Numbers - ESL Activities, Games and Worksheets

Sum it up

ESL Reading, Listening, Writing and Spelling Activity - Beginner - 20 minutes

In this enjoyable activity, students complete a number crossword by doing sums. The students are divided into pairs (A and B) and each student is given a corresponding worksheet. Both students have the same crossword, but Student A has the words across and Student B has the words down. Their task is to ask their partner for clues and complete sums to work out the missing numbers on their crossword and spell the numbers correctly. Students take it in turns to ask their partner for a clue to one of the missing numbers on their crossword, e.g. 'What's 1 down?' Their partner then reads the sum that corresponds to that number on their worksheet. The other student does the sum to find out the number. When the student has the answer, they spell the number. If the spelling is correct, the student writes the number on their crossword. If not, the student must try to spell the number again until they get it right. When the students have finished, they compare their answers.
 

Can I check your phone number?

ESL Reading, Listening and Speaking Activity - Elementary - 20 minutes

In this group speaking activity, students check and correct phone numbers by asking and answering questions. This activity is useful for practicing numbers 0 to 9. The students are divided into groups of eight and each student is given a card. The students assume the identity of the person whose name and phone number is at the top of their card. The other names and phone numbers on their card are the other students in their group, but each phone number is wrong. The students' task is to speak to each person in their group and correct their phone number by asking and answering questions. Students stand up and go around their group, speaking to each classmate in turn. When a student speaks to another classmate, the student asks for their name and checks the phone number next to the name on their card. Their classmate then gives the student the correct phone number. The student confirms the number back to their classmate and corrects the phone number on their card. When the students have finished, they compare cards with a partner to make sure they have the same corrected phone numbers.
 

Mathematical Bingo

ESL Listening, Writing, Matching and Speaking Activity - Elementary - 25 minutes

In this entertaining activity, students play bingo by completing sums and matching the answers to numbers on a bingo card. After practicing some basic add and subtract sums, the students are told that they are going to play bingo to practice numbers 0 to 50. However, instead of just listening for numbers, students have to work out the numbers from sums. Each student is given a bingo card. You or a student then reads out a sum at random from a caller's sheet and puts a tick next to the sum to show it has been read out. All the students then do the sum. If a student has the answer on their bingo card, they cross the number out. When a student has crossed out all nine numbers, they shout Bingo! The student then reads out the numbers they crossed off. If they match with the numbers that were ticked on the caller's sheet, the student wins the game. Students repeat the game a few times using a different bingo card each time. If you have a large class or want to give students more practice with the numbers, have the students play the game in groups of four with students taking it in turns to be the bingo caller.
 

Confusing Numbers

ESL Reading, Listening, Speaking and Pronunciation Activity - Pre-intermediate - 25 minutes

In this challenging activity, students practice saying large numbers ending with 'teen' and 'ty'. The class is divided into groups of three and each group is given a set of cards for Game A. The student with 'start' on their card begins by saying the number indicated in the 'Say' column next to 'start'. The other students listen carefully and try to find the number in the 'Hear' column on their card. This can be quite challenging as the numbers have a very similar sound, e.g. 118 and 180. So, the students need to pay particular attention to how they pronounce the numbers. If a student sees a matching number in the 'Hear' column, they say the corresponding number in the 'Say' column for the other students to recognise. The turn then passes from student to student until they reach the finish. When the students have finished, the cards for Game B are distributed. The groups then repeat the activity with the new game cards.
 

Numbers Quiz

ESL Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate - 30 minutes

In this fun class activity, students dictate and write down large numbers and then use the numbers to complete a quiz. Each student is given a number card. The students memorize the number on their card and then hand the card back. Each student then writes numbers 1 to 16 on a piece of paper. Students then go around the class telling each other their numbers. The students listen to their classmates' numbers and write them on the piece of paper. When the students have written down all 15 numbers, they sit down and add their number at the end. The students are then divided into pairs and they compare numbers with their partner. After the numbers have been checked, each pair is given a copy of the worksheet. Working together, the students try to match the numbers with the facts on the worksheet and write their answers in the spaces provided. When the students have finished, the correct answers are elicited from the class. Pairs score one point for each correct answer. The pair with the most points wins.
 

The Population Game

ESL Listening and Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate - 30 minutes

In this rewarding activity, students play a game where they guess the exact population of a country by asking 'Are there more/less than...?' questions. The students are divided into groups of four. Each group is given a set of cards, which they shuffle and place face down in a pile on the desk. One student picks up a card and tells the group the name of the country on the card, e.g. Brunei. The group members then take it in turns to ask a question to the student to determine the exact population of the country. They do this by asking 'Are there...?' questions with 'more than' and 'less than', e.g. 'Are there more than one million people living in Brunei?' The student with the card answers 'Yes, there are' or 'No, there aren't', according to the number written on the card. If a group member receives a 'yes' answer, they ask another question. If the answer is 'no', play passes to the next student. This continues until a group member has established the exact population on their turn. When this happens, the student asks an 'Are there...?' question about the exact population size, e.g. 'Are there 422,500 people living in Brunei?' to which the student with the card replies 'Yes, there are'. That student wins the round and keeps the card. Then, the next student picks up a card and so on. The game continues until all the cards have been used. The student with the most cards at the end of the game wins.
 
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