Minimal pairs branching game

These days I don’t make a lot of original material for my classes since I teach almost exclusively through a vendor who publishes their own textbooks, but on occasion I do find myself reaching into my archives and pulling out stuff I made long ago. My favorite activities are minimal pair games which I often use as brief warm-ups or finishers, and the one my students loved and loathed the most was the branching game. (It’s a terrible name, I know, but I’m still thinking of a better name!)

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How to use

Pair off students and give them all sheets to look at. One partner secretly chooses a numbered word from the right side (e.g. 11) and reads off the words from left to right leading up to it (e.g. BAT – BUTTER – CAP – CUT – MATCH). The other partner follows the path on the sheet and guesses the secret word. If they are correct, congratulations! Have them switch parts.

You can also use this template for any two phonemes that give students trouble, and make up some minimal pairs utilizing those phonemes for the tree.