Recently, when I wanted a quick Spanish information gap activity, I created a game called Name that Card. Information gap activities are partner activities in which each student has part of the information they need to accomplish a task. If you are not familiar with the concept, you can read more about information gap activities here.
My class time is short, so I wanted a Spanish information gap activity that was quick to get underway. Many of these activities are based on drawing pictures and describing them, but drawing takes time. I also wanted an activity I could adapt to any theme and use at different levels.
With these ideas in mind, I sat down with a colleague, and we worked out a Spanish information gap activity that uses picture cards (or playing cards for numbers). Name That Card is based on luck, and kids love it!
How to Play the Spanish Information Gap Game
Object of the game
- Players try to determine which card is face down.
- 9 picture cards. (You can also play with 11 cards. Each hand will have 5 cards). For practicing numbers, you can use playing cards 1-9.
- A word list of the cards or a duplicate set of pictures to use as reference.
- Place the reference word list or set of pictures where both players can see it. Teachers may want to put them on the board.
- Place the cards on the table face down and mix them up.
- Each player takes 4 cards. They do not show each other their cards.
- The last card remains face down on the table. This is the card the players are trying to guess.
- Player A begins by asking her opponent about a card that is not in her hand. For example, Do you have an elephant? (Players can check the reference word list or pictures to remind themselves of what is not in their hand. They ask about those items.)
- If Player B has the card, she answers yes and puts the card on the table face up.
- Then, it is Player B’s turn to ask about a card that is not in her hand. Players continue to alternate asking questions.
- At any point, when a player asks a question and her opponent answers no, she has discovered the mystery card.
- The player who asked the question states what the mystery card is and turns it over to verify that she is correct. The player who asked the question receives one point.
- Players mix the cards face down on the table and begin again.
- The first player to 5 points wins.
- If there are an odd number of students, two students play as a team.
Adding Language with Context
It is easy to enhance the language in this Spanish information gap game by creating a context and task related to the picture cards. Give students an example of the question they will ask.
- With animal cards, the task could be to discover which animal stays in the barn. Students can draw an outline of a barn where they put the mystery card. Rather than asking, Do you have the cow? they ask Does the cow leave the barn?.
If the player has a cow in her hand, she answers Yes, the cow leaves the barn and puts it on the table. If she does not have the cow, she answers No, the cow doesn’t leave the barn, and the player who asked the question gets a point.
- With food vocabulary, the task could be to discover which item they did not buy. The question could be Did you buy the (the apples)?
- With family vocabulary, the task could be to discover who stayed home and did not go on a trip to Madrid. Students can draw an outline of a house and put the mystery card there. They could ask, Did (the uncle) go to Madrid?
Adding Language by Describing the Cards
You can also add language by having students describe the pictures on the cards. For example, this snowman activity has 12 different pictures. The pictures could be cut into cards, or you can create a similar set.
Students would ask, for example, Do you have the tall snowman with a carrot nose and 6 buttons? Remember, students must be able to see a set of pictures as a reference.
You can adapt this Spanish information gap in many ways. Let us know how you play Name That Card in your class.