Number one for English language teachers

Pictures: Auction game

Level: Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Extra

This exercise involves students bidding on items in an auction, and is good for writing practice and discussion.

Age group: teens or adult

Level: intermediate +

Aim: writing descriptions, discussing prices and value

Resources required: Objects, pictures of objects or cards with name of an object and value cards (£1 - £50) for each item.


  1. Ask the students if they know of any auction websites. Introduce the term ‘auction’ in this context. Explain you are going to hold an auction in class.
  2. Give each student an object, picture of an object or a card with name of an object and a value card. This value must remain a secret to both the seller and the buyer until the end.
  3. Explain to the students they need to write down four ‘selling points’ for their object. Provide students with an example – e.g.

      • Boils water quickly.
      • Boils water safely.
      • Doesn’t use much electricity.
      • Saves time and money.
  4. Explain to students they each have £50 and explain they must buy at least one item.
  5. Choose a student to come to the front of the class and either hold their item or attach the picture or name of their item to the board. Ask the student to read the selling points for their item.
  6. Begin the auction! Explain to the students that the highest bidder wins the item.
  7. Once all the items have been sold, allow students to check the real value of the items they have purchased and discuss whether they had a good deal or not.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Sounds interesting, but it would be nice if a condition is given so there is a need for everyone to purchase within a given time. If not some students may just sit and not take part and wait for others to bid.

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