Kim’s game – practise there is and there are with this memory game

Kim's gameKim’s game is an old-time memory game that can be used for reviewing there is and there is/are/was/were and for introducing some useful vocabulary for common household objects.

You will need a tray, a tea towel and about 15 different, common, household objects (some in multiples). For example, a battery, a light bulb, some coins, two teaspoons, a lighter, a tea bag, a fork, an eraser, some rubber bands, a coaster etc. The collection of objects must be able to fit together on the tray and be hidden under the tea towel.

Introduce the verb remember and the noun memory and ask the class if they think they have good memories. How many telephone numbers they can remember, etc. Tell them you are going to test how good they are at remembering with a memory test.

Produce the tray on which are laid the objects covered up by the tea towel. Ask students to come and stand around the tray and tell them that they will have one minute to try and remember as many items as they can. Then they must return to their desks and write down as many objects as they can remember. If they don’t know the English word for the object they can write it down in their own language or draw a picture.

Remove the tea towel for  30 seconds and then send students back to their desks and give them two minutes to write their lists.

Find out who has the best memory by seeing which students have remembered the largest number of objects. It’s unlikely that any will have all 15.

Tell the students how many objects they should have on their list (15), see if together with their neighbour they can remember all 15 objects and how many they know the English word for.

Finally, go around the class asking each student to name one of the objects from the tray using there is or there are. Write the English word for each object on the board. Remove the objects from the tray as you go, putting everything back in your bag.

To use this activity as an inroduction to the past simple tense,  later in the class, ask students how many of the objects they can still remember. Elicit the past tense forms of is /are and encourage students to reply using there was and there were.

Try it again at the beginning of the next lesson and see if they can still remember all the objects and associated vocabulary.

One thought on “Kim’s game – practise there is and there are with this memory game

  1. This great game can be extended in many ways for students of higher levels.

    For pre-int/int, have the students describe the relative positions of the items (great practice for prepositions of place).

    Another extension: take a photo of the tray, then have only half the class look at the it. Take the items off the tray altogether and give both tray and items to the students who did not see it. Not the ones who saw the original tray must describe where everything was (without using gestures! That will need to be carefully policed, in my experience), while those who did not see it must reconstruct the original tray as exactly as possible. Verify the final layout with the photo.

    And one level further, set the groups back-to-back. This means that the students who *did* see the tray cannot see the reconstruction. Both groups need to really work at describing and verifying not just where everything was on the original tray, but where it is on the reconstruction! I’ve done something like this with a small, very communicative mixed upper-int and advanced class, and it was both very good communication practice and very very funny.

    The latter extensions work best with small groups, so if you have a larger class you’ll probably need more trays. Alternatively, make it a team game: two teams, each with hone person as their designated ‘reconstructor’; the teams take it in turns to view, describe, and reconstruct a display, with the fastest reconstruction as the winner.

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