What Number is That?

Level Aims Grammar Time Materials
elementary school junior high school first year To provide number listening practice, and to help understand and practice the question, "What is it?", and answer, "It's a ______!" numbers, 'What' + interrogative 20 mins Worksheets

Discuss this activity here.

The Japanese Education Board is becoming more serious about teaching English in elementary schools, so this activity might be less ambitious than you think. However, currently (circa 1998) there is a disturbing number of first year students who are lost when it comes to English numbers greater than 10. Thus this activity will be a useful review and reinforcement for one of the most basic building blocks of any language. Using the provided number grid (or make some of your own) decide what type of picture you wish the students to identify and map it out; this will be your Master sheet. E.g., you can use a tulip, tree, fish, house, car, bowl, baseball bat, etc., etc.. It doesn't matter if the finished article looks pretty primitive, just so long as it's recognisable.

Your job is to call out the numbers which the students then join together with a continuous line. This is where your preparation will pay off, as you will need to have the number order right and the picture ought to be able to be drawn without lifting the pencil from the page; unless you feel like explaining to your students where to lift off their pencils and put them down again. When the picture is finished, the students must identify it in English. After you have asked the question ("What is this?") a few times, try getting the students to ask as well as answer it.

Teaching Tip

Introduce the S/s to "How many ____?" from the beginning of 1st year by, whenever handing out work sheets etc., asking the student at the front of each row, "How many S/s are there?" . If there is incomprehension, as there often will be at first, ask in Japanese, "Nan nin desu ka". Insist they answer in English: simply the number is sufficient for first year; number and noun for second year; a complete "There are ___ S/s." from third year. Supplement this activity by giving less than the required number of sheets, and having S/s (any) ask for more with the sentence, "Excuse me, ___ more please". Make sure to reward those S/s who comply. When the S/s get the hang of this activity, vary it by asking, "How many monkeys/ boys and girls/ Chinese/ Japanese (etc.) are there? Encourage the rely, "There are no monkeys, there are __ students." Of course the answer, "There are 5 Japanese" is perfectly permissible.

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