¿Quién es?

Michael Culligan, Matt Moore,
Nancy Sheet, and Polly Sipper

October 11, 2004 / EDTEC670

| Instructional Objective | Learners & Context | Object of Game | Game Materials |

| Time Required | Rules | Design Process | References |

Instructional Objective

The learners will use several different froms of the verb "to be" in Spanish. Ser and Estar will be used to express location, feelings, characteristics, and time. Hacer will be used to express the weather. By completing the game, students will be able to demonstrate a thorough understanding of the various uses and expressions of the verb "to be" in Spanish and a basic understanding of the game vocabulary. This game can be played within 30 minutes during a class session, and it complements any beginning Spanish course. It also can be used as review for older students since this concept is unique to the Spanish language and difficult to master.

Learners & Context of Use

This game is designed for beginning Spanish language students in middle or high school. The game should be played as a review of the "to be" concepts; and therefore, it is recommended that teachers explain the various expressions of "to be" in Spanish before attempting this game with students. It can also be used as a review in the second and third year. In those years it might also be useful to use past, future, and/or conditional tenses.

This game can be played for 30 minutes during a class session, and it should probably accompany a quick review lesson of the verbs "to be" in Spanish. It also can be used as review for older students since this concept is culturally unique and difficult to master. The game is really designed for six students, so it would be wise to have several game sets for larger classes.

Object of the Game

The game is a mystery and the goal of the game is to be the first person to figure out the following information:

1. Who is the new person in town?
2. Where is the new person located in the town?
3. How is the new person feeling right now?

Game Materials

The game includes the following materials. Note that links have been provided with all the game materials needed to play.

  • The game board is a generic town with at least eight locations on the board. Players will travel through the town by moving through spaces on the board. There are four parts to the board: Top Left, Bottom Left, Top Right, and Bottom Right.
  • The die is used to determine who goes first and how many spaces are moved during a turn.
  • The mystery cards: There are 24 ¿Quien es? Cards.
    • The eight person cards are pictures of eight people. One of them is the new person in town.
    • The eight location cards are pictures of the eight locations on the board into which a person can enter. It is one of the places where the person may be found.
    • The eight feeling cards are pictures of emotions. There are no words on those cards and students will need to know that vocabulary.
  • The 15 "Ventura" (chance) cards are opportunities. When a player lands on a chance spot, another player reads him a card. If answered correctly there is a reward for the game. The are 15 "ventura cards: Ventura Cards
  • The 6 markers ( one per player ) are chosen at the beginning of the game.
  • The check lists are used to try and solve the mystery. By process of elimination, a person will eventually be able to solve the mystery. Everyone needs a check list: Check Lists.
  • The pencils are used in conjunction with the game sheets.
  • The envelope is used to keep the mystery a secret.

Time Required

This game takes about five minutes to set up. It can most likely be played within thirty minutes. It should not take the entire class. In fact, an optional way to play the game is to call time at the end of a class period and reward the most accurate guess.

The Rules

"The Setup:"

1. First the cards need to be sorted by location, feeling, person, and chance. All should be adequately shuffled and placed face down in separate piles. The Ventura cards are placed on the board on the Ventura area, but the other three well-shuffled piles should go face down in the middle of the board.

2. One player takes the top card from each Quien Es pile and places it in the envelope without looking at the content on the cards. All other players watch to make sure that this person is being honest. The envelope is placed under the board until the end of the game. The rest of the Quien Es cards are shuffled together without seeing their content. Then the Quien Es cards are distributed into the different locations on the board face down. There may be more than one Quien Es card on a location. These cards are the clues and can only be seen by the player(s) who enter the building(s). You are now ready to begin the game.

"The Game :"

1. Roll the die to see who goes first. The top roll predicts the first player and the other players move in a clockwise direction. Each player starts on one of the squares closest to the side of the board where he or she is sitting.

2. When it is your turn, you roll the die and move accordingly on the board. You may either go straight toward a room or try for one of the chance spaces. At the end of every turn you must say "Estoy en . . . " which means I am in . . . Name the street if you are not in a building. Name the building if you are inside. A failure to do this means one loss of a turn.

3. If you land on a Ventura square, the person to your right reads you the Ventura card. The person who reads the Ventura card will either give you a statement or ask you a question. If you need to answer a question in Spanish, the person reading the Ventura card will judge if your answer is correctly stated in Spanish. Answers are on the cards. There are rewards for correct answers.

4. If you land on a weather or clock square, you must state the weather or time correctly in Spanish. Use the illustration on the square as your clue. You recieve an extra two spaces if answered correctly.

5. If you land on a taxi, you may use one move of the die to move to any other taxi. It takes one move to enter the taxi, one move to move to another taxi, and another move to exit the taxi.

6 . If you enter a location, you state in Spanish where you are located. Then you may look at the Quien Es cards on the location. Remember that you are trying to solve the mystery first so do not let others see these Quien Es cards or your check list. Also, you will probably want to cross off the clues (that you received from the Quien Es cards) on your check list once you have uncovered them. When finished looking at the Quien Es cards, return the Quien Es cards face down on that location.

7. Once you think you have solved the mystery, you need to return to the building where the new person is located. Once at the correct location, you state the following in Spanish:

A . Who the new person is.
B . Where the new person is located.
C. How the new person is feeling.

If no one can refute the guesser's guess from their individual clues, then the guesser may check the envelope. If the guesser is wrong, then this player loses the game and must wait until the end of the game. This player must also return the clues back to the envelope and place the envelope under the board so that the other players can finish the game.

8. Finally, you may not speak English during this game except when reading some of the chance cards.

Additonal Rules:"

This game can be played with other tenses and variations of other cards to suit the level of the learners and the vocabulary studied. In fact, more cards can be added as students become more adept at Spanish and the game. There is flexiblity in the game so that teachers can change the rules to incorportate other vocabulary, other grammar, and other speaking goals.

Design Process

The design began with a brief analysis of learning objectives viable for a Spanish language game and an analysis of the target age group and skill level for the game. After clear objectives were established, several types of game formats were examined from the EDTEC 670 web site. The first board idea was to use a map of South America as the game board in a race type game, but it was later changed to a generic city for the following reasons.

1. The entire map of South America did not seem like a real journey that was often traveled.
2. It is common to see city the activity of walking in Spanish and Latin American cities.
3. Most Spanish programs teach a basic unit on "getting around the city" early in a student's     Spanish education.

After the city map was chosen to work with the objective, the mystery game format was chosen to parallel the rules of "Clue" with the game objective stated above.

The team fleshed out a playable prototype by discussing the various ideas of how to actually play the game. The team discussed the time it would take to play; how many times one can play the game without getting bored; the level of difficulty for the students in question; ways to modify the game for different students at different levels; and the number of games needed for a large class. It was also decided that the students would have opportunities for chance cards as well as finding the clues to solve the mystery. The team gave each other feedback on how the players would be moving through the town; what they would say when they got to a destination; and what the destinations should be according to the objectives.

At one point, it was suggested to have the students find objects at different stations instead of using the card clues, but the vocabulary and verbs used to make these transactions distracted from the learning objective which is to use various versions of the verb "to be" in Spanish. However, it is noted that this game can be modified for different levels of Spanish speakers.

The content for the game was gathered from old text books and teacher recommendations. All the content was teacher verified for accuracy prior to the game creation, and all game designers had a working knowledge of Spanish.

The game was tested in the EDTEC 670 class and several suggestions from other graduate students were used to make the game better. The game now has taxi cab squares, time squares, and weather squares. It was also decided to make the chance cards more positive so that students would not get discouraged by negative cards.

Several members of the team researched the web to see if our game was truly unique in design. Although the game has similar rules to the mystery game "Clue", the team was unable to find an existing design that modified the rules of "Clue" to make a "to be" game in Spanish.

Another rapid prototype was developed and tested at a private day school in La Jolla. The modified version that students used provided positive educational results. Students conversed frequently in Spanish in the classroom, and students appeared motivated by the game format. They clearly understood the uses for ser and estar, and they learned new vocabulary such as places, time phrases, and weather expressions. The game lasted the entire period because of an adjustment time for rules; however, it is expected that when this games is played again students will be more adept with the rules.

Note that the game was modified for the school testing. Some rules were slightly changed also and as a result students were able to speak Spanish more frequently during the game.


Books & Journals

  • Gahala, E., Hamilton Carlin, P., Heining-Boynton, A., Otheguy, R. , & Rupert, B. (2000). En Español. Evanston, IL : McDougal Littel.
  • Jarvis, A., Lebredo, R.,& Mena, F. (1986). ¿ Cómo se dice ? . Lexington, MA: D.C. Health and Company.
  • Met, M., Sayers, R., Wargin, C., & Barnett, H. (1996). Paso A Paso. Glenview, IL : Scott Foresman.
  • Sacks Da Silva, Zenia. (1987). A Concept Approach to Spanish. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers.


  • How to Study Spanish. (n.d.) Retrieved on October 3, 2004, from http://www.studyspanish.com/ .
  • Clue Rules. (n.d.) Retrieved on October 3, 2004, from http://www.centralconnector.com/GAMES/clue.html


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Last updated October 11, 2004