When teaching middle school students new vocabulary or concepts, flashcards can be particularly useful. The problem is that simply showing the flashcards and asking students to repeat after you will likely leave students bored and disengaged. Just like younger learners, teenagers learn best when they are having fun! Below we’ll share our top flashcard games for middle school students you can use to teach new vocabulary and concepts in a fun and effective way.
Flashcard Games For Middle School Students
1: Read My Mind
This first flashcard game is so simple, but students really love it. Especially when they guess correctly! Before playing this game, you’ll need to teach students what is on the flashcards. Show to students and have them repeat after you. Then have students say what’s on each flashcard on their own. Once you have practiced enough, the game can begin.
Mix up the flashcards and then choose one, but don’t show the students. Then, ask students to ‘read your mind’ and guess what flashcard you are holding. To guess, students should raise their hands. The first student to guess correctly gets to come to the front of the class and choose the next flashcard.
Here’s a fun variation of this game: After choosing a flashcard, tell students what card you have. You can tell the truth, or you can lie and pretend you have a different card. Have students ‘read your mind’ and try to guess if you are lying or telling the truth.
2: Find It Fast
What middle school students love about this next flashcard game is how competitive it is! To play, you’ll first need to put students in groups of 3/4. You’ll also need to print of a set of flashcards for each group and one for yourself. Have each group place the flashcards face down on their desks and mix them up.
To begin, have one student from each group come to the teacher at the front of the class. All the other students must stay in their seats, with their eyes closed and their heads on their desks.
Next, arrange your set of flashcards in a particular order on your desk and show it to the students at the front of the class. Give them some time to memorize, and then shout, “Go!“. At this point, these students run back to their groups and tell them the order of the flashcards.
Each group should then arrange the flashcards in the correct order. Once they have finished, all students in the group should clap two times and put their hands on their heads. The fastest group to arrange the flashcards in the correct order is the winner! Next, play again with another student from each group!
Although this game is a lot of fun, middle school students can get a little too excited! So, to be safe, be sure to tell students not to push students from other teams and be sure to clear any obstacles (bags, coats, etc.) from the floor so students don’t trip up.
3: Meet Me In The Middle
In this flashcard game, students will compete in two teams to score as many points as possible. To prepare, place a set of 6-8 flashcards in a line on the board. Next, divide the class into two teams and have each team make a line at opposite ends of the board. Now the game can begin.
When the teacher says, “Go!”, the first student in line for each team begins walking down the line of flashcards. When they arrive at each flashcard, they must read what’s on the flashcard out loud before progressing to the next card. The two students continue like this until they meet in the middle. At this point, the two students will play Rock, Scissors, Paper.
The student that wins gets to continue down the line of flashcards. The loser must go to the back of their team’s line, and then the next student in line sets off down the line of flashcards, reading each one as they go. When the two students meet, they must play Rock, Scissors, Paper. If a student manages to get all the way down the line of flashcards, then they score a point, and the game starts again. Play for 10 minutes or so, and the team with the most points is the winner.
4: Flashcard Mingle Game
This game is a fantastic way to get your middle school students up and out of their seats and speaking using the target language. For this activity, you will need several sets of flashcards. Give one flashcard to each student and instruct them to stand up and push their chairs under the desk.
To begin, each student must meet another student and have a dialogue based on the information that is on their flashcards. After the dialogue, students must play Rock, Scissors, Paper, and the winner gets to ‘level up’. The student who ‘leveled up’ is now at level 1 and must hold one finger up in the air. The loser remains at level 0.
Next, level 1 students must meet another level 1 student, and level 0 students must meet another level 0 student. Again, they should have a dialogue and play Rock, Scissors, Paper to see who gets to level up. The first student to make it to level 5 is the winner!
TEACHING TIP: To ensure all students get a chance to read each flashcard, you can ask students to swap their flashcards after each game of Rock, Scissors, Paper.
5: Four Corner Flashcard Game
This flashcard game is super simple, but teenagers love to play it. Especially since they get a chance to get up out of their seats and move around. For this activity, you will need two sets of four flashcards. Place one flashcard in each of the four corners of the classroom, and place the other set of four flashcards facedown on your desk. Now the game can begin.
Tell students they have 5 seconds to choose one of the four flashcards and to go to the corresponding corner. After 5 seconds, tell students they must stay in the corner they are in. Next, have all the students in each corner say the details on the flashcard out loud. Finally, choose a random flashcard from your desk. All students in the corner with the same flashcard are out and must sit down. Play again and continue like this until only one student is left. That student is the winner.
Where To Find Printable Flashcards
Obviously, before you can play any of these games with your students, you’re going to need some flashcards. Printable flashcards are great for these activities as all you need is a printer and an internet connection. There are a number of places you can get printable flashcards.
Games4esl Printable Flashcards
Here at Games4esl we like to help teachers save time preparing their lessons, and so we provide lots of free printable flashcards. These come as printable PDF flashcards in small and large sizes and cover a wide variety of topics for students. You can find them here on our Printable Flashcards Page.
Make Your Own With Canva
Sometimes you just can’t find the perfect flashcards for your lesson. Luckily, they are really easy to make with Canva. Canva is an online design tool, and there are lots of flashcard templates you can easily edit. Simply type in ‘flashcards’ into Canva, choose a design you like, and then add your own words and pictures. You can then download them as a PDF and print them for your class.
Related Middle School Resources
Thanks for reading. I hope your students have lots of fun playing these flashcard games. Before you go, if you’re a middle school teacher, you may find these related articles useful:
7 Reading Games For Middle School Students
10 Classroom Games For Middle School Students
50 Debate Topics For Middle School Students