Bomb Threat

Get students used to hearing relative clauses with the relative pronouns "that" and "which". Group activity. (Lesson 6.2)


Print the attached files. Laminate the bomb innards sheet. You’ll need one copy per group.

Print the debriefing sheet. One copy per kid.

Print the script. One copy, for your eyes only.

Make one set of cards for each group. You’ll need 4 red x’s, 1 yellow star, 2 black squares, and 2 blue arrows (1 for 180 degrees, 1 for 270  degrees).  When I made these, I cut them out of construction paper and carefully aligned them on a grid in a lamination sheet.  After lamination, I cut along the grid so that the pieces are square and stack nicely but are mostly transparent.  That really depends on how much time you have.

Get a roll of double-sided tape.  Students will use this to attach the cards to the bomb board.

Make flashcards for the new tough words. [wire, switch, timer, key, ~ degrees, battery]


Tell the kids that today they aren’t junior high students.  Tell them they are at a Police Academy and must turn off a bomb.  (Dress up like a cop?)

Use the flashcards to teach them the new words quickly.

Act out the activity with your OTE  and explain the meaning of each card.  The red x’s cut wires, the yellow star breaks something, the black squares take items out, and the blue arrows turn switches.

Then get them into groups.  Give each group 1 bomb board, 1 set of cards, and 1 fairly long piece of double-sided tape they can break it into smaller pieces for each card.

Set a timer (I usually do 8 minutes and tell them the bomb will explode when it beeps), and start reading.  If you have time and the students really need it, you may be able to read it twice.

After you finish reading, collect the boards.  Quickly review the script and calculate the number of errors each team made.  The winning team gets to ride a dinosaur, or whatever other prize you have.

If you’re running out of time, this is your stopping point.  Upon continuing, hand out the debriefing page.  Go over the script with the kids line by line.  It’s boring but must be done, and hopefully they had enough fun defusing the bomb to pay attention for a while.  Translate it with them and your OTE, and have your OTE explain any lingering issues with relative clauses.


Best used after a textbook lesson on the grammar. It's fairly hard stuff to begin with, and this lesson, though fun, is a challenge.

Junior High
Bomb Boards, Flashcards, worksheets