ESL Game Show

Whad’ Ya Know: An Awesome ESL Game

Activities Game Review
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When it comes to games in the classroom, my one rule is, “Does it generate conversation, and does it keep all the students involved in the class?” “Whad’ya Know?” is just such a game. Every student has a part to play in every turn of the game, and they are all actively involved.

You start with unusual facts, and then students try to defend their ideas of what is the correct answer. The game is not perfect, but it is one of the best non-ESL games that I’ve found that can be geared to work perfectly for an English as a Second Language conversation starter. Read on to find out more about it.

Whad’ Ya Know

This game is based on a popular radio game show on NPR. The name of the show is “Whad’ Ya Know.” While the game isn’t meant for ESL, some prior prep from the teacher can make it an excellent game to involve the whole class in discussion and a little English as a Second Language persuasion.

  • Overall Rank: 4 out of 5 Apples
  • Product Description: A Party Card Game
  • Best Price: Amazon
  • Product Specifications: Game including Question cards, A. B, C answer cards, Chips for points, Bobble-Head, and loads of ESL Fun
  • Pros: An excellent way to involve the whole class in real language usage.
  • Cons: Many of the questions are way beyond the common ESL student’s knowledge.

Game Play

The premise is simple. You start with a question that has three multiple choice answers to it. There is one host who is running the turn. His/ her job is to control the game by asking audience members to try to convince the contestants that theirs is the correct answer. The audience members must give their answer first. They then proceed to try to convince the two contestants that theirs is the correct answer. The contestants must listen to the audience members, and they can change their answers before revealing them if they are convinced that the audience members were correct.

smart student

The game begins with the host first reading a question: (My favorite one) “Which country changes their underwear the most?” Is it? A. France B. Spain or C. Germany Depending on the level of the class, you might have to write the answers to some of the questions on the board.

The host then tells the audience members to reveal their answer cards. For this question, you will usually have a wide smattering of answers. The audience members are then called on one by one to try to convince the contestants that they are correct. Students get so inventive with trying to pretend that they know the answer. One example is: “I was watching a special on TV on this very subject. The answer is definitely A because scientists say…”

After the audience members have each had a chance to reveal their reasoning, the contestants then make a decision. If they both guess the same incorrect answer, then it is assumed that the audience member did an excellent job at convincing them, and they get a point. They also get points for being correct, of course. The host doesn’t get any points, but each turn, there is a new host and two new contestants. Everyone left is an audience member. By the time the class is done, every student should have had a chance to be the host. The winner is the person who has collected the most chips (points).


This game includes all the students, and it makes it very interactive. Everybody has a chance to contribute and have fun. My students used to bet on the losers buying ice cream for the class. The questions cover all sorts of topics, from science to people to world facts.

The best thing is they are things that people seldom think of: Who is more intelligent, near-sighted or far-sighted people? The game is packed with questions that you will find fun too. You can also use this with your friends and play it with native English speakers.

And the bobblehead makes the game even more interesting. Tell them that only the host can play with the bobblehead! The nice thing about this game is that the host changes every turn, and they lead the class during that turn. You might have to add some explanation or prodding. But you should try to let the students lead it as best they can.


Because the game is made for native English speakers, there are a lot of cards that students will have a hard time comprehending much less answering. I did have to go through and sort out the difficult questions. This is not made for lower-level classes, but if you sort through the cards, you will find enough questions that you can play it multiple times with an intermediate or high-level class and not run out of question cards.

I Loved It So Much I Bought It Twice

I used this game every semester, and I left it in my room over a class break. When we came back from the break, the game was gone, and I was devastated. I searched online and found it again on Amazon. I was in another country, so I had to have it shipped to my folk’s house, but I still have the second one I bought.

I would recommend buying this one, especially if you have classes with at least four students. You will have to play with how you set up the class ad how you want to play the game. There are three ways to win, but I found that the double points made the game to lop-sided, so I only had two ways to win.

Which country changes their underwear the most? I can’t reveal any secrets from the game, but I can say that you will have fun watching your students try to explain why their answer is correct.

Teach Hard! Play Hard! And remember that Teaching English is Fun!


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