This activity is extremely fun and challenging, for it involves not only language skills but also managerial abilities, since students will need to control their virtual money in order to buy as many items as they can.
OBJECTIVE - To review grammar topics, vocabulary, concepts, etc; to assess reading comprehension.
AGE LEVEL- Older teenagers and adults
PROFICIENCY LEVEL - Intermediate and above
- slips of paper for students to write their bids;
- a list of sentences, definitions, concepts, questions, etc, that will be "auctioned"
- a white board or a large piece of paper with the 'count chart'.
- depending on the teacher's mathematical (lack of) abilities, a calculator will be of great help
1 – Divide the class into groups of three or four students.
2 – Give each group some slips of paper where they will write their bids.
3 – Make a chart on the board (or on a big piece of paper)to keep track of each group’s virtual money.
4 – Give each group an amount of virtual money, which will be written on the chart (see model below)
5 – Explain that they need to buy as many sentences as possible, and that the winner will be the group that has the largest number of sentences. In case of a tie, the group that has more money left wins.
6 – Prepare a set of items involving the grammar point under study. They can be related to error correction, definition of newly-acquired vocabulary items, reading comprehension, or any other possibility that occurs to you.
7 – Explain the task at hand: if you want to work with error correction, for instance, tell students that, if they want to 'buy' a sentence, they need to say whether it is correct or not, and if it is not, they need to be able to correct it. If they aren’t, they lose the money spent on that sentence. If you are 'selling' questions and they want to 'buy' one, they need to be able to answer it correctly. Likewise, they will need to define a word or expression in order to get the point.
8 – Read or show the sentence/question/word or expression and give students time to discuss and come to an agreement with their group peers. They must then write their bids on a slip of paper and show it when the teacher asks for the bids. The group with the highest bid gets to answer. If two or more groups have the same bid, the teacher needs to see each group’s answer privately and then show them to the class.
9 - The amount of money paid for an item will be deducted from the total amount, even if the answer is wrong.
10 - The winner will be the group that has bought more items. In case of a tie-up, the group that has more money left will be the winner.