Remember the last time your little learners made a mistake while defining an activity done in the past? Students often make silly confusions in a conversation that involves the usage of active and passive voice statements. Most of the time, rather than understanding application, they are instead not aware of the usage of verbs. In this case, knowledge of active and passive voice helps them with spoken as well as written communication.
Teaching the concept is fun but students tend to struggle with remembering the different rules of tenses and conversion of verbs from active to passive. Also, theoretical knowledge offers limited scope in understanding the concepts.
So, to facilitate learning in a playful manner, activities come into the picture. Different active and passive voice games and activities try to create a balance between both types of sentences. While students learn in a comprehensive manner, they also get an opportunity to raise doubts in real-time. The below-mentioned activities are easy to conduct and also offer a diversified learning experience.
Learn and practice active and passive voice with intriguing activities
Using games or activities to teach a language and grammar helps by making the learning process stress-free. Here are a few activities that will facilitate the learning of active and passive voices.
1. Talking about the weekend
Ask students to make sentences about their weekend, and try to write their sentences in both active and passive voices. When they have finished writing their sentences, ask them to compare what they wrote in each voice and talk about why they chose one or the other form of verb tense (e.g., “I went out with my friends on Saturday night” vs “My friends took me out last Saturday”).
Provide examples of ways that using the correct form can change meaning:
When did you go out? – I went out with my friends after school today!
What time did you come home? – It was at around 7 pm when I got home from work yesterday evening.
Through this activity, students learn how the meaning can be altered by using different forms. It also encourages them to speak at length on a given topic and facilitates group interactions.
2. Identify and change
For this activity, you can write two sentences on the board that are almost identical except for the verbs: “His nose was broken” can become “He broke his nose.” Your students will have fun identifying whether each sentence was written in active or passive voice—and maybe even try writing their own versions!
In addition to identifying when sentences use active voices, they’ll also learn what it means when they see an example of an incorrectly used passive verb: “The ball hit me” becomes “I was hit by a ball”.
3. Story Writing
Split students into three groups of three. Tell one group of students to write a story while the other two groups identify active or passive words. It is best to put together the beginning, middle, and end of the story and share it with another team so they can provide feedback on whether or not it is written in passive voice or active voice (or both).
After that, each group should switch roles to allow everyone a chance to practice writing both types of sentences. The storytelling activity helps students experiment with active and passive voices. The students are also made familiar with the process of story-building and retelling.
4. Draw the scene
Have the students think of a sentence. Let them draw a picture depicting the sentence. They must then alternately describe the picture in both active and passive voice.
For example, “ Sally threw the ball” and “The ball was thrown by Sally.” The class decides which sentence is better and they support their statements.
Let the others guess the voice used to describe the scene to make the activity more challenging. Children always enjoy drawing, and this activity is sure to be fun. In addition, it creates a light atmosphere as they learn the application of active and passive voices.
5. Throw a Challenge
A challenging activity enables students to learn more about the concepts and ensures an effective learning environment. To conduct this activity, divide students into two teams and each team can have 3-4 members.
Now, teams need to challenge each other in 2 different rounds. In the first round, Team A gives different active voice statements and Team B needs to convert them within 30 seconds. The second round begins with Team B challenging Team A.
To add some more twists, you may include the first round of active to passive voice and the second round with vice versa. The activity goes on for about 10 sentences by each time thereby offering learning to other classmates.
6. Where’s My Partner?
Active and passive voice can be confusing but with the inclusion and explanation of rules, it gets easier. To conduct this activity, make different flashcards with active and passive voices.
Distribute these flashcards among students and let them stand in a circle. After this, play music and let them dance/run in the same circle. As the music stops everyone should start finding their respective pairs.
In this activity, if a student has an active voice statement – Suzen is singing a song, then the student needs to find another student who has the same statement in passive voice – A song is being sung by Suzen.
7. Write with a Prompt
At times, easy activities can really trigger the brain to think outside of the box. This activity focuses on allowing students to openly imagine possibilities and arrive at better sentence-building skills.
To conduct this activity, take different flashcards and stick pictures on them. These pictures can be of fruits, vegetables, humans doing any activity, or any general object. Remove one flashcard and randomly assign Active or Passive statements to be written by learners.
For example, if the picture is of an apple and you give the command passive voice the students need to draft a sentence with passive voice that includes an apple. The sentence can be – An apple was eaten by Jack. Similarly, different pictures and commands about statements help students fully explore the topic.
8 Hold, Observe, Speak
Active and passive voices take a little more time as it includes a perfect understanding of tenses. However, with thorough practice and instant learning experiences, students are more likely to remember it better.
To conduct this activity, take a huge box and put different objects in the box. For example, the box can have soft toys, stationery items, and everyday essentials for ease of access. After this, ask students to come and pick an object.
As they pick any object, ask them to make a set of active and passive voice statements for the object. If it is a teddy bear, they need to spontaneously say 2 statements about it in both active and passive voice. Classmates here have to identify which sentence is in active voice and passive voice. Also, they can share their feedback about the sentences. If it is correct then appreciate and if it is wrong then help their classmate understand the error and how to correct it.
9. Quiz Time!
A quiz is an interesting activity format and often helps students identify their mistakes in one go. It also helps teachers reteach the concept in an immediate manner. To conduct this activity, search for different active and passive voice statements, verbs, and other formats.
Now, print them on a sheet of paper and distribute this sheet to everyone. It should include identification of statements, matching the active verbs with passive ones and you can include interesting riddles too.
Since it is a writing-based activity, students can also be divided into pairs of 2 members each. Make sure you give a specific time to complete the activity.
10. Story chain
It is still easy sometimes to write sentences in each voice or to convert from one type to another while writing but when it comes to speaking fluently, it becomes a little difficult to identify which way is correct or not.
In this activity, let’s work on our speaking and communication skills all the while learning the crucial concept of active and passive voice. Ask students to sit in a circle and one student to start making any random story but in an active voice. Now here is a twist, as the next student will continue, he/she needs to continue in another voice. For instance, if the first person is speaking in active voice then the next person continues in passive voice and then again in active voice for the next student.
By doing this. Students not only carefully curate their story in a specific voice but also observe the other students speaking. They can keep a check of all the sentences the student is speaking that if those are accurate and are of the same voice the student is asked to use.
To wrap up, this post introduces some engaging, active, and passive voice activities. Awareness of the differences between the active and passive voice in your writing is important. You may find that the active voice works better in some cases than the passive voice, but both can be effective when used correctly.
When learners engage in learning through activities, they understand and tend to retain the information better. These activities also allow them to interact with their peers and develop the essence of teamwork. Activities, therefore, provide an exciting learning channel for young minds.
I am Shweta Sharma. I am a final year Masters student of Clinical Psychology and have been working closely in the field of psycho-education and child development. I have served in various organisations and NGOs with the purpose of helping children with disabilities learn and adapt better to both, academic and social challenges. I am keen on writing about learning difficulties, the science behind them and potential strategies to deal with them. My areas of expertise include putting forward the cognitive and behavioural aspects of disabilities for better awareness, as well as efficient intervention. Follow me on LinkedIn