Grow Cube start
Click here to play the game.

Drag panels onto the cube which will grow and grow with each turn. You complete the game when all the panel's levels are at maximum. Each panel effects the others as they grow so you have to think about the order. Click here for the Walkthrough.


This activity was designed to work after a rather stuffy presentation on the Narrative tenses in an upper intermediate class. I told my learners that they were going to write a story and that they needed to decide who there main character was and where the story took place. While they were doing this I wrote some guided instructions on the board that they would use in the writing task. I then put the game up on the data projector. I told the student that they were going to write the first part of a story by watching the game and using the guided instruction #1. I then followed these steps:
  1. I clicked on the yellow man, 3rd down on the right of the grow cube, and when the man was standing on the cube I said "Write the first part, please".
  2. When I had judged the students to have finished I told them to watch the screen and clicked on the water, 2nd down on the left, and when the game sequence had finished I told them to "write the second part, please".

I repeated these instructions clicking on the icons (the correct order of all icons is; man, water, 3 coloured objects, wooden tub, blue pipe, fire, dish, bone, spring, ball) each time and telling them which guided instruction we were at. I reacted to any learner needs for vocabulary or grammar and even allowed a degree of non English speaking as long as they were discussing the task - that of writing the story. Sometimes I would narrate with questions, for instance when other yellow figures appeared I rhetorically asked "who are they?", "What are they doing?" etc.
As they discussed the next part of the story and wrote it down there were times when sequences of the game were ignored or not noticed. This was fine as long as they completed the task of writing the story following the guided instructions. In fact, by the time it came to click on the dish icon I stopped and turned to the class and said "Now when you watch, too much is going to happen. Too much for you to write down, so don't. After you watch decide what the story is and don't worry about all the details. Look at the (guided) instructions and use them". I did this to reduce the stress the learners may have felt to include all the details of the story. The main point of the exercise was for the learners to produce a text using the grammar we had covered by following the (guided) instructions and in a fun way. For the post reading activity it is also good if there is some variation in the stories they produce.

When the activities had finished I told them to pass their story to the person on the left. Generally its not neccessary to set a reading task as the learners are generally motivated enough by the process to read their partners story. When they have finished I told them to tell their partner about any differences in their stories and finally which one they liked the best and why. Then using a pencil they read it again to see if they could find any narrative tense mistakes and correct them. When they had finished they passed their partners story back pointing out and explaining any mistakes.


  1. Tell the class they are going to play a game on the internet but first they have to read the story of the game. The problem is that the story is not in the correct order. They have to read the story and number each text in the correct order by writing a number in the box underneath.
  2. When they have finished they compare with a partner and justify their answer if it is different to their partner's. Ask them to underline any language which helped them decide.
  3. Learners use their text to play the game. Playing the game is the comprehension check. Their success at playing the game acts as feedback on their ordering of the text. If they want to change the order of their text while playing the game they can. Allow any communication between students as they plan as long as it is in English.
  4. Back in class go through the answers. This can be done by you reading the text in the correct order or the learners taking it in turns to read out each text in the correct order. Alternatively if you have an IWB or data projector with internet connection then you play the game under their direction