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Anagram Family Time



  • Arts & Humanities
    --Language Arts


  • 3-5
  • 6-8
  • 9-12

Brief Description

In this puzzling activity, students unscramble four anagrams and figure out what the words have in common.


Students will

  • unscramble words to correctly spell four words
  • figure out what the four words have in common.

anagram, spelling, puzzle, scramble, family, category, theme

Materials Needed

Lesson Plan

This activity is the "Wednesday 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 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 four anagrams. After students have unscrambled one or two of the anagrams, they might be able to identify what the words have in common. That commonality might help them identify the other words in the group.

A Sample Puzzle
Education World has created A Year of "Anagram Family Time" Puzzles for you to use -- one group for each Wednesday during the school year. Each week, write one group of four anagrams on a chalkboard or chart for all students to see. Students study the anagrams, unscramble each anagram to make a word, and then determine what the four words have in common.

Following is a sample group of four anagrams and the solution to the puzzle. If the puzzle is too easy or difficult for your students, see instructions below for adapting the "Anagram Family Time" activity for your grade level.


Answers: pilot, artist, dentist, and gardener. All four words identify jobs people do.

If students are able to unscramble a couple of the anagrams in the group above, identifying what the other two words have in common can help. Knowing that pilot and dentist, for example, are jobs people hold might help students unscramble the other two anagrams in the group.

Scoring the Puzzle
You might keep a tally of students' correct answers: A student might earn a point for correctly identifying each anagram in the group and a point for identifying what the words have in common -- for a total of 5 points for the activity.

You might track students' correct Anagram Family Time responses: Award stars for each puzzle they correctly solve. Give a prize to the student who gets the most correct answers each month, quarter, or semester.

Adapting "Anagram Family Time" for Your Grade Level
Consider the concepts and vocabulary you are teaching in class. Adapt the game to include that grade-appropriate vocabulary. For example:

  • Provide four of the weeks spelling words as anagrams.
  • If you are teaching a unit on the community, provide anagrams that identify different buildings in a community.
  • If you are teaching a unit on dinosaurs, provide anagrams of some types of dinosaurs.
  • Provide anagrams of new vocabulary words introduced in a story you are reading aloud to students.

If you think it is appropriate, have students work in pairs to complete this "puzzling activity."


Track students' correct responses. Give a special prize to those who figure out the answers to the most anagrams each semester. 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.