This is a fun speaking activity in the form of a game. It can be used with most levels and most age groups. Students practise presenting their opinions and reaching agreement. There is an initial group work activity and extension speaking and writing activities.

Katherine Bilsborough

Activity type: Group work

Level: Up to B2

Age: Adults or senior YLs


There are no materials required. Just write these inventions on the board in a random order:

  • the Internet (most recent)
  • light bulb
  • telephone
  • refrigerator
  • braille
  • thermometer
  • microscope
  • printing
  • paper
  • wheel


  • Put students into groups of 3 or 5. Students should work together in their groups, checking that everybody knows what each word means. Help with understanding if necessary.
  • Explain that these are 10 important inventions. Students should work together in their groups to compile a list of the inventions in chronological order. They should talk about each invention and reach a majority decision regarding the order. If necessary explain to students BC and AD.
  • Elicit the lists from each group and write them on the board. Alternatively, invite a student up to the board from each group to write their list. 
  • Write the answers on the board (see below) for students to check.
  • Get groups to copy the correct list.
  • Explain that you are going to play a game. Students have to guess the year of each invention. They have to work together in groups to reach a majority decision.
  • Explain that you will award 1 point for the group that writes the nearest year. You will award 2 bonus points for an exact year. Explain the meaning of BC and AD. Give students a limited time to do this part. (10 mins)
  • Draw this grid on the board (below). Complete the grid by eliciting answers from each group. Alternatively, invite a member of each group up to the board to write in their information.
  Group 1 Group 2 (etc.) Answer
 the Internet   
 light bulb   


  • Finally, complete the answers column (see below) and award points to find the winning group. 



  • The Internet 1969
  • light bulb 1906
  • telephone 1876
  • refrigerator 1850
  • braille 1829
  • thermometer 1593
  • microscope 1590
  • printing 1440
  • paper 100
  • wheel around 3,500 BC


Writing: Students write a short text (100 words) about the positive and negative effects of one of the inventions named.

Speaking: Put students into pairs, A and B. Students take turns to choose an invention from the list and to talk about its positive and negative effects. They should speak for about 2 minutes about each invention.

Language Level


Submitted by Puttel on Sat, 02/26/2011 - 08:42


I have tried this activity and I think it´s very good for the students. 

Students that usually don´t speak much get drawn in to the game and forget about their resistance to speak.

Submitted by Gulshan Huseynli on Sat, 05/07/2011 - 15:24


I especially liked the writing and speaking activities. It will be interesting for them to talk about advantages and disadvantages of these inventinons.

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