The Alphabet Game: names of animals

Hello, Friends,

They say 'promise is debt', so today, as I promised, my own 'private' English course kicks off with a post I hope you will find interesting.

I confess I'm a fan of the famous Channel 5 TV programme, Pasapalabra, which I watch whenever I can. Well, the programme has given me an idea: why not play in class a version of it so that students can have fun as they increase or consolidate their vocabulary?

With this objective in mind, I have devised a game I've called The Alphabet Game, after the British TV programme, which actually was at the origin of the present Pasapalabra.

The Alphabet Game I propose can be said to be halfway between the two programmes, the British and the Spanish one.

Basically, the game will be as follows:

There will be two players and sixteen questions for each, the answers beginning successively with a letter, from a to p. The first player begins answering the teacher's questions and goes on uninterruptedly till he/she makes a mistake or says "pass word" or, simply, "pass", if he/she doesn't know the answer. Then the turn passes on to the other player, and so on and so forth.

There will be a common topic for both players - animals in the present case - and at the end of the second round, the player who has more right answers wins the game. If there's a draw, the player with fewer fails will be the winner.

The game is open to variants, depending on the teacher's best criteria or the students' level. It can also be played by two teams, each with 4 or 5 students, who can be allowed by the teacher to consult with one another before giving their answers. Naturally, the game can be 'played' individually as a sort of useful, entertaining exercise.

Here's my first Alphabet Game, of an intermediate level. I may as well warn you that in some of the questions there is an idiom hidden. 

Well, play and enjoy!:

Questions for Player 1

beginning with a - this bear likes to eat ants
          "             b - nocturnal mouselike mammal, mistakenly thought to be blind
          "             c - the animal most likely to survive a nuclear catastrophe
          "             d - you won't find any of these birds around, since they are all quite dead
          "             e - slippery animal that lives in the sea
          "             f - if you call a Frenchman with the name of this small amphibian, he'll be offended
          "             g - has a long neck to be able to reach the tops of the trees and eat their leaves
          "             h - said to go mad in March
          "             i - a large lizard, native to America, having a dorsal crest that makes it look like a dinosaur
          "             j - you'd better not get into the sea water to have a swim  if there are some of these around
          "             k - go to Australia if you want to see one of these marsupials jump
          "             l - you may have them in your hair if you don't wash your head fairly often
          "             m - this bird has a bad reputation for stealing things and hiding them in its nest
          "             n - you'll be delighted to hear this bird sing
          "             o - many men would like to be as strong as this bovine animal
          "             p - a rather religious insect that likes to pray, a fact which doesn't prevent the female from devouring the male after mating.

Questions for Player 2

beginning with a - name usually given in British English to the German Shepherd
          "             b - a small insect which is always busy
          "             c - name of a noisy insect, and of a sport quite popular in Great Britain
          "             d - this small mouselike rodent likes to sleep
          "             e - type of worm which usually remains near the soil surface, providing food for a great variety of birds
          "             f - a very sly animal
          "             g - small house lizard often seen climbing walls
          "             h - flesh-eating animal with an unpleasant fiendish laugh
          "             i - a wild goat living in the mountains which is in danger of extinction
          "             j - a wild feline and an expensive make of car
          "             k - flightless New Zealand bird and a sweet juicy fruit
          "             l - if you usually get up with this bird, you are an early riser
          "             m - a small burrowing mammal and a spy within an organization
          "             n - a breed of dog with a thick coarse coat and the name of a Canadian province
          "             o - said to be a bird that likes to go to bed very late
          "             p - this bird is able to mimic the human voice.



a.- anteater; b.- bat - idiom alluded to: (as) blind as a bat; c.- cockcroach; d.- dodo -idiom alluded to: (as) dead as a dodo; e.- eel - idiom alluded to: (as) slippery as an eel; f.- frog; g.- giraffe; h.- hare - idiom alluded to: (as) mad as a March hare; i.- iguana; j.- jellyfish; k.- kangaroo; l.- lice (louse can be acceptable too); m.- magpie; n.- nightingale; o.- ox - idiom alluded to: (as) strong as an ox; p.- praying  mantis


a.- Alsatian; b.- bee - idiom alluded to: to be a busy bee; c.- cricket; d.- dormouse; e.- earthworm; f.- fox - idiom alluded to: to be a sly fox; g.- gecko; h.- hyena; i.- ibex; j.- jaguar; k.- kiwi; l.- lark - idiom alluded to: to rise with the lark; m.- mole - idiom alluded to: if you suspect there's a spy where you work, etc, you say there's a mole there; n.- newfoundland; o.- owl - idiom alluded to: to be a night owl (said of someone who enjoys staying awake all night); p.- parrot

Suggestions for easier questions

In case some teachers find some of the questions a bit difficult for their students, here are some suggestions for changes that can be made to lower the level to elementary, or almost:

c- you must ride one to travel across a desert (camel)
c- one of the most poisonous snakes (cobra)
d - a domestic animal whose work everybody tries to avoid (donkey) (idiom alluded to: the donkey work - the hard boring work that is part of a job or project)
d - a sea mammal which likes to play with people, especially children (dolphin)
e - a majestic bird, often used as a symbol for an empire or a powerful country (eagle)
f - an insect which sucks your blood, but at markets that have its name, you can find lots of bargains (flea) (idiom alluded to: a flea market, a market where old or used goods are sold)
g - a jumping insect (grasshopper)
g- a fast dog, used as a trademark for the most popular bus line in the U.S.A. (greyhound)
h - a mouselike animal without a tail, often kept as a pet by children (hamster)
h- you may bet on one to win a race, but if he is dark, you can't be so sure of his chances (idiom alluded to: a dark horse is someone who is little known but who may surprise everybody winning a competition, etc) (horse)
i.- there aren't many names of animals beginning with i, but you can make use of a little trick and say: containing the i - goldfish, mink, hippo, etc. Here are some suggested definitions:
goldfish - a small shiny orange fish often kept as a pet
hippo - an informal word for hippopotamus
mink - a small animal whose very valuable fur is used for making coats, etc., a practice strongly disapproved by the defenders of animals'  rights
l - said to be the king of the jungle (lion)
l- a wild cat gifted with a keen sight (lynx)
m - a small rodent with a liking for cheese (mouse)
m- believed to be the animal we humans come from (monkey)
p - a dirty animal, but one which makes delicious food (pig).

2 comentarios :