Sultans and Sentences

by Corey Fayman

and Jack Miller

Corey Fayman is a musician, sound designer and graduate student in Educational Technology. Jack Miller is a graduate student in Educational Technology and CEO of Pacific College of Oriental Medicine.

Instructional Objective

The learners will be able to identify and use parts of speech, pronouns, punctuation marks, simple sentence structure, and past and future verb tenses.


The learners are students of grammar in the third grade.

The game is designed to be played during or after class, but after students have been introduced to the subjects used in the game. It will be used to reinforce parts of speech, pronouns, punctuation marks, simple sentence structure, and past and future verb tenses and use children's natural desire to play games to instruct in elementary grammar.


A game is an appropriate format for this situation. Exercises that instruct and reinforce the rules of grammar provide short, discrete questions, answers, examples, etc. that lend themselves to being presented on small cards and to being answered quickly. Therefore, these exercises can be used to create game challenges which when accomplished result in acquiring points, movement, etc. Grammar is also a subject that benefits from repetition. Therefore, adding the motivational element of a game inspires the learner to practice the rules of grammar repeatedly, adding to the effectiveness of instruction.


Four to six players are required. The object of the Sultans and Sentences game is to be the first player to reach the Magic Carpet Ride in the clouds. Players advance by drawing cards, answering the question correctly and moving the appropriate number of spaces. Players encounter detours or rewards created by Special Cards or Squares on their Arabian adventure. Expected duration of the game is 15 to 25 minutes

Shuffle the deck of cards. The youngest player or the player who lost the last game goes first. Play proceeds in a clockwise direction.

The player to the starting player's right draws a card and reads the sentence written at the top of the card. He then asks the player to name the parts of speech indicated on the card. The answering player must name each instance of the part of speech contained in the sentence. Correct answers are indicated on the cards with underlined words.

Penalty Squares

Bonus Squares

Special Cards

Board Design

The board consists of background pictures from the Aladdin motion picture by Disney to highlight the Arabian Nights theme and title of the game, Sultans and Sentences. Superimposed on the background is the multi-colored path that the players traverse. The path is composed of 155 normal, penalty, and bonus squares.

Card Design

Each card contains a sentence with the correct answers underlined, the name of the part of speech required, and the number of spaces the player moves when identifying the part of speech correctly. Special penalty and bonus cards are included in the deck as described above.There are 100 cards in the original deck although cards can be added as player memorize the answers to previous cards. Additional decks can also be created and used to vary the game for players of different abilities or grade levels.

Design Process

We started by considering the fundamental building blocks of sentences - nouns, verbs, and adjectives, and created the first version of the board game to teach those simple concepts. We then consulted with two subject matter experts, third grade English teachers. We recognized that even these early learners had more knowledge than that of nouns, verbs, and adjectives. We also recognized that the game as originally conceived might not teach parts of speech because learners could play it simply by reading rather than by organizing the parts of speech. Reviewing that game, we also noticed that the game could be played as a card game with some simple adjustments to the game pieces. Armed with new knowledge of the scope of the learners background, we faced the challenge of making a game that made sense as a board game. Some ideas we considered were a race, a monopoly type game, or an adventure game. Some themes we considered were Jurassic Park, farm animals, space adventures. We finally settled on a simple adventure game with an Arabian Nights theme inspired by the fact that we were trying to teach grammar, the fundamental building block of stories, stories being the fundamental theme of the Arabian Nights. Additionally, we liked an adventure that proceeded along a path that could be punctuated in a manner resembling the flow of thought or the structure of a sentence. We believed that this would inject a significant element of congruence to the game, its appearance, and structure.

Disclaimer. This game was created as part of an academic excercise. Some characters and artwork are copyright by the Disney Company, Burbank, CA 1992.
Last updated by Jack Miller and Corey Fayman on October 19, 1995.

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