Backseat Drawing is a drawing game that utilizes communication as the main mechanism of play. Like many other drawing games, students work in teams in an effort to work out what is being drawn for the round. The difference here is that the student with the marker does not know what they are drawing. Instead, it is a coordinated effort of communication between two students to get the drawing on paper.
To start, both teams designate a player to be the director and another to be the artist. Each round the team's director reads a clue card and is responsible for describing it to the artist while the rest of the team, including the artist, attempts to guess what is being described. The challenge and fun of the game are the restrictions placed on the director in how they can describe the clue. They may use shapes, size, orientation, or texture to describe the clue to the artist. They may not, however, use words that would provide context for the clue. So for example, the director could say draw two circles on the bottom of the rectangle. They could not say draw two tires. The first team to correctly guess the clue wins a point for the round and the first team to seven points wins.
Backseat Drawing brings two things to the table. First, it provides an excellent activity in both active listening and descriptive language as the director and artist try to work together to produce a picture that the team can figure out. The second, more critical piece being practiced by students is the ability to monitor and adjust their efforts in communication. It gives them an opportunity to reflect on the effectiveness of their word and language choices, helping them learn how to identify when they need to change their approach. This skill translates over very well to writing and research as students need to learn to write with clarity and perspective.
Backseat Drawing is a large group game. While the box says up to ten players, a whole class could easily be broken into two teams to play the game. Another implementation possibility is to have the class play as a whole, with students taking turns being the director or artist. Include a smartboard or an iPad for projecting the drawing and you can engage the whole class.