Carol Read presents her first instalment of ten activities suitable to use with any pack of Top Trumps cards. The activities are available to all onestopenglish users.

In the instructions for each activity, the examples given refer to the Top Trumps pack ‘Baby animals’, which is available in a special cut-out-and-keep format to onestopenglish subscribers.

### 1. Top Trumps

Organization: pairs, groups
Language focus: vocabulary relating to pack of cards chosen, numbers, I’ve got …, It scores …, The highest / best is …
Materials:any pack of Top Trumps cards (one for each pair or group)

## Procedure

1. Divide the class into pairs or groups of 3-6.
2. Give one pack of cards to each pair or group.
3. Check children understand the names of the items on all the cards and can pronounce them correctly.
4. Elicit or pre-teach the meaning of the statistical categories on the cards. Include any additional information or explanations given with the pack of cards you have chosen as necessary.
5. Explain and demonstrate the game with one pair or group. One child deals all 30 cards face down equally between themselves and their partner or the group. Children hold their cards face up in a pack and look at their first card only. Children must not let their partner or other members of the group see their cards. The child to go first chooses the ‘best’ statistic (usually the highest) from their first card and says, e.g. I’ve got a white tiger. A white tiger scores 25 for mischief. Their partner or other members of the group take turns to read out the same statistic from their cards, e.g. I’ve got a giraffe. A giraffe scores 15 for mischief. The child with the best or highest value for the statistic chosen wins. This child collects the first card from their partner, or from all the other members of the group, and places them, including their own first card, at the bottom of their own pile. The child who wins also chooses the statistic on the next card face up in their pack for the next round of the game, e.g. I’ve got a rabbit. A rabbit scores 10 for independence. During a round of the game, if 2 or more cards ‘tie’, or no data is available for that particular statistic, then all the cards are placed in the middle and the same child chooses again from their next card. The winner of this round of the game also takes the cards that were placed in the middle. The first child to hold all 30 cards is the winner of the game!
6. Children play the game. Monitor discreetly that children are doing this correctly.
7. At the end of the game, ask children to report back to the class on any of the highest statistics on the cards they find particularly interesting or surprising.

### 2. Go for low!

Organization: pairs, groups
Language focus: vocabulary relating to pack of cards chosen, numbers, I’ve got …, It scores …, The lowest is …
Materials:any pack of Top Trumps cards (one for each pair or group)
Note: This is an alternative version of 1. Top Trumps. Children can use the same pack of cards to play both versions. This will also familiarize them with the language on the pack of cards you have chosen.

## Procedure

1. Divide the class into pairs or groups of 3-6.
2. Give one pack of cards to each pair or group.
3. Check children understand the names of the items on all the cards and can pronounce them correctly.
4. Elicit or pre-teach the meaning of the statistical categories on the cards. Include any additional information or explanations given with the pack of cards you have chosen as necessary.
5. Explain and demonstrate the game with one pair or group. One child deals all 30 cards face down equally between their partner and themselves or the group. Children hold their cards face up in a pack and look at their first card only. Children must not let their partner or other members of the group see their cards. The child to go first chooses the lowest statistic from their first card and says, e.g. I’ve got a grizzly bear. A grizzly bear scores 2 for cuteness. Their partner or other members of the group take turns to read out the same statistic from their cards, e.g. I’ve got a duck. A duck scores 5 for cuteness. The child with the lowest value for the statistic chosen wins. This child collects the first card from their partner or from all the other members of the group and places them, including their own first card, to the bottom of their own pile. The child who wins also chooses the statistic on the next card face up in their pack for the next round of the game, e.g. I’ve got a gorilla. It scores 3 for independence. During a round of the game, if 2 or more cards ‘tie’, or no data is available for that particular statistic, then all the cards are placed in the middle and the same child chooses again from their next card. The winner of this round also takes the cards that were placed in the middle. The first child to hold all 30 cards is the winner of the game!
6. Children play the game. Monitor discreetly that children are doing this correctly.
7. At the end of the game, ask children to report back on any of the lowest statistics they find particularly interesting or surprising.

### 3. Team guessing game

Organization: whole class (two teams)
Language focus: vocabulary relating to the pack of cards chosen, numbers, present or past simple, I think it’s a … / Yes, it is. / No, it isn’t.
Materials:selection of cards from any Top Trumps pack (the more cards you include, the longer the game)

## Procedure

1. Show or project images of the cards you have chosen to use in the activity. Elicit or pre-teach the names of each one.
2. Write a list of the words on the board for children to be able to refer to during the activity.
3. Divide the class into two teams.
4. Explain the statistical categories on the cards.
5. Explain and demonstrate the game. Choose one card and tell children statistical facts without naming the item on the card, e.g. It spends 12 months in its mummy’s tummy. It weighs 10 kilos at birth. It scores 10 for independence.

Explain that children from either team should raise their hands and say Stop! as soon as they think they can guess the animal on the card. Each team has three chances only to guess correctly, e.g. I think it’s a hippopotamus! / Good guess but no, it isn’t. / I think it’s a seal! Yes, you’re right!

The team who guesses correctly each time wins the card. The team with most cards at the end of the game is the winner.

### 4. Who am I?

Organization: whole class, groups
Language focus: vocabulary relating to pack of cards chosen, numbers, present simple, I’m …, I’ve got …, My score for … is …, Who am I? Are you a …? Yes, I am. / No, I’m not.
Materials:selection of cards from any Top Trumps pack (one for each child)

## Procedure

1. Choose a card to demonstrate the activity. For example, say I’m brown. I’ve got fur. I weigh half a kilo at birth. My score for cuteness is 2. Who am I? Encourage children to guess, e.g. Are you a gorilla? No, I’m not. Are you a grizzly bear? Yes, I am.
2. Divide the class into groups of 4-6 children.
3. Give each child a card. Ask children to keep their cards ‘secret’ from other members of their group.
4. Ask children to use the information on the cards to prepare 3-4 sentences to say in the game following your example. Give them a few moments to do this and be ready to help as necessary. If you like, you can ask children to write their sentences.
5. Explain and demonstrate that children should take turns to say the sentences they have prepared to their group and guess the items on the cards.
6. At the end, ask children to briefly report back on any interesting facts or statistics that they learnt in the activity.

### 5. Interesting fact chains

Organization: groups
Language focus: vocabulary relating to pack of cards chosen, numbers, present or past simple 3rd person
Materials:selection of 8-12 cards from any Top Trumps pack (one set for each group)

## Procedure

1. Divide the class into groups of 4-6 children.
2. Give two Top Trumps cards to each child in all the groups.
3. Explain the statistical categories on the cards and pre-teach any key vocabulary.
4. Ask children to work individually, read the information on the cards they have got and identify one or two interesting facts about each one. Give children time to do this and be ready to help as necessary.
5. Explain and demonstrate that one child should say a sentence with an interesting fact from one of their cards, e.g. A rhinoceros weighs 70 kilos at birth. The next child should repeat the sentence and add another sentence with an interesting fact of their own, e.g. A rhinoceros weighs 70 kilos at birth. Elephants are the world’s largest land mammal, and so on round the group. If a child can’t remember a sentence, they say Help! and other members of the group remind them of the sentence. Ask the children to try and make their ‘interesting fact chains’ as long as they can.
6. At the end, ask the groups to take turns to report back on how many interesting facts they had in their chains and the most interest facts they learnt during the activity.

### 6. Sort into sets

Organization: pairs, groups
Language focus: vocabulary relating to pack of cards chosen, numbers, present simple, We’ve got … in a group because … / They all / both are … / have … / can … / score … for …
Materials:any pack of Top Trumps cards (one for each pair or group)

## Procedure

1. Divide the class into pairs or groups of 3-4 children.
2. Give a pack of Top Trumps cards to each pair or group.
3. Explain that the aim of the activity is to sort the items on the cards into sets according to criteria or features which are the same.
4. Explain that children can choose any criteria they like and that it is up to them how many cards are in each set. Give one or two examples from the pack of cards you are using to demonstrate what you mean, e.g. The owl, the duck, the ostrich and the chicken are born from eggs. / The lion, white tiger, squirrel monkey and polar bear score 7 for independence.
5. Children work in their groups. They sort the cards and arrange them in sets on their desks according to criteria that they choose. Give children time to do this and be ready to help and advise as necessary.
6. Ask the groups to take turns to report back on the different ways they have sorted the cards, e.g. We’ve got the cow, the gorilla, the giraffe, the goat and the guinea pig in a group because they all score 3 for cuteness. Be willing to accept criteria which come from the statistics and information on the cards as well as children’s personal opinions and knowledge of the world, e.g. We’ve got the white tiger, the lion, the grizzly bear and rhinoceros in a group because they are dangerous. / We’ve got the guinea pig, the cat, the dog and the rabbit in a group because we’d like these animals as a pet. Keep a note of the criteria the children use to sort the cards on the board as they report back.
7. At the end of the activity, count up how many different criteria the children have come up with and ask if they can add any others.
8. As a follow-up activity, you may like to ask the children to make a poster with sentences and pictures to show how they have sorted the cards. These can then be displayed in the classroom.

### 7. Top Trumps quiz

Organization: whole class, pairs
Language focus: vocabulary relating to pack of cards chosen, numbers, Wh-questions, present or past simple questions and answers
Materials: selection of 10-20 cards (depending on the size of the class) from any Top Trumps pack (one card for each pair); strips of paper

## Procedure

1. Explain to the children that they are going to write questions and do a quiz based on a selection of cards from a Top Trumps pack.
2. Divide the class into pairs. Give one Top Trumps card and a strip of paper to each pair.
3. Give a number to each pair. Ask one child in each pair to write this on the left of the strip of paper.
4. Ask the pairs to read the statistics and information on their card and to  prepare and write a question for the quiz on the strip of paper. Give a few examples and revise or practise possible question forms as necessary before they do this, e.g. How much does a zebra weigh at birth? / How long does a baby elephant stay in its mummy’s tummy? / What’s the deer’s score for independence?
5. Children work with their partner and prepare and write their question for the quiz. Be ready to monitor and help as necessary. Make sure the children’s questions are legible.
6. Collect in all the questions. Stick them in numerical order at a child-friendly height in different places on the board.
7. Collect in all the Top Trumps cards. Stick them in random order at a child-friendly height on different walls around the classroom.
8. Ask the pairs to write numbers for the answers to the questions in the quiz in a column on the left of a page in their notebooks.
9. Explain that the aim of the activity is for children to read and find the answers to all the questions in the quiz as fast as they can.
10. Demonstrate that first children go to the board and read one of the questions (they don’t need to do this in order). Then they look for the relevant card, find the answer to the question and write it by the correct number in their notebooks.
11. When everyone has finished, check the answers to all the questions in the quiz with the whole class.
12. Ask children to briefly comment on which questions in the quiz they found easy / difficult / most interesting.

### 8. Memory

Organization: pairs
Language focus: vocabulary relating to pack of cards chosen, It’s a … / This isn’t a … / This is a … too
Materials: 15 pairs of cards from any Top Trumps pack (one set for each pair)

## Procedure

1. Check children understand and can name all 15 items in the photos on the cards.
2. Divide the class into pairs.
3. Give a set of cards to each pair.
4. Explain and demonstrate the game with one pair. Arrange all the cards face down in random order on the desk.
5. Invite a child to turn over one of the cards and name the item, e.g. It’s a goat. Invite them to turn over a second card and say, e.g. This is a goat too or This isn’t a goat. It’s a llama. If the cards match, the child keeps them and has the next turn. If they don’t match, the child turns the cards face down again and their partner has the next turn. The winner is the child who has most pairs of cards at the end of the game.

### 9. Trumps!

Organization: pairs
Language focus: vocabulary relating to pack of cards chosen, Trumps!
Materials:15 pairs of cards from any Top Trumps pack (one set for each pair)

## Procedure

1. Check children understand and can name all 15 items in the photos on the cards.
2. Divide the class into pairs.
3. Give a set of cards to each pair.
4. Explain and demonstrate the game (a version of the traditional game ‘Snap!’) with one pair. One child shuffles and deals the cards. Children hold their cards face down in a pack. Children take turns to lay their cards face up on the table and name what’s on the card, e.g. (It’s a) guinea pig. As soon as the children have a pair of cards that match, they say Trumps! as fast as they can. The first child to say Trumps! wins the pair of cards. The winner is the child who has most pairs of cards at the end of the game.