Preparation time: 5 minutes
Materials: paper and chalkboard or whiteboard
Preparation: Plan to review past tense forms with the students before the activity. Pre-teach any vocabulary that might be unfamiliar, but try as much as possible to use vocabulary that the students already know. On a sheet of paper, make two columns. In the left column write the names of seven people. In the right column write seven actions in the past tense (e.g. wrote a letter to the teacher, played soccer with friends, studied English all weekend). Then draw lines connecting each of the seven people to one of the seven actions. The result will be seven sentences that make sense and are grammatical. Try to avoid using his and her to make it more challenging. These seven matches are the "correct" answers.
- Write the two columns (people and actions) on the board. Do not draw lines connecting them.
- Explain to students that they will ask yes/no questions to guess which person did which action. Be prepared to model this a few times, but use extra names and actions and erase them when you're finished modeling.
- Divide the class into two or three groups that will compete to solve the mystery. In turn, have a student from each group ask you questions, such as Did Maria write a letter to the teacher?
- If the answer is yes, then another student from the same group can ask a question. If the answer is no, then the turn passes to another group. When a group guesses the correct statement, they earn a point. Because there are seven sentences, a tie is impossible.