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Connect Four - The Article Game

Game facts and game description

The game “Connect Four – the article game” is a self-developed game for people with
German as a second language or with learning difficulties.


The educational game was developed according to the game “Connect four” as an
interactive whiteboard version.


To memorise and use articles in a correct way. Game for two teams. The first group who
has a set of forms completed the correct way (vertical, horizontal or diagonal) is the


The class is divided into several teams (2 – 4 groups with 4 people). Two teams always play
against each other. The other classmates listen to the game and monitor answers and the


One play session takes about 10 minutes (without feedback and repeating the grammar).
Overall duration introduction, feedback and grammar included takes about 30 – 35

What can be learned by playing the game?

● strengthening of knowledge about articles and their right use in the German
● communication in the group
● decision-making


The game can be used in German as a second language class and it can easily be adopted
to other foreign language classes as well as to mathematics (e.g. multiplications, addition,
subtraction, division).

Game description

Nouns are collected from the class and written in the matrix into the 1st horizontal column.

● After the noun collection process each group takes turns and sets one article plus
● Correct ending of the noun in one column. Start is the first row but the column
(with cases) can be selected.
● The vertical columns are filled with the right article in its specific case (in German
three articles and 4 cases).
● The first group that has 4 right answers in a row (vertical, horizontal or diagonal) is
the winner of the game.

Target group and settings

● People with German as a second language
● People with learning difficulties
The target group at BFI Vienna for the game “Connect four – the article game” was:
Young adults and adults from the learning workshop (15 – 21 years) with a positive
compulsory school-leaving certificate and a need for selective qualification in the fields of
mathematics, German, English and/or ICT. Most of the persons had compulsory school
only and no further (VET) training.
About two thirds of the target group had German as a second language. All of them are
registered as unemployed at the labour market service and sent to BFI Wien to further
develop their competences mentioned above as well as general knowledge with the target
to make them fit for the entry into the labour market.


● In classroom
● At the end of a lecture
● Two teams of 4 people play against each other


Project outline

The game was used in German classes at the end of the class.
German articles (masculin, feminin, neutrum) in its four cases (nominative, genetic, dative,
accusative) are a challenge for people with German as a second language, in general for
non-native speakers. To practice and repeat them is very important to memorise the
gender of the article and enable students to build grammatically correct sentences.


How to embed

1. Introduction to the lesson

To introduce the game it is important to:
● explain the game, game target and rules
● explain the matrix (column horizontal and vertical and rows)
● tell the time limit (20 seconds per article)
● put students into teams/groups – approximately 4 per group. Two teams play
against each other.
● Tasks explanation to those who are watching the game (take notes of answers and
the discussion for the feedback).

2. Let’s start the game

● Collect about 10 nouns from the class.
● The teams/groups form.
● The first group starts with setting the first article in the first row.
● They have 20 seconds to log in the article. They can discuss it in the team. There is
one log in chance only. Incorrect articles disappear. Correct articles log in.
● The other playing team sets their article. And so on.
The game ends when the first group has set four correct articles in a row (vertical,
horizontal or diagonal).
3. Reflection
● The classmates who watched and made notes are asked for findings.
● The articles and grammar rules can be repeated again.
● Main errors can be identified.

Use in class

Reason why we have chosen the game?
This game was chosen because it is a short game (about 10 mins per round) to deepen the
understanding and knowledge of German articles in a relaxed atmosphere. German
articles (feminin, masculin, neutrum) in its cases (nominative, genitive, dative, accusative)
are a challenge for people with German as a second language, in general for non-native
speakers. To practice and repeat the articles it is important to memorise them. This
enables students to build grammatically correct sentences.
In general, the students like to play the game, because it is fun and it is a change from
boring grammar lessons. The students realise that they learn while playing and that they
start talking without having fear of saying something wrong.
Also the discussion after the game is much easier because the game makes a good and
relaxed atmosphere. It is very good to identify and correct main errors. Because the game
is linked to fun, the students memorise the correct article more easily.
Adaptation: The game can easily be adapted to other basic grammatical tasks and also
mathematical functions to train mental calculations.



The trainer’s experience

It is an excellent game to play at the end of a lesson. It is fun, the students start moving
around, talk to each other and they are able to deepen their knowledge and get more
confident in using articles and nouns.
● Students strengthened their knowledge of articles and the right use in the German
● They started to talk in a very relaxed atmosphere without having fear of using the
grammar the wrong way.
● They learned new nouns.
● The students work in a team.

Student Experience

The students had fun playing the game. They said that they didn’t realise that they were
learning while playing the game, because it was so fast. Moreover they observed that they
were talking much more than in a normal setting because of the focus upon playing.

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