Making Words Lesson Ideas: Chain Game

Grade Levels: K-3

In these lesson ideas, which are adaptable for grades K-2, students play an online interactive game in which they change one letter within a word to create a new word.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Explore how letters work together in various combinations to create different words.
  2. Change one letter in a word and identify the new word that is created.


These lesson ideas feature a PBS Kids game called Chain Game. Players replace a sound in one word to make another word, and continue to do this until they have a sequence or chain of five words. For example, a user must change one letter or letter combination at a time to create the following chain of words: fast > mast > map > mop > stop > step.

There are 5 steps to changing a word in Chain Game. The verbal prompt tells you which word is up next in the chain and you have to create that word. Choose a letter or letter combination from the pool of words, click on it, and drag it to the part of the word you want to replace. Once the next word in the chain is correctly made, the prompt will tell you which word is up next.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Here are some different ways you can integrate this game into your literacy instruction:

  • Help students make connections between other reading skills by exploring the movie topics pages in BrainPOP Jr's Phonics Notebook The Rhyming Words movie can be a great way to show students how changing a single letter in the word can produce a completely different word.

  • Provide magnetic letters or other alphabet manipulatives to students in either a whole class or small group setting. As you project the game on the board and have volunteers create the words, invite the rest of the class to follow along by making each word with their own letters. Students should check their letters to make sure they match the letters in the game. You may want to have student point to each letter and read its sound before blending the sounds to read the entire word.

  • Pair students up and allow students to play the Chain Game together. Encourage students to discuss their thinking with one another. You may want to have students write down each word they create and circle the letter they changed. What would happen if I different letter was changed? Challenge students to work together to find out and record their thoughts.

  • Give each student one letter of the alphabet. You can either write these on cards or use magnetic letters. Be sure to give out multiple sets of vowels, and leave out less common letters if you prefer. Divide students into groups or 4-5, ensuring that each group has at least 2 members with vowels. (You can also challenge students to compose these groups themselves.) Have students work collaboratively to create words using the letters in their group, and record them on paper. Then change one member of each group and see what new words can be created simply by changing one letter in the existing words.