Classroom Feud: A survey and competition

Harlan Kellem, Kwansei Gakuin University and James Matchett, Hokuriku University


Quick guide

  • Key words:Family Feud, four skills, game
  • Learner English level:All
  • Learner maturity:Junior high school and above
  • Preparation time:Part of one class to conduct survey, plus 30 minutes
  • Activity time:50 minutes
  • Materials:Survey handout, clicker, marubatsu hand-held buzzer (optional)


This activity was inspired by the classic TV game show, “Family Feud.” It works well for a class of 40 students, but it is best when used in more than one class. The students produce the material; it is a fun and anxiety-free competition!


Step 1:Prepare a survey with about a dozen questions to suit your students (see Appendix, Sample survey questions).

Step 2:Count the responses and rank each category according to the number of students who wrote the same response. Choose as many as 7 of the most popular categories. Option: Write the answers on note cards, which can be turned over as correct answers are given.


Step 1:Put the students into teams. One way is to divide the class down the center and have the students turn their desks so the two teams are facing each other. Another option is to have more teams (maximum of 4) of fewer students. In that case, some students watch but will have a chance for action later as teams rotate. Non-playing teams can hold the answers on note cards.

Step 2:Explain the rules.

1. One student from each team comes to the front of the class to face off.

2. The teacher reads a question from a category at random. For example, “What are your favorite zoo animals?” The student who hits the clicker first guesses. When the student guesses one of the most common answers (e.g. “Monkey!”), his or her team gets 13 points, for the number of people who wrote monkey in the survey. If the guess is not among the most common survey responses, the student from the other team has a chance to guess.

3. The team of the student who first answers correctly gains control of the category. Each student takes a turn and guesses the other items in the category, getting points for each correct response.

4. Each incorrect guess is one strike (X). Three strikes against the team means the other team then gains control of the category and guesses until the category is exhausted or they have three strikes.

Option: When the first team has three strikes, the second team gets one chance to guess one of the remaining answers. If they get it, they steal all the points away from the first team for that category.

5. Return to rule 1, above, and continue the process for all categories.


For beginners, it is helpful to pre-teach useful phrases such as: I think it’s ~, Is it ~? I think number one is ~, Can you repeat the question? etc. The number of items in each category and the questions should be adjusted for your class level and size.


Students always get excited guessing, but there is a danger of waning interest if the game goes on too long. One thing we like about this lesson is that the students are providing the input for the activity. It is their classmates’ answers that they are discovering. Also, it is a great way to prepare one activity that can be used in many classes!




Sample survey questions

Questions appropriate for university level, and top responses out of 100 surveyed:

(1) What is the best part-time job for students? (tutor 24, waiter or waitress 23, convenience store job 14, cashier 7, gas station attendant 5)

(2) Where is the best place for a holiday? (Hawaii 32, Europe 12, Australia 11, France 9, U.S.A. 8, Italy 5)

(3) What turns you on? (music 10, sports 8, shopping 6, soccer 6, traveling 5, driving 5, singing 5, love 5)

(4) What turns you off? (study 21, test 8, part-time job 5, insects 5, homework 4, cleaning my room 4)

(5) What occupation would you like to have in the future? (teacher 23, translator 10, office worker 10, hotel clerk 8, travel agent 8, nothing 8)

(6) What is most important for you when thinking about a marriage partner? (character 23, kindness 22, gentleness 8, money 7, love 6, looks 6)

Questions appropriate for senior high school level, and top responses out of 140 surveyed:

(1) What are your favorite zoo animals? (panda 23, elephant 18, monkey 13, lion 13, rabbit 11, tiger 10, giraffe 9)

(2) What objects do you find in a book bag? (wallet 25, pencil case 21, lunchbox 19, cell phone 14, textbook 12, mirror 10, cosmetics 9)

(3) What are your least favorite school rules? (must wear uniform 36, cannot dye hair 28, must wear cardigan 13, 7 periods in a day 10, no short skirts 8, no pierced ears 6, 8:30 start 5)

(4) What are your favorite Japanese foods? (sushi 30, takoyaki 19, udon 18, okonomiyaki 12, tempura 9, sukiyaki 8, miso soup 6)