Contact Iain Dover for further information about this technique.

Setting Up

Using either a 49 square grid (7×7) or a 100 square grid (10×10) set up for a game of Battleships

Place ‘ships’ that are 5,4,3, and 2 squares long (either horizontally or vertically).  Use one set of ships for a 49 square grid, and two sets for a 100 square grid.

You will also need:

  • a list of key words (ideally 33 for a 7×7 grid and 72 for x 10×10 grid, although you could easily repeat these),
  • a set of exam questions that would each take about 2-3 minutes to answer (contrast, explain etc), and some full exam questions.
  • a Battleships grid for each student (attached here 7×7 and 10×10).


This is a game to play in pairs (or 2 teams of 2).

Students lay out their ships on one grid, while keeping the other to record their guesses.

Taking it in turns they need to choose a square (using grid references provides geographical revision at the same time!).

Miss (blank space) – Students are challenged to define a key term.  If they get it incorrect they can miss a turn (or if playing in pairs the student answering is frozen out of the next go).

Hit (occupied space) – Students have to answer a longer question (Quiz, Quiz, Trade cards are great for this).

Ship sunk (all squares of a ship are hit) – Students have to answer a full exam question.

Usually a hit provides another go – the forfeit for an incorrect answer is that the turn ends.

Transfer to other subjects

Maths – instead of key words use simple mental arithmetic

Physics – formulae that are required to be memorised (or give the formula and get them define the term [V=IR, what does R stand for?])