Tried and tested (and approved!) games and activities to help English learning.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Level: Elementary and Intermediate.

Skills: speaking.

Topic: vocabulary (numbers).

Materials: none.

Time: 5 to 10 minutes.

Have your group of students sit around in a circle. A student starts by saying the number "1". The next person (the person sitting to the left or right, choose an initial direction) says "2", then the next person says "3", and so on and so forth. When someone gets to the number "7", that's when the fun begins. Whenever you get to the number "7" or a multiple of "7" (ex. 7,14,21,28,35, etc) or any number that has a "7" in it (ex. 17, 27, 37, etc.), that person must say Buzz (or Bazzinga!, that's what some students of mine have been calling it). Whenever someone says Buzz when they're supposed to on a "7" number, then you switch directions. That means if your group was counting in a clockwise direction, then you switch to counter-clockwise after Buzz is said.

If there is a mistake, start over at "1" with the next student in line. The student who has made the mistake is out of the game.

Once it is going well and the group has reached 50 or so, stop them and add 'Bizz' to the game (or Boing!, if you are using Bazzinga!). Now, substitute 'Bizz' for 5 (for example, 1, 2, 3, 4, Bizz, 6, Buzz, 8, 9, Bizz, 11, 12, 13, Buzz, Bizz, 16, Buzz, 18, 19, Bizz, Buzz, 22, ...). If the number is a multiple of 5 and 7, or has 5 and 7 in it, like 35 or 57 or 70 or 75, say 'BizzBuzz'!

Try for a group record or reaching 100 (one of my classes got to 200!). Eliminate students who make mistakes until only one champion is left.

Good for reviewing cardinal numbers, this game could also be used for ordinal numbers, keeping the same rules. Most of my classes simply love this game and although it could seem a bit challenging at first, the more you play it with your students the more they (and you) will enjoy it.

Variations: instead of 5 and 7, you can pick 3 and 5 as the 'buzz' numbers, making this game more agile.

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