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This activity works well with mixed ability classes because students who might be less confident with their English have an opportunity of doing well because of their general knowledge.
First the students try to complete some trivia sentences as a warmer. Next, students work in pairs or small groups to complete a 'Fun Facts' worksheet and plan the questions. Then they get into pairs to check each other's answers and practise their questions. Finally, as an extension activity for homework and the next lesson, students use the internet to find out their own interesting fun fact.
Pair work and group work
CEFR level B2+
Older teenagers and adults
Students need one copy of either the Student A or Student B worksheet.
Introduce the topic of trivia and fun facts by writing the following 'interesting facts' on the board and ask students to complete the sentences in pairs or small groups. Do the first one as a whole class.
- It's against the law to have a pet dog in ... (answer: Iceland)
- The cigarette lighter was invented ... (answer: before the match)
- Leonardo da Vinci invented ... (answer: scissors)
- Earth is the only planet ... (answer: not named after a god)
- Butterflies taste with ... (answer: their feet)
After five minutes, ask groups for the answers and award points for correct ones.
Divide the class into two groups, A and B.
Give the students in group A a copy of the Student A worksheet.
Give the students in group B a copy of the Student B worksheet.
Students work together in pairs or small groups (each pair or small group should be all As or all Bs) to try and complete the gaps on their worksheet. Make sure you give a strict time limit on this for both groups.
Once the time is up, ask students to look at the gapped sentences and plan how to form the question they are going to ask to check their answer. Monitor students to make sure they are forming questions correctly. Write some of the examples below on the board as a model for students to follow.
- Do 47% of dog owners in America sleep with their dogs?
- Could you tell me if 47% of dog owners in America ...?
- Is it true that 47% of dog owners in America ...?
- What do 47% of dog owners in America do with their dogs?
- What on earth do 47% of dog owners in America do with their dogs?
Before putting students into new pairs to check their answers, demonstrate the activity with a volunteer.
Now put students into pairs (one student A with one student B) and ask them to check their answers by asking appropriate questions. Student A has student B's answers on their worksheet, and vice versa.
Make a note of any errors and address them at the end of the lesson. When everybody finishes, put students back into their original pairs or groups. Ask students which was the most surprising, interesting or funny fact.
Part three (homework and extension)
If students have access to a computer at home or in a library/school, ask them to find out at least one interesting and trivial fact for the following class. In the following class, students all write their sentences on the board (with the key information missing) for their classmates to guess. Alternatively, the teacher could collect all the facts in and use them over a period of weeks as a warmer at the start of each lesson.
If students don't have access to a computer, they could write one interesting 'fact' about themselves or someone they know. This could be phrased as a 'true or false' statement and, in the following lesson, other members of the class ask questions to discover if it is true or false.