Updated 1 June 2021
When I was posting my list of the best of 2020, I noticed that a couple of the top ones were trivia quizzes and thought I should make sure that I had linked to them from my TEFLtastic Classics post on the topic. Then I realised that there never had been a TEFLtastic blog post on using trivia quizzes to teach English, even though the worksheet pages are stuffed with them. Especially with Zoom quizzes being such a big thing recently, perhaps it is about time…
The secrets to success with trivia in the English language classroom are to have one clear language point in mind and to make sure that students have a fair crack at getting the factual answer correct. The former could be grammar, vocabulary, numbers, or just cultural knowledge that they need to go abroad or be more open minded.
To make sure that they get a decent number of the actual trivia answers right, the best options are probably:
- True/ False or Yes/ No questions
- Multiple-choice questions (usually with one right and two wrong options)
- Hints if their first answer is wrong (in my classes usually a kind of warmer cooler game where they get hints like “much more”, “a little less” etc until they get exactly the right number, but also hints like some of the letters in the words)
In all of these cases, it’s best if the other students are the ones helping the person who has to answer the question (by making some of the statements false, making up the false multiple-choice options, giving each other the warmer and cooler hints, etc).
Here are some I prepared earlier (many only very slightly earlier), most of which follow those tips:
Trivia quizzes for grammar practice
How often trivia quiz (Present Simple and frequency expressions)
What places used to be called trivia quiz (used to and names of places)
Where is…? I don’t know game (personal and trivia questions to practise prepositions and names of places)
How much and how many trivia quiz (countable and uncountable, pronouncing numbers and comparing/ contrasting)
Transport in the UK trivia quiz (modals of obligation etc)
and see the next section for some comparative adjectives and related adverbs practice.
Trivia quizzes for vocabulary practice and cultural knowledge
British or American transport trivia quiz (British and American English and transport vocabulary)
British or American trivia quiz (US and UK vocabulary and cultural knowledge)
British or American food and drink trivia quiz (British and American food vocabulary)
British or American fashion trivia quiz (British and American clothes vocabulary)
Trivia quizzes to practice numbers, vocabulary, and comparing/ contrasting
Financial English numbers pairwork guessing game (fun game with numbers pronunciation practice, financial vocabulary collocations, and comparative adjective + adverb practice)
Medical numbers trivia (on onestopenglish, so subscription needed)
Other vocabulary practice through trivia quizzes
43 more timeless and infinitely adaptable TEFL activities here.