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Teaching Numbers – Fun Speaking Activity

teaching numbers free speaking activityFinding enough speaking activities and free speaking practice, which are useful, is definitely my downfall when it comes to teaching. When I came across this speaking activity on teaching numbers with its game element, I was thrilled. Read about my take on the game below.

I have been teaching numbers since 2009. In the past, I have done addition/subtraction and multiplication sums, as it adds a cross-curricular element. However, I tend to find that it takes longer to teach the numbers, because students are focusing on the maths involved.

In the future, I will definitely utilise this activity for teaching numbers (small or large) for free speaking, in any language. The activity is super quick to prepare, relatively cheap and provides a really great, interactive opportunity to practise numbers freely.

Teaching Numbers – Fun, Free Speaking Activity

Aim: To help students freely practise saying large numbers (tens, hundreds, thousands and even millions)
All (Beginner – Upper-intermediate)
Resources: three plastic/foam cups per small group of students, dry-wipe/permanent marker

1. Begin by teaching numbers broken down: 1-10 first, then 11-20, then 30, 40, 50 etc, then the numbers in between up to 100. After, talk about the hundreds and thousands. Then, allow for ‘complete the number’ guided practice. I use songs from YouTube, pictures with the numbers, as well as worksheets with ‘what number comes before 54 (fifty four)’ and ‘what number comes after 666 (six hundred and sixty six)?
2. When the students are ready for free-practice of tens, hundreds or thousands, you can use my fun speaking activity game to practise.
3. Either pre-prepare the cups for use, or show the students how to prepare the cups (as in the image above), ready for the activity. Watch the video below for a quick run-down with tips.

4. Put students in groups of 3-5 students, along with their set of 3 cups and provide a time limit for the game (to create an element of competition) 
5. One student (Student B, C, D or E) twists the cups to create a 3-4 digit number (similar to the picture) and passes it to Student A who will begin the game. Student A must say the number that faces them in the middle. If they get it right, and the group agrees, Student A will get a point, which should be recorded. If he/she does not get the answer correct, the rest of the group ‘steals’ the point. Record these points, as well.
6. The person to the left or right of Student A can also have the opportunity to win an extra point by saying the number correctly. If this person gets the correct answer and the group agrees, they will now have 2 points. Record points as you go along.
7. Student A must twist the cups to show a new number and pass it to Student B. Repeat the rest of steps 5 and 6 until the time is up.
8. At the end of the activity, the students with the most points could receive a merit/house point etc

Tip: use a Sharpie style pen, rather than a dry-wipe marker to avoid having to re-write the digits when teaching numbers in the future

What variation would you do on this activity? Let me know in the comments below. Why not join my mailing list to keep up-to-date with the latest language teaching resources and ideas?


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