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Construction Games for Students to Learn French

written by: SaraWalker • edited by: Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch • updated: 9/11/2012

If your French class is ready to start learning more advanced vocabulary, why not try these French construction vocabulary words and games?

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    Before starting to learn French construction and building vocabulary, it might also be interesting for your students to know a little about the different construction techniques used in France.

    Construction techniques in France depend on the region, and also on the age of the building. Houses can be built of stone, brick, wood or even mud bricks.

    Modern French houses tend to be built of brick, and covered with a render of either lime or cement. More and more eco houses are also now being built, using wood and glass.

    Older houses can be built of stone, or of bricks made from a mixture of chopped straw and mud. Local builders would have made use of whatever materials they could find, including river sand or clay, so buildings styles vary across France.

    In the south, for example, many old farm houses are half-timbered on their upper storey, a style called colombage. The more important buildings, such as châteaux, would have been built completely of stone to show off the wealth and taste of the owner. The more modest buildings, such as farmhouses, would be built of stone on the façade, and the other walls might be built of briques de terre, or mud bricks. The whole building would then be covered with lime render to give a unified look.

    Roofs are usually made from tiles, either slate or terra cotta.

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    Basic Building Terminology

    To start with, we will look at some basic words. Students may already have come across some of this vocabulary.

    To build – construire

    Walls – les murs (m. pl.)

    Typical Old French Farmhouse Roof – le toit

    Ceiling – le plafond

    Floor – le plancher

    Roof tile – la tuile

    Floor tile – le carreau

    Foundations – les fondations (f. pl.)

    Windows – les fenêtres (f. pl.)

    Chimney – la cheminée

    Activity – Building a House

    To reinforce the students’ understanding of the above French construction vocabulary, split the class into two or more teams. Hand out a set of cards to each team, each card having one of the vocabulary words written on it. Students must put the cards in order of building the house, from the ground up.

    For example, the FONDATIONS card is first, then MURS etc. The teams may not both come up with the same sequence, but should be able to demonstrate their understanding of the vocabulary.

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    Vehicle And Materials

    Now we will look at more specific vocabulary.

    Construction Crane Truck – le camion

    Crane – la grue

    Crane driver – le grutier/la grutière

    Concrete mixer – la bétonneuse

    Concrete – le béton

    Cement – le ciment

    Lime mortar – la chauxConcrete Mixer Truck 

    Sand – le sable

    Bricks – les briques (f. pl.)

    Wood – le bois

    Glass – le verre

    Activity – Learning the Construction Vocabulary

    This game is a variation of Hangman, and can either be played as a competition between two teaDraw A Simple House in the Construction Game ms, or as a group.

    The teacher chooses a word from the vocabulary list, and writes the appropriate number of spaces on the whiteboard. For example, for bétonneuse, the teacher would write 10 spaces : _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ . The class then have to guess letters to fill in the spaces.

    Instead of the hangman figure, the teacher draws the outline of a simple house (see example) for incorrect guesses, one feature at a time. If playing in teams, the team who build their house first are the losers.


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    The final French construction vocabulary section looks at tools.

    Tools – les outilsToolbox 

    Toolbox – la boîte à outils

    Wrench – la clé

    Sandpaper – le papier de verre

    Tape measure – le metre à ruban

    Hammer – le marteau

    Saw – la scie

    Chisel – le ciseau

    Nail – le clouHammer 

    Screw – la vis

    Screwdriver – le tournevis

    Trowel – la truelle

    Activity – Learning The Tool Vocabulary

    Divide the class into two groups. Give each member of the first group a card with one of the vocabulary words written on it.

    Then give each member of the second group a card with a description written on, for example Un outil pour frapper des clous, Quelquechose pour mesurer.

    The students should then move round the room until they find their "partner," or the person who has the word corresponding to the description. Swap the cards around amongst the group after each round is completed.

    For younger age groups, prepare picture cards instead of cards with descriptions.

    Future Lesson Ideas

    If your students have enjoyed learning this specific French construction vocabulary and trying out the games, then why not look at more specific vocabulary such as clothing or math?

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    Further Reading

    The Evolution of French Architecture

    French Vocabulary - Professions and Trades

    Image Credits

    Houses images - own collection

    Concrete Mixer Image Courtesy of: / GNU Free Documentation License / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License / by: Indolences

    Crane Image Courtesy of: / GNU Free Documentation License / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License / by: Thue

    Toolbox Image Courtesy of: / GNU Free Documentation License / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License / by: Erik Strandberg

    Hammer Image Courtesy of: / GNU Free Documentation License / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License / by: Hedwig Storch