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

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Venus and Mars

Level: Intermediate and Advanced.

Skills: writing and speaking.

Topic: vocabulary.

Materials: pencil and paper.

Time: 15 to 20 minutes.

An engrossing and amusing game to youngsters and adults that promotes a lot of talking, I start this game with a 5 minute conversation about differences between men and women. Initially, try to elicit whether women and men are interested in different things in life, talk about different subjects, and learn different things as they grow up. Students tend to be quite opinionated on this subject!

Then,  ask all the women in the class to group, forming a circle with their chairs at one side of the classroom, and all the men on the opposite side do the same. It doesn't really matter if there are the exact same number of men and women, but it would be very nice if it is. Next, ask each group to come up with ten questions that they believe most people of the same sex could answer, and most of the opposite sex couldn't. The main criterion is that they believe at least 75% of people of their own gender would know the answer. Of course, the questions also have to be grammatically correct. Help and monitor as necessary.

Finally, each team takes turns asking the other the questions – and be prepared to really unexpected results! The last time I played this game, one of my male students, who is married, knew most of the brands of nail varnishes of the market, even suggesting the trendiest colours to his female classmates! We also had a good laugh when the men asked the women which direction was north and they pointed to all 4 corners of the room. Guaranteed fun!

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