Map task and puzzle

Additional Info

  • Name: Map task and puzzle

  • Linguistic dimension

  • CEFR Level: A2
  • Linguistic dimension - Skill(s): To listen to instructions about position in space To ask questions about where something is To answer such questions
  • Duration: 100 minutes
  • Target language: English and French
  • ICT dimension

  • ICT resources:



    A software which create a puzzle out of a given picture;

    A software which allows to drag and drop the pieces of the puzzle;

    Photoshop or similar CAD software;

    On line dictionaries such as English Vocabulary Profil.


  • ICT competences: The students are expected to develop or consolidate sense of space; to be able to reconstruct mentally the whole which was cut into pieces, to rotate and drag a piece to recompose the whole picture.
  • Detailed description of the task

  • Situation / theme(s): Map task with a map which is a picture to be reconstructed like a puzzle, while following indications of position and direction in L2
  • I can...:


    …..communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters.

    …. describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.


  • Product: A completed puzzle. A series of questions/answers template with instructions about positions in space.
  • Product requirements or prerequisites:



    In order to make the task more dependent.on the questions/answers, pictures should be in black and white and rather unpredictable.

    Students already master simple indications of position and direction in L2

    First the teacher prepares a puzzle and trains the class about position and direction vocabulary and about question templates

    (ex. Where is the X? It is near to Y /to the left/right of /on your left/right /above X /below X/between/ among /in the middle of/ at the corner of , not far from, behind the ,. in front of X at the top/bottom left-hand/right-hand corner of the picture).


  • Process:


    Two classes of A2 CEFR level will be involved. Each class prepares a puzzle of 36 pieces for the other and in the following lesson reconstruct the received puzzle



    1st step (20 min)

    Chose a picture Describe it in L2 and produce a written text of max 100-150 words

    Check whether some of the words used in the description do not belong to A2 level as represented in English Vocabulary Profile.


    2nd step (5 min)

    Divide the picture in 36 pieces, divide the text in sentences.


    3rd step (10 min)

    Group the 36 pieces 6 by 6, mixing pieces of different part of the original picture but leaving at least two close pieces in each group.


    4th step (15 min)

    A the puzzle is prepared on paper: place in six envelops the groups of pieces and one or two sentences which describe details of the picture related to the pieces in the envelop.

    B the puzzle is digital: use a software programme which delivers the groups of six pieces at intervals.


    PUZZLE recomposition

    (50 min)

    The class in divided in groups of 5 students, four players and a referee The members of each group stay on different part of a carton wall: two on one side and the other two on the other side. Every 5 minutes the referee delivers the pieces to two members and the sentences to the other two. The referee controls that the members of the team do not use L1 and that each player asks at least a question in L2.and receives an answer in L2 for each envelop.

    After opening the first 3 envelops the students will swap seats: the two students which had till that moment received the pieces of the puzzle will instead receive sentences, while those who first read sentences see now the pieces of the puzzle.

    If the puzzle is digital then the play is better played by a single player or a single team who receives via software both pieces and sentences

    Instead of questioning and answering members of the team will read the sentences in turns and give instructions to those who operate the mouse .

    The group of students who first completes the puzzle wins.

    The teacher explains to the class only those words which A2 students are not supposed to know.

    While the students discuss position of pieces, read sentences and give answers in L2 the teacher can evaluate the degree of preparation of the single students.

  • Division of roles (optional): The referees should be a role for very lively students
  • Consolidating activities suggested or follow up plan:



    Reinforcers: drills or other activities aimed at memorizing vocabulary of space and position,

    Matching photos or drawings to a description of position where the

    most meaningful words are deleted and might be reintroduced following what is represented in the photos or drawings


  • Success factors or evaluation criteria:



    Free puzzlemakers software on line create a frame and profiles which should be deleted in order to make the task more dependent on the questions/answers

    Evaluation criteria: While the students discuss position of pieces, read sentences and give answers in L2 the teacher can evaluate the degree of preparation of the single students.

    Does s/he exploit what is suggested in the sentences (comprehension)

    Has s/he a good command of position vocabulary? (production)

  • Authors: Carla Marello; Federica Riccobono
  • Didactic added value of the task and other information

  • Practical hints for teachers:



    Wise choice of the picture: not too telling otherwise students recompose the puzzle without listening or reading the details in the sentences.

    Train students to divide the A4 sheet in four parts: bottom left- hand, bottom right-hand, top left-hand, top right-hand
    so that any time the sentence reads “in the upper part/ in the lower part “ they can position the piece in one of the four parts waiting for the close piece to arrive.

  • Additional methodological or didactic comments:



    Color pictures are easier to reconstruct.

  • Reasons why this task is a model of best practices:



    The task was created to develop listening and production skills of position expressions which are not usually practised enough during the syllabuses and foreign language programmes.


  • Reasons why this task travels well:



    This task can be introduced in most national syllabuses and foreign language programmes and can be easily modulated according to age of students.


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