, puzzle, brain

Materials Needed

  • Scrabble® Tools (click on the "Scrabble Word Builder" tab); use of this tool is optional

Lesson Plan

This activity is the "Monday Puzzle" -- part of a week of "puzzling activities" that comprise the Lesson Planning article A Puzzle A Day Provides Practice That Pays. This fun activity -- easily adapted to any grade -- makes a great "bellringer" activity for settling down students at the start of the school day, immediately after lunch, or as a transition after any other activity.

For this puzzling activity, provide students with seven Scrabble® letter tiles and give them a set amount of time to create words using just those letters. You can use the online Scrabble® Word Builder Tool to produce a list of words that contain some or all of those seven letters. Simply type the seven letters into the tool, (Be sure to use the Word Builder window and NOT the Dictionary window), hit Go, and let the tool do the work for you. Then you're ready to see how many of those words your students can create.

A Sample Puzzle
For this sample game, provide students with the seven letters listed below.

For younger students, you might start with easier combinations of letters. Also, all tiles do not need to be different letters; you might provide two tiles of a single letter.

Post the letters on a board or chart for all to see.

Type the letters into the Scrabble® Word Builder Tool; the tool returns a list of 59 words that can be spelled using some or all of those letters. Among the words are ail, alp, ciao, clap, coal, coil, cola, lap, lip, oil, opal, oval, pail, viola, vocal, and voila.

If this puzzle is too easy or difficult for your students, see instructions below for adapting the "Seven-Letter Scrabble® Spell-Off" activity for your grade level.

Scoring the Puzzle
You might score this game in several ways. Following are just a few ways in which you might tally points:

  • Give students a point for each acceptable word made from the day's seven Scrabble® letter tiles.
  • Award students 1 point for each one-letter word they make, 2 points for each two-letter word, 3 points for each three-letter words, and so on.
  • Award points based on the point values assigned to each letter in the actual Scrabble® board game. (See Scrabble® Letter Point Values below.)
  • At the start of the game, assign double or triple point values to specific letters in any word. For example, tell students that the fourth letter in any word they spell has a double point value.

You then might award a prize to the student who makes the most words from the day's letter tiles, and/or create a chart on which to track student results over a month, a quarter, or a longer period of time.

Adapting "Seven-Letter Scrabble® Spell-Off" for Your Grade Level
For younger students, you might start with easier combinations of letters, and/or provide two tiles of a single letter.

Scrabble® Letter Point Values
You can build students' math skills as you build their spelling skills by having them score their words using the assigned values for each letter in the actual Scrabble® game. Students might tally their own scores, then exchange papers with a classmate who verifies the score. Below is a list of the point values for each letter in the Scrabble® game. You might provide those values by writing them on each letter tile you post each day. For example, for the letters used in the sample game above, you would post the following letters and point values:

A-1      C-3       I-1       L-1
O-1      P-3       V-4

Those point values are derived from the values of the letters in the actual Scrabble® board game. The value of each letter is as follows:

A-1 B-3 C-3 D-2 E-1 F-4
G-2 H-4 I-1 J-8 K-5 L-1
M-3 N-1 O-1 P-3 Q-10 R-1
S-1 T-1 U-1 V-4 W-4 X-8
Y-4 Z-10        


Use one of the scoring methods described above or create your own scoring method. If you are tracking student performance on each of the five puzzle-of-the-day activities that comprise this puzzle-a-day plan, students are bound to achieve success on one or more of the different types of puzzles.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins

Find more great puzzle ideas in this week's Lesson Planning article, A Puzzle A Day Provides Practice That Pays.