The Internet TESL Journal

A Fun Cultural Indoor Rally

Angie & Carlos Ruelas
cruelas [at]

This is an activity which combines fun with general language review. It will take some time to plan, but it is well worth the effort.

What is a Cultural Rally?

A "Cultural Rally" is a competition which requires students to visit different "bases" (locations).. They may walk, run, cycle or skate from base to base. At each "base" students answer different kinds of questions, read some printed material, get "crazy things", perform some activities, such as: "sing a popular folk tune", or "dance an African ritual". Students are then awarded points at each of the "bases" depending on their answers. The students with the most points win. The rally combines knowledge, speed, wit, skills and a little bit of luck. Though this is usually an indoor activity, it can also have some outdoor activities if the location of the school guarantees the students' safety, or if parents and friends are also included. Students organise their teams for the contest as well as the materials which they consider could be useful in achieving better results.This includes things such as dictionaries, stationery and costumes. Teachers should write the instructions in English for each "base" using vocabulary and structures suited to the students' level, making sure that they are always challenging.

Here are some sample instructions:

  1. Get a mud footprint from somebody in the team.
  2. What time does the New Year begin?
  3. Read the passage on page X in your English textbook, write the three most important ideas which appeared on the page.
  4. Dress up for a wedding. Choose a bride and a bridegroom and go to the Principal's Office. Ask him/her to "marry" them. (If he/she speaks English)
  5. Find a bug. Catch up. Keep it alive for the last base and show it to the judge.
  6. Now rush to the next base. You must look for a place where students can wash their hands.
As you may notice, a "Cultural Rally" requires the students to read English information, perform something and then locate the next "base" where the next clues are.

Getting Ready

Before you organise your rally you should inform your school authorities and ask them for permission, since some may be a little reluctant when you first tell them about this activity. However, you should be able to convince them about how useful and fun it will be for the students.

First of all you should consider time availability and specific goals:

General guidelines: Now you are ready to organise your rally. Welcome any ideas you get from your colleagues, family and friends.

How to Organise the Rally

This is an example of a paper for one of the bases.

Base Three

Base three is located where students can have lunch together. There are tables and chairs for everybody. You can buy sandwiches and sodas there.
  1. Copy the menu on a paper napkin (with no mistakes), and be careful not to tear it. Keep it and hand it in at the end of the rally.
  2. Find out how much these are:
    1. a. a ham sandwich
    2. b. a small order of French fries
    3. c. a regular pizza
  3. How many people work at the cafeteria every day? What are their names and addresses?
  4. Clean something in the cafeteria and ask somebody in the cafeteria to sign a note to back up your word.
  5. Sing a "lullaby" three times to somebody in the cafeteria and request his/her fingerprint in ketchup or mustard (you may use a napkin for the fingerprint).
Now rush to the next base where you can find this interesting specimen in a jar.
Seahorse Image

The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. V, No. 8, August 1999