Sinking Ship! ESL Speaking Game

Sinking Ship! ESL Speaking Game

This is a great ESL speaking game that forces your students to discuss, argue and make suggestions. The game is suitable for a one to one class and also large group classes. This game does not require any additional materials.

The situation!

You are on a boat crossing the Atlantic on the way to the Caribbean when suddenly you hit an unknown object under the water. The ship starts sinking. You run to the lifeboat, there are a lot of people there. You can see an island in the distance. There is only enough space for 6 people in the lifeboat, who will you take with you in order to survive?

Pre-game discussion questions

If you were in this situation what type of people would you want to take with you and why?

What characteristics would they have? (calm, organized, creative etc).

If you had to live on the island for the rest of your life would your decision change? and if you were only on the island for a week?

Structures for making suggestions

This game is a fantastic opportunity to practice structures for making suggestions. Here is a list of some structures that you can teach your students so that they can use them during the game.

How about…?

What about…?


There’s always…

Why don’t we…

Why not…?


Use of modal verbs such as might/could/can