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Brainstorming Unique Lists




  • Arts & Humanities
  • All Subjects


  • 3-5
  • 6-8
  • 9-12

Brief Description

In a game that is easily modified for any subject matter, students attempt to generate unique and original lists of words about specified topics.



  • brainstorm unique and unusual words associated with a given topic.
  • use dictionary research skills.
  • work together in groups.
  • check their work against lists created by the teacher and other students.
  • keep score.


brainstorm, word, game, thinking

Materials Needed

  • several lists containing ten words associated with various relevant topics
  • dictionaries
  • paper and pencils

Lesson Plan

Some word games encourage students to find specific words, but it is the divergent thinker who succeeds in Out of the Box! In this language arts game that can be adapted to focus on any subject matter, the teacher separates students into small groups. A topic is presented, and the students are given a few minutes to brainstorm unique and unusual words related to this topic.

For this game, let students use their dictionaries. It will be good practice for developing solid dictionary skills.

When the teacher announces that time is up, s/he reads a list of ten words that have been pre-selected for this topic. If the subject is "cheese," "cheddar" might be on the teacher's list, but "Camembert" is not as common and will likely win a point for the team. Students check their lists as a group and cross out every word that is also read by the teacher. They then award their team one point for each word that does not appear in the teacher's list. Each group reads its list of original words. The students draw a line through any words shared by another team and give their team another point for every word that no other team mentions. A new word is given and play continues.

Create a version of this game for any classroom subject by choosing categories that the students have encountered in class

  • Topics for social studies might include climate and transportation.
  • Topics for music could feature opera or rhythm. The possibilities are limitless!


    The student group with the most points at the end of the period is the winner.

    Lesson Plan Source

    Education World

    Submitted By

    Cara Bafile

    National Standards

    LANGUAGE ARTS: English
    GRADES K - 12
    NL-ENG.K-12.4 Communication Skills
    NL-ENG.K-12.5 Communication Strategies
    NL-ENG.K-12.6 Applying Knowledge
    NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills

    Find more great learning games in Education World's Learning Games Archive.