The 20x20 Relay

Edward Escobar, Kyoto Gaidai Nishi High School

Quick Guide

  • Keywords: PechaKucha™, speaking, game, storytelling
  • Learner English level: CEFR B1 and above
  • Learner maturity: High school and above
  • Preparation time: 5 minutes for printing boards, about 30 minutes for preparing game cards
  • Activity time: 30 minutes for 3-person groups
  • Materials: Gameboards (Appendix), sets of image cards (see Preparation), stopwatch

The PechaKucha™ 20x20 presentation format involves using 20 slides and speaking for no longer than 20 seconds per slide. In the classroom, it can be used to encourage students to deviate from the traditional presentation style of slide reading towards a more streamlined story supported by simple images. However, while the PechaKucha™ website offers a treasure-trove of presentations for students to watch, it does not provide guidance on how to introduce and prepare EFL students for presenting in this format. This activity is a relay devised to familiarize students with the 20 x 20 presentation format so that they feel comfortable enough to build and present their own 20x20 presentation.


Step 1: Find 20 random images (e.g., scenery or action photos) that you can use to make image cards. Add four images each to A4 size paper (each image about A6 size), print, and cut out. Giving them a dark backing and laminating is useful but not essential. You will need one 20-card set for every three students.

Step 2: Print one A3 size gameboard (Appendix) for every three students.


Step 1: Tell students they will play a game where they tell a story using random images, so they can practice speaking without a script.

Step 2: Divide students into groups of three. Tell them that for each round, one student will be the Speaker, one will be the Timer, and one will be the Judge.

Step 3: Instruct students to put all cards face-down into the top-left box of the gameboard.
Step 4: Explain that the Speaker must turn over the top card, place it in the Active card box on the gameboard, and begin their story using this prompt. Their goal is to speak for 20 seconds, and the Timer must keep track of the time.

Step 5: Now explain that, after 20 seconds, the Speaker must turn over another card and continue the story. The Judge must decide if they spoke for the full 20 seconds, placing the card in either the Accepted pile or the Rejected pile, depending on the player’s performance.

Step 6: Model an example round, using a random card prompt, and a volunteer Timer and Judge.

Step 7: Tell students that when all cards are depleted, the player’s score (number of cards in the Accepted pile) is recorded, and students swap roles. The cards are then shuffled, and the procedure reconvenes from Step 3.

Step 8: Play the game until all students have been given the chance to play.


The teacher can decide how many cards, what images are on the cards, and the time limit per card based on their perception of the class. If time is an issue, reducing the number of cards may be ideal.


This relay can be a fun way to introduce students to the concept of a 20 x 20 presentation. As students are given multiple opportunities to challenge themselves, anxiety will change into excitement, and once they are comfortable with this low-stakes game, they will have more confidence to put together their own 20 x 20 presentations in the future.


PechaKucha. (n.d.). Discover a new story and find your niche. PechaKucha.


The appendix is available below