14 July 2010

5 ESL/EFL Activities for Practicing Large Numbers

Students are often taught the lower numbers then left to fend for themselves, here’s some simple activities so they can practice big numbers (I teach up to a million)




5. Karuta

You need: cards or papers for each group with big numbers on them, a master list for you

How to Play: Call out the numbers and the students will listen and grab the card for the number that you say. Be sure to have numbers that are close to each other so the students must listen to the whole number before grabbing the papers



4. Board Game

You need: A board game with numbers written on the spaces, OR a board game with different colours/symbols for each set of numbers (tens, hundreds, thousands etc) and a stack of number cards for each set.

How to play: For the pre-printed numbers version, the students simply say the number as they land on the spaces, if they cannot say the number they must return to their previous place. For the card version if the student lands on a colour/symbol they must take a card from the stack and say the number, again returning if they are incorrect. Be sure to add “Go ahead” “Go back” or other task spaces to keep the game interesting



3. Bingo

You need: Blank or pre-printed bingo papers with large numbers, a calling list for you

How to Play: If you have blank papers have the students write the numbers where they like on their paper Tip: This can take forever so what I did was have the possible numbers written at the top and assigned a letter of the alphabet, the students then write only the letter of the alphabet in the grid. Call out the numbers, make sure you repeat as often as the students need, and play until a certain number of students gets bingo.



2. Secret Number

You need: Blank scrap paper for each group

How to play: In small groups, one student will think of a secret number and write it on the paper. The other students take turns guessing what the number is. The student with the secret number can give them a hint by saying “Up./Down.” or “Higher/Lower.” When one student guesses the number it’s their turn to write a secret number. Tip: I tell the students that for the first game they can choose between 0 and 100, the second game is 0-200, the third 0-300 etc. This builds up the game and their confidence.



1. What’s this number?

You need: A piece of paper for each student with a large number on it (preferably with the English answer written on the back) a scrap of memo paper for each student.

How to play: The students should mingle with their papers. I have them play rock, paper, scissors to decide who gets to speak, but they could take turns if you prefer. One student shows their number and the other student must say it. If they can say it correctly (they can check the back of the paper) they can get their paper signed by the other student. Most signatures wins or they try to get a certain number to finish.



Teaching Tip: When teaching large numbers, teach them to say the commas for “million” and “thousand”. It also helps to use colours to demonstrate how the numbers are broken down.

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