Keyword Splat!

This technique can be used as a starter or recap activity and takes little or no preparation.

Invite students to come up with key words from your subject. Type / write them randomly all over the whiteboard. Around 12-15 is a good number.

Next invite two students to stand on either side of the board. Now ask a student from the rest of the class to ask a question, or give a definition the answer to which is one of the words on the board.

The two students at the board then compete to Splat the correct word with their hand / a fly swat / a rolled up newspaper.

For example, if a student says "A reason why some houses fall into the sea", the student who splats "Coastal Erosion" wins that round.

The other student sits down and is replaced by the student who asked the question. This encourages students to participate as questioners, because they may enjoy going up to the board.


  1. Chloe10:31

    Letter Sound Splat / number splat)
    Time taken to prepare (in minutes) - 5 minutes
    Year group - Reception
    Subject and topic - Whole class, two team game in literacy or numeracy

    Pupil engagement [4]
    Pupil enjoyment [4]
    Pupils meeting lesson objectives [4 ]
    Suitability of technique for the content being delivered [4]
    How much YOU enjoyed using this technique [4 ]
    (Rating scale - (1) very negative (2) negative (3) positive (4) very positive)

    I made a simple page for each set of six letter sounds that the children have learned, duplicated either side of a line, with a colourful background and boxes at the top for scores and names. I kept each page fairly simple so that it would feel fresher to change to another coloured page for the next set of sounds- or even numbers!

    For the sounds, as I teach Jolly Phonics, I modelled to the children the action which accompanies the sound (e.g. drums for 'd') and the two players had to splat the sound. For number splat, I tapped out a number on my trusty tambourine for them to count out loud so the players could splat. It helped by doing the action or tapping a certain number rather than directly showing the letter or number. Luckily the whole class joined in with the actions and counting as the best participants became the next players. Crafty!

    The children all really enjoyed it, especially as few of my more tricky boys who don't always join in other less competitive versions of sounds and numbers games. As I had shown them very clearly how to play the game, I left it on the board for them to play, and the children assigned roles of 'caller' 'splatters' 'scorer' and 'tambourine basher'- I videoed their independent attempts and we watched it back to the delight of the children- and a bonus assessment tool for me.

    My teaching assistants were either motivating, directing, or taking photos and video clips of the games.

    I differentiated by pairing similar ability children together and by giving more clues, such as saying the sound for them rather than the action, or showing a card. Share the video in the plenary- they love it!

    I was amazed how quickly the children understood how to play Splat and how much they wanted to carry on after the session was finished. I got a lot of great assessment out if it!

  2. Christine10:35

    Key word splat
    Time taken to prepare – 15 minutes
    Class – Year 9 set 6 Maths

    This was the second lesson in a series on measures and I wanted to see if pupils could remember the names of common measures in use and identify which measure they would use for a variety of situations. I produced a power point slide with about 15 words on it and provided each pupil with cards such as – what units would you use to measure the height of the classroom?

    Two pupils were at the whiteboard and had to tap the appropriate word or words. Pupils took it in turns to read out and have a go at the board.

    I used the activity as a starter and the pupil were thrilled – especially as some had also just used it in history

    Be prepared for a lot of excitement and noise but it is really easy to prepare and use

    Pupil engagement [4 ]
    Pupil enjoyment [ 4]
    Pupils meeting lesson objectives [4 ]
    Suitability of technique for the content being delivered [4 ]
    How much YOU enjoyed using this technique [ 4]
    Rating scale - (1) very negative (2) negative (3) positive (4) very positive

  3. Jess10:36

    Year 1/2 Science

    I used this tool as a starter for a lesson about Electricity. I began by choosing 2 volunteers and describing an electrical component myself. I asked the rest of the class to try and work it out too. The child who whacked the correct word stayed up and the other child chose someone else to take their place. I dictated the next description, and then allowed children to choose a word and take my place in describing.

    The children were really engaged at and loved the idea of being a splatter. They were able to identify the correct word when I described it, but found the taking the role of ‘describer’ very difficult.

    If I did this again, for the age and ability of my class, I would have kept the role of describer and focussed on the children identifying the word. I would advise keeping the other children engaged by getting them to write the word on their boards.

  4. Jenny10:37

    Tool used – Key word Splat
    Time taken to prepare (5 mins)
    Class –Yr 3/4

    I used keyword splat to consolidate key words in Science. I gave the children lots of key words from teeth and eating e.g incisors and read out the meaning or a description.

    I used the strategy as a warm up and a review of language from the science planning format we use.

    The kids love it. I would now adapt it to kids describing words to each other and getting them to think of the splat word first, then play the splat together to warm their brains up.

    You can get the kids to come up with words the know, but as a quick warm up activity its good to have ready to go. I would then maybe push it towards an activity once you’ve thought of all the words.

  5. Emily10:38

    Year 5 Science
    15 minutes to prepare on an interactive whiteboard.

    I used ‘Splat’ to consolidate understanding of key vocabulary in Science (Solids, liquids and gases) and Geography (the rainforest) in a plenary. The class did not come up with the words themselves but I gave them the vocabulary on the board.

    This meant that the activity took longer to prepare. I will try it the other way in the future and ask the children for key words first.

    The children who were chosen to ‘splat’ seemed highly engaged and very competitive! The rest of the class had to provide children with questions. This was a bit slow to start as it was dominated by the more confident speakers in the class. We have done this a few more times since and the other children are now venturing questions more confidently.

    I am going to try this again and in the future I thought I would pair children up on the carpet and give them thinking/writing time to jot down some questions on boards. This should then help the children who found forming the questions on key vocabulary difficult. I did not have any TA support during this activity.

  6. Melissa10:40

    Tool tried: Keyword Splat

    In what context did you use this tool?
    I used in maths for vocabulary. It was the first training session with the children. It went well and they came up with the definitions.

    We also used in science for vocabulary at the end of the topic and also investigation words. It was an excellent activity and very successful.

    Used as a starter. TA’s and teachers supported children coming up with good definitions

    What was the response of the learners?
    They were very engaged and wanted to have a turn.

    I think this could be used very successfully for a variety of subjects.

  7. Becky, Anna and Terresa10:42

    Class – Year 3/4
    Date – science
    Tool used – Key word splat
    Time taken to prepare (in minutes) - 5

    We wrote our key words for our science topic, electricity and circuits, up on the whiteboard. We could generate key words by asking children ‘what are some important words we have needed for our work on circuits?’ this generated most of the words we needed, we could then add more.

    It was a whole class activity, used as a revision task at the end of the topic. The children loved it, they were very eager to come up and have a turn.

    Tip: This can be a good time to discuss misconceptions.

  8. Time taken to prepare - 10 mins
    Class - Year 1

    The children had had previous lessons in which they had been learning the names of different fruits in Spanish. This activity seemed like a fun way of assessing the children's knowledge. Instead of putting the Spanish words onto the IWB, I used pictures of the fruits and split the children into two teams. I called out the Spanish names of the fruits one at a time and the children had to touch the appropriate picture on the IWB. The activity was very quick and easy to set up.

    I used this as a main activity during a Spanish lesson with a class of year 1's. The children were all very focussed on the activity as they didn't want their team to lose!

    Tip: Use pictures for the low ability especially in KS1- doesn't have to be keywords.

  9. Year 5/6 children
    Tool used – Keyword Splat
    Class - Upper maths set

    We have just come back from a school journey to Spain. We visited the Moorish Palace in Madrid and looked at the amazing tile patterns. This will lead on to a related unit of work. During a numeracy lesson as an oral and mental starter I used this tool by asking the children to give me words associated with polygons (2D shape) The children came up with words such as, angle, parallel, hexagon, triangle, vertices, perpendicular, area, perimeter etc. After we had about 15 words on the board we completed the activity as instructed.

    Used as an oral and mental starter to a lesson about Islamic patterns

    Tip: Make sure that the children use a variety of words related to the theme for example; when we did the shape theme I asked the children to think carefully of words which you might use to describe properties of shape. Also they need to be clear about the definitions that they give, and to use mathematical language where possible. I found through this activity that some of the children were not good at giving precise meanings in their definitions, but I can also see how this will improve if the activity is repeated a number of times.

  10. Adre10:48

    Class – yr 9 maths set 1

    Had different key words related to shape, space and measure on the white board. Verbally gave definitions to the groups and had individuals coming up to the board to splat on the correct term.

    Used as a starter. They found it different and were very exited to be doing something different for a change.

    I shared the tool with other members of my department and they also find it very useful to use as a starter to the lesson.

  11. Elizabeth10:50

    Year 7 English
    Time taken to prepare (in minutes) – 5 minutes
    Class – Year 7

    The unit was on Shakespeare, with a focus on poetic devices. Very simple- all I had to do was ask students to copy two metaphors, similes or examples of alliteration or onomatopoeia into their books and think up two of their own. They took it in turns to read them out, and took it in turns to 'splat' the keywords on the board.

    The students found the activity enjoyable, and had a better understanding by the end.

    Tip: Make the rules clear from the start.

  12. Barish10:51

    Year 9 (3)

    We are busy doing a Dracula unit where I have focused on using the writing triplicates in all the tasks. The particular writing technique that I was getting my Year 9’s to think about and use was, informative writing. We had spent the previous lesson looking at how to recognize informative writing and thinking about rules we would come up with in order to ensure we are writing appropriately.

    I used ‘Keyword Splat’ as a starter in order to re-cap all the informative writing techniques we had discussed the previous lesson. My class absolutely loved it and they would have filled up the board with their responses if I did not set them a limit.

    Tip: Get students to discuss the rules of the game, ensuring that they are coming up with the most important ones regarding behaviour during the game – that way they take responsibility for their actions.

  13. Helen10:53

    Time taken to prepare 5 mins max
    Class 7S

    I wrote the 7 elements keywords on a ppt. screen. 7S students had splatters and hit the correct element to match my description.
    This being 7S and also time running short I made the descriptions myself (as if 7S had been asking the questions some of them would have been incorrect)

    Used as a plenary. Students really enjoyed this

    Tip: This is incredibly easy to prepare and very effective :)

  14. Suganthy10:55

    Year 8 Science
    Tool used: Key word Splat
    Time taken to prepare (in minutes): 5 mins

    I used this tool at the end of the lesson as a plenary. Students learnt about atoms elements and compounds and this was a good way of testing key vocabulary

    A good activity which pupils enjoy and takes virtually no time to prepare.

  15. This is quick to prepare, great as a plenary and you can adapt it to make it more complex if you want to with the way that the students answer and ask the questions. Instead of giving a definition I have had them acting!

    You can get some cheap fly swatters from Morrisons for 40p-ish that won't harm the white board and this makes it more exciting!

  16. Iona10:58

    Year group - 6
    Subject and topic - Mental warm up for Maths
    Time taken to prepare (in minutes) - 5 minutes

    We have to try and consolidate times tables facts every day! So I had lots of different numbers on the board (the same on each side of a line) and I would say, "Splat a number that is divisible by 8, a factor of 10, a prime number etc.."

    The children loved it, anything competitive gets them going and it was really helpful to go over key maths vocab.

    Tip: Just to differentiate the numbers enough that you start off with your lower attainers doing the 2 times tables and then work through!

    Really quick and easy!

  17. Jane10:59

    Year 5 Creative Curriculum Unit on The Highwayman

    We have spent 2 weeks reading and responding to the poem and the children are now writing their own extra verse in the same style. This activity was used to consolidate meaning and use of new powerful verbs and adjectives. Children had to choose which adjective or verb best described Characters at particular points in the poem e.g. Which adjective best describes how Bess feels when the soldiers burst into the room? How would you describe the highwayman?

    The activity took 3 mins to prepare and really engaged majority of children- it definitely helped children who had been previously unsure of word meanings -e.g. bewildered was used correctly during the Splat activity.

  18. Victoria11:03

    Year 1 Phonics oi words
    Tool used - Splat
    Time taken to prepare (in minutes) - 5-10 mins
    Subject and topic - Phonics Phase 3 vowel graphemes

    I displayed 10-12 pictures and words with the sound I was teaching that day on the board. I split the class into two teams (girls v boys) and a child from each team came to the front and competed to be first to "splat" the word and image that another child sounded out for them.

    The winner stayed on each time and a new member of the other team came to the front. I then gave some red herrings with some misspelt words so that the children had to really look at the word and not just the image. To differentiate, I ensured there was a mixture of simple cvc words and two syllable words and I sometimes cued the children which word to sound out or you could make it so that the children competing at the front are of similar ability each time.

    Children enjoyed the competitive nature of the game and were keen to play again. My TA was able to whisper cues to children who were unsure when sounding out a word

    Tips: It can take a long time for everyone to have a turn at the front. You could use the same idea to reinforce different ways of spelling the same sound e.g. the long a sound

    Pupils enjoyed playing and it gave them a lot of practice of segmenting words and blending

  19. Adam11:04

    Science: Limestone splat
    Tool used - Splat
    Time taken to prepare (in minutes) - 5mins
    Year group - 10

    I wrote a list of key words on the topic which had been covered and had the pupils to take it in turns to go head to head to 'splat' the board keeping a score to keep it competitive

    Children enjoyed the competitive nature of the game and were keen to play again.

    Tip: Works well having an able student leading the questioning.

    Pupils enjoyed it and did not mind making mistakes which were temporary and could be corrected which helped with pupils with low confidence.

  20. Lorraine11:08

    Year 2 Team Splat with KS1 Science words
    Time taken to prepare (in minutes) - 5-10 mins

    I used 'Splat' in order to consolidate keywords within Science. I gave the children lots of key words and they had to help a child from their table come to the front of the class splat as many words as possible by giving them 3 properties of that material. Number of splats=number of marble points (within 1 minute)

    The ch. are very competitive and so were very engaged throughout the task.

    More able children on the table were able to help less able children.

    Tip: To stop children calling out the answer from another table I would take 1 second away from their time.

    A really great way to consolidate learning and enables teachers to immediately assess any misunderstandings.

  21. Teegan11:09

    Class - Year 9 History

    I used this as a revision to the topic 'Causes of WW1'. It started with the students coming up with as many words as they could relating to WW1 and I wrote them up on the board. As there are only 2 students in this class, they were doing the Splatting and I was asking the questions.

    This was a revision lesson and I used Splat the last half of the lesson before they were doing an assessment on the topic.

    They enjoyed the game and found it a fun way to revise.

    Tip: Great activity! Gets students out of their seats, but still doing something constructive and helpful. This may be a regular occurrence in my classroom for revision lessons.

  22. Samantha11:11

    Time taken to prepare (in minutes): 15 mins
    Class : Reception

    Firstly I created a flipchart (7 pages).
    The first page contained pictures of different family members. (Photos of a mum, dad, sister, brother, grandma and grandpa)
    Together we decided who these family members were an wrote the labels for underneath each picture. (Teacher scribing - phonics session integrated into this section of the lesson. Segmenting the sounds, looking at the initial sounds in each word etc.)

    When we had finished this I asked the children to close their eyes as I revealed the next page. Using the 'curtain' reveal tool I slowly moved down the page. The second page contained exactly the same images as before but these time with the typed words underneath. We checked each of our 'answers' to the 2nd page and could see that we had correctly labelled all of the family members.

    The third page contained the 'splat' page. This page included just the words (mum, dad, sister, brother, grandpa, grandma) scattered in different positions across the page.
    I split the class into two teams. A and B. One person from each team came up to the front and held a large fly 'splatter'.

    I then asked a person from team A to give a clue. "This person looks after you in their tummy when you are a baby." The two 'splatters' then had to find the word 'mum' on the board as quickly as possible and 'splat' it.

    When they did this I used the highlighter tool to 'cover' over this word with 'splat'! The winning team is the team was the team with the most splats.

    We repeated the same game (pages 4, 5, 6, 7 of flipchart) with the words in different positions, colours, sizes and different fonts on the pages.

    We differentiated this activity by including some pictures on the pages and an option to hear the first sound of the word with a sound button underneath,

    It was used as a main activity. The children really enjoyed this game and responded in a positive way. (Especially during the splat section!)

    We are going to repeat it for our People Who Help Us topic.

    A good activity which pupils enjoy and takes virtually no time to prepare. I would suggest maybe making it more complex and then using it as an assessment tool at the beginning and then again at the end of the topic to see how much children have remembered from the topic taught.

    Children did get a little restless waiting for their turn so this activity in Reception might work better in small groups.

    Also some of the children were rather excited and this is something to watch!

  23. N. de Silva11:12

    Year 2 Maths - Doubling Starter

    A very quick and easy starter activity to prepare on the IWB. Picked 2 children to stand on either side of the board, called out a number and the first child to work out and splat the correct double won. Children get very excited by this activity!

  24. Sophie11:15

    Yr 1 phonics – Sound splat
    Time taken to prepare (in minutes) – 2 mins

    Phonics lesson to revisit/review sounds. Simply create a flip chart by writing the sounds you want to target (or words, HFW etc..). 2 children each given a splatter - first to splat the sound said by teacher stays up.

    Revisit/review part of phonics lesson. Chn love it - all engaged!

    Tip: Very easy to prepare and 'deliver' yet very effective for a snappy start to phonics. Can be easily adapted and differentiated by mixing up sounds from phase 2/3/4 and directing questioning to suit ability of particular children. I often ask a child to be 'mini me' and say the sound to be splat so reinforcing learning further. Have also done practically with objects/ phoneme cards on floor.

  25. Neil11:17

    Yr 6 Splat - Revision of number facts

    I used this as a revision tool to aid recall of number facts and recall of maths vocab (e.g. prime numbers, square numbers, etc) in a Y6 class.

    I put lots of different numbers on the IWB and two children were asked a variety of Qs by their classmates (some children were supported by TAs and myself), the answers to which were on the IWB, such as “Splat me a number which is a multiple of 4”. Children were very responsive – the competitive element at work!

    A wide variety of numbers should be used as a means of differentiation. Children found it much more difficult to develop their own Qs than to answer the Qs of others. However, this is an area we are trying to focus more on as a class anyway to develop deeper understanding.

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(Please post when you have tried this particular tool - thanks!)
How did you adapt this tool for your classroom?
What was the response from your learners?
What advice would you give other teachers about this tool?