Functional Text Activities for Middle School

Instructor: Shanna Fox

Shanna has been part of the whirlwind world of teaching middle school for 20 years. She has a Master of Education degree in instructional design.

They may not realize it, but students engage with functional text quite regularly. Check out these activities to help students learn the ins and outs of functional text, how to decipher it, and even how to create their own.

Functional Text Activities

When students see the term ''functional text'' written on the board, they may shudder and assume that it's going to be quite a boring class period. Not so! Providing students with engaging, fun ways to interact with functional text is important because it allows them to recognize the purpose it serves in their everyday lives. These activities allow students to read, apply, and create meaningful functional texts.

Game Play


  • Decks of cards or board games (one per team)
  • Timer

Activity Directions

Video games are a huge part of most students' lives, but they may not have much experience with board or card games. Start this team activity by asking if students play video games, and if so, how they learn to play. Do they engage with the game and figure it out along the way, review the directions provided at the start of the game, or consult a website? Ask if they have played card or board games, and how their learning strategy differs between the two. Note the importance of following the directions when playing a board or card game. Reading the directions is unavoidable in most cases.

Group students into teams. Provide each team with a set of cards or a board game without the directions. Ask them to predict how the game is played based only on the title or game components. Then, provide written directions.

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