Here’s an activity that I like because it gets students practicing lots of skills (speaking, reading, writing, grammar, and just working collaboratively), and it requires very little prep-time for you. I usually find that once students get into it, they’re all really active and they don’t need much help from me at all. I just kinda hover around, checking question structure and assisting with the occasional vocabulary word.
This week I used it after reviewing question words and structure with my adult pre-intermediate class, and it was really fun and productive. I’m sure it would work well with higher levels and younger age groups, too.
In case you can’t see the image above, it reads:
Create a Trivia Quiz:
Write a trivia quiz with 7 questions. After you finish, you will quiz the other teams. You may choose one or more of the following topics:
- The United States
- The city where you are now
- The answers should be FACTS, not opinions.
- Each question should have ONE correct answer.
- You must know the answer to the question. (You may use the internet to research.)
- Try to write questions that are challenging but not impossible.
Lesson Plan Ideas
- Start by teaching a lesson on question words and/or question structure. (I usually use this activity to practice present tense questions. If you decide to use it for questions in other tenses, you might want to modify the topics.)
- Next, I would recommend playing a team trivia game with pre-written questions. This step is helpful because students can use it as a model when they write their own quizzes later. Some ESL class books have mini trivia quizzes where students have to guess the answer to questions on some random topic. If you don’t have one in your book, you can find one on the internet or make up one of your own. I like to split my class up into teams, ask them to choose team names, and have them guess the correct answers together. (No Google allowed!) After they finish, we review the answers. Teams get two points for every completely correct answer, and one point for every partially correct answer.
- Now that your teams are warmed up and in competition mode, it’s time to start the activity above. I like to keep students in the same teams as in the previous activity. You might choose to display the image at the top of the page, or create one of your own that reflects what your class is doing more closely. If you don’t have the technology available in your classroom, you can just write the first part of the prompt on the board, and explain the rules orally.
- After the teams have their question ready, they can take turns quizzing each other. Every time a team gets a correct answer, they get 1 point.
- If you’re lucky enough to have Ipads or other technology available, this is the time to use them. Because my students are adults, I also let them use the internet on their cellphones for research. If you don’t have the technology, you can bring in books, magazines, brochures, or printouts from the internet for students to use in their research.
- One minor problem I’ve had is that some groups often write questions that are impossible or very difficult to answer correctly. For that type of question, you might encourage your students to give multiple choice options for the answers. (Do you have any other ideas on how to solve this? Please share them in the Comment section.)
- If you aren’t teaching question structure to pre-intermediate students, you can probably think of other ways to adapt this activity into your curriculum. For example, if you happen to teach a content class to ESL students, you might change the possible categories to reflect what you’ve been learning. (If you teach history, you might allow students to write questions on any of the wars that you’ve studied over the semester.)
Have you tried this activity in your class or used your own variation of it? I’d love to hear about how it went. Please share your ideas in the comment box! And as always, if you have any questions for me, please feel free to ask.