In the How Long Bingo ESL activity students practise present perfect ‘How long’ questions, while searching for specific answers.
Draw/project a 3×3 table on the board (or a large piece of paper), with a different duration or specific time in each square (e.g. two days, last year, six months, forty-five minutes). Make sure at least one of the answers is one you can elicit from a student (e.g. how long they have studied at the school).
Elicit that answer using a ‘How long have you…’ question, and cross it off on the board. Write that student’s name and the activity in question in the box as well. Explain to the students that they have to try and get three boxes in a row (all of the boxes is another variation but is usually too difficult) and then shout ‘Bingo!’.
- The students spend a few minutes completing their table with durations/specific times they think they can elicit from the class (make sure they understand this).
- When they have finished, they stand up and mingle, asking the ‘How long’ questions to the other students and crossing off a box when they receive the correct duration. Check the grammar and correct usage of the target language.
- You can stop the activity when one student has three boxes in a row, or (if this happens too quickly) extend the activity for as long as you see fit.
- The students then sit down and discuss with their partner or the students around them what they have found out, using the information in their table.
The How Long Bingo ESL activity can be used to practise either the present perfect simple (e.g. How long have you lived here?) or the present perfect continuous (e.g. How long have you been working at your current job?), as well as the appropriate use of for and since when giving information. Students should be aware that they are talking about ‘Unfinished Past’ activities.
While the grammar is suitable for most intermediate groups, the thought required to craft the right questions mean this activity usually works best with high intermediate groups. You could however simplify it for lower intermediate levels by first coming up with some questions as a class.
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