Science Taboo

Objectives: This activity can be used to facilitate a student’s review of Science vocabulary words as well as to reinforce their memory of each Science SOL concept. (Approximate playing time 20 minutes)


1)      3.0 X 5.0 index cards

2)      Colorful markers, crayons and/or colored pencils

3)      A sand timer or a stop watch

4)      A list of vocabulary words

5)      Rulers


1)      Give each student 5 index cards

2)      Have each student hold the card vertically and draw a line across the top of the index card as follows:


3)      Then have each student put a vocabulary word at top of the card.

4)      Then have them to write five vocabulary words that are associated with the word that is at the top of the card. The students can make the cards as creative as they would like. See example below.


The objective of the game: the purpose of this game is for one student to get the rest of the class to guess the word at the top of the card without saying any of the words that are below the line because those words are “taboo”. This encourages the student at the front of the class to critically think.

How to play:

1)      Have each student make 5 index cards as directed above and collect them. You can assign each student five words so that you have a good variety of cards. You may also want to give them a grade for this assignment. Check for clarity and creativity.

2)      Divide the class into two teams – A and B or you can be more creative and have them make up their own name for their team.

3)      Choose one student from team A to be the timer (approximately 30 seconds for each student) and one student from team B to watch over the student that will be at the front of the class. He/she will make sure that the student did not say one of the “taboo” words.

4)      Do a coin toss to choose a group from which the first student will come to the front of the class. After this you can alternate students from each team to come to the front of the class.

5)      The student at the front will try to get the rest of the class to guess as many words on the top of the cards in 30 seconds as possible. If the student says one of the taboo words he/she will take their seat and another student should be selected and the timer reset. For each word that is guessed correctly the teacher can give 1 point to the team that guessed the word. The teacher can give extra points on a test or quiz for the team that gets the most points.

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