That Blue Square Thing

Only Connect

Only Connect is a quiz show that aired on BBC4 for nine series before making the move to BBC2 in 2014.

It's about connections between things - usually requiring both knowledge and logic to be able to score points in (and what do points make?...). I think it's got lots of really interesting applications for teaching with.

So, here are some Quite Interesting tools to help teach it - all using PowerPoint for now. There's nothing flashy and it can all be adapted however you want - just create some duplicate slides and edit away.

These are all geography themed by the way. It happens that way sometimes. I'm sure it must be adaptable for any other subject - some might be easier than others.

You might want to visit the Only Connect website itselfExternal link. There are programme clips if you want to understand how the show works. Beware though: it's quite geeky and may be addictive. So, if you have an evening of report writing you want to put off...

Missing Vowels

Screenshot of missing vowels slideThis is the Missing Vowels round from the BBC quiz show Only Connect. Only without Victoria Coren.

The idea is simple - remove the vowels from some words and see if people can work out what the words are. The show does this in sets of four with a theme which is known to the teams.

It's infinitely variable and adaptable to just about anything and would, I suppose, be quite useful towards the end of a lesson to recap key vocab (river features, fault zones, operating systems, chemical elements etc...). Or just as a bit of fun.

I've done two versions - a set of ten words on a page and the classic round of four. It doesn't take rocket science to adapt though (hint: I increased the character spacing a little so that the letters weren't quite as close together).

PowerPoint iconMissing Vowels - set of 4 - classic style with one word per slide

PowerPoint iconTen Missing Vowels - ten to a page, perhaps for a quiz

It wouldn't take much, of course, to adapt this to whatever software and technology you have available. Including a board pen or a piece of chalk.


This is first round of the show. Simply identify the connection as the four clues are revealed. The quicker you get the connection the more points you get. It's really hard to get 5 points by the way!

These files have a handful of sets of connections to show different ways of possibly organising the round. Slides can be copied (try Duplicate Selected Slide from the New Slide drop down button) so more can be created.

The picture version is a bigger file and is possibly to edit. It also contains the same text walls as the basic version. Any feedback on the picture version in particular would be helpful.

PowerPoint iconConnections - set of three questions

PowerPoint iconConnections with images - take care editing the image slides. For the last slide - check it out; it really is true!


This time you have to guess what the last item in the sequence will be. Quite tricky. Again, 5 points is really hard!

Designing sequences is harder I think (but you may disagree).

PowerPoint iconSequences - set of four questions

Connecting Walls

A different sort of round on the show is the connecting wall. This involves a wall of 16 items being shown. The wall has four sets of connections within it. The aim is to find the four connections and give the right reason why they are connected.

There are usually red herrings in there to confuse things and some walls are certainly very tricky indeed. You can make yours as easy or as hard as you like - but in theory there should only be one possible solution to it.

There's a Word version of this as well which could be used as a paper and pencil exercise either on its own or with the presentation being used at the same time.

PowerPoint iconConnecting Wall - presentation

PowerPoint iconConnecting Wall - Word sheet to go with it