From Teflpedia

Tornado is a class game which is played on the board by two or more teams, and is especially suited to younger learners. It is useful for reviewing language or providing controlled practice in which group participation is needed to support a weak class.

The main format is explained by the following example, which is aimed to practise the present perfect:


  • The teacher will need a whiteboard, markers and a pre-prepared game key (see below) to the grid.
  • The students might need pen(cil) and paper to make notes.


  • (Ideally 2) teams are formed and team names chosen.
  • The teacher draws (or projects) the following grid onto the board:
have has haven`t hasn`t
  • One team begins by choosing a square through its coordinates, e.g. "have" and "do"
  • This team then has to form a sentence or question using the two words in the present perfect e.g. "Have you ever done your homework?", or "We have never done drugs".
  • If the answer is correct the teacher then uses his or her pre-prepared game key (see example below)to reveal the team`s symbol or number which corresponds to the square they chose. If however, the team gives an incorrect answer, the contents of the square (and the correct answer)is kept secret and the next team take their turn.
  • Points are then wiped out, swapped or added to the team`s score, and the symbol/number is written in the square on the board.
  • It`s then the next team`s go, and the game continues until all the squares have been used up.

Example Game Key (for the present perfect)[edit]


have has haven`t hasn`t
BE 5 10 5 §
SEE 20 5 10 20
DO § 30 10
GO 25 5 50


  • The numbers represent points that the teams win if they provide the correct answer.
  • The § symbol represents a tornado, which wipes out their points altogether.
  • The symbol swaps their score with the opposing team`s score (the accumulated totals).

Language applications[edit]

Almost any target language can be practised with Tornado, and if only one word is to be used, these can be written in each square rather than as coordinates. For example, the grid key below has been prepared for an animal vocabulary review (and spelling practice) where the teams must solve the animal anagrams:

1 tac kasne shif gdo
2 birabt cukd art redsip
3 gfro smuoe nta woc
4 rsheo peshe hnkceic ylf

Phonetic symbols, pictures, letters of the alphabet, punctuation marks, modal verbs, quiz questions, definitions etc can can all be input to play pronunciation, vocabulary, spelling, punctuation, grammar, or general knowledge tornado games - the possibilities are endless!

Variation 1: guns, bombs and lives[edit]

This version follows the same procedure as tornado, only using different symbols for the game key. Contrary to tornado`s random boom and bust element, guns bombs and lives introduces a tactical element to scoring, and must be played with three or more teams.

The symbols to use in the game key grid are:

  • Guns: Γ - these enable the team to shoot one of the other team`s lives.
  • Bombs: ø - these are to be avoided, as they remove all the current team`s lives.
  • Lives: + - these provide relief, by rewarding a team with an extra life.

Note: each team starts with three lives (+)