Past Simple Wh Questions - ESL Activities, Games and Worksheets

Do you remember?

ESL Past Simple Wh Questions Activity - Writing, Listening and Speaking - Elementary - 30 minutes

This insightful past simple questions activity helps lower-level students to practice 'Wh' questions and time expressions in the past. Each student is given a copy of the worksheet. The students go around the class asking their classmates 'When did you last...?' questions from the worksheet. When a student speaks to a classmate, they also ask for their name and then ask some past simple 'Wh' follow-up questions to find out more information. When everyone has finished, students give feedback to the rest of the class on what they found out.
 

My Last Holiday

ESL  Past Simple Wh Questions Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Elementary - 45 minutes

In this engaging past simple questions activity, students take part in a running dictation about someone's holiday. The students then ask and answer past simple 'Wh' questions about their last holiday. The teacher begins by sticking a running dictation text onto a wall outside the classroom. The students are put into pairs, one student is the 'writer' and the other is the 'reader'. The readers run to the text, read it, and then return and dictate what they read to their partner. When they have finished, the students check their text. Next, each student is given a copy of the worksheet. Students use the prompts on their worksheet to create past simple questions about holidays. Students then use the questions to write notes about their own holiday in a chart on their worksheet. After that, they ask three other students about their last holiday and complete the other columns in the chart. As a follow-up, the students write a paragraph about their last holiday using the past simple.
 

The Past and Present

ESL  Past Simple Wh Questions Activity - Writing and Speaking - Elementary - 30 minutes

In this enjoyable worksheet activity, students use the past and present simple to ask about a partner's habits as a child and now. The students are divided into pairs and each student is given a copy of the worksheet. Each topic on the worksheet contains three questions. The first two questions deal with the past. Students ask a past simple yes/no question and then a past simple 'Wh' question to find out information about their partner's childhood. The third question is a present simple 'Wh' question to find out information about their partner's habits now. Students interview their partner about their childhood and present habits and write the answers on the worksheet. When everyone has finished, the students tell the class what they found out about their partner.
 

When was the last time...?

ESL  Past Simple Wh Questions Activity - Writing and Speaking - Elementary - 30 minutes

Here is a useful worksheet activity to help teach students how to ask and answer past simple 'Wh' questions. In the activity, students interview each other about things they did in the past. The students are divided into pairs (A and B) and each student is given a corresponding worksheet. Individually, students use the verbs, picture prompts and question words to write down past simple 'Wh' questions on their worksheet. The students then take it in turns to ask and answer the questions with their partner about the last time they did the things on their worksheet. When they have finished, the students tell the class what they found out about their partner.
 

Where did they go?

ESL  Past Simple Wh Questions Activity - Reading and Speaking - Elementary - 25 minutes

In this past simple questions activity, students ask and answer 'Wh' questions in order to complete missing information in a chart. The students are divided into pairs (A and B) and each student is given a corresponding worksheet. The students take it in turns to use the prompts on their worksheet to ask past simple 'Wh' questions to their partner. The students then write the missing information in the chart. When the students have finished, they compare charts to check their answers.
 

Your Last Holiday

ESL  Past Simple Wh Questions Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Elementary - 30 minutes

In this compelling past simple questions activity, students use 'Wh' questions to find out about a classmate's last holiday. The students are divided into pairs (A and B) and each student is given a corresponding worksheet. The students begin by creating past simple questions from the prompts on their worksheet. Students then answer the questions by completing information about their last holiday in the column marked 'Me'. After that, the students ask and answer the past simple questions and complete the chart with information about their partner’s previous holiday. When everyone has finished, students tell the class about their partner’s last holiday.
 

Past Simple Question Time

ESL  Past Simple Wh Questions Game - Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate - 25 minutes

Here is a fun past simple questions game to play in class. Students play the game in groups. Each player is given a question card, containing ten different question words. Each group is also given a set of answer cards. The aim of the game is to make past simple 'Wh' questions that elicit certain words or phrases written on the answer cards. One student takes an answer card and reads it aloud. The players in the group then race to make a past simple 'Wh' question using a question word from their card to elicit the word or phrase read out. The first player to do this correctly takes the answer card and crosses off the question word on their card. Then, it's the next student’s turn to take an answer card and read it aloud. The first player to cross off all their question words wins the game.
 

Roll of the Dice

ESL  Past Simple Wh Questions Game - Reading, Listening and Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate - 25 minutes

In this entertaining past simple questions game, students try to answer all their opponent's questions correctly. The class is divided into pairs (A and B). Each student is given a corresponding part of the worksheet and each pair is given two dice. Student B begins by rolling the dice and adding up the numbers rolled. Student A then formulates the past simple question that corresponds to the number on their worksheet. For example, if Student B rolls a two, Student A asks question two on their worksheet, i.e. 'What did you wear yesterday?' If Student B answers correctly, Student A crosses off the question. If Student B makes a grammatical mistake or is unable to answer appropriately in the form of a sentence, the question remains active and can be asked again, depending on the number rolled. This process continues with students taking it in turns to roll the dice and ask and answer questions. The first student to correctly answer all their partner's questions wins the game.
 

The First Time

EFL  Past Simple Wh Questions Activity - Reading, Writing and Speaking - Pre-intermediate - 45 minutes

This intriguing past simple questions activity helps to teach students how to ask 'Wh' questions and use the past simple tense with time expressions to talk about experiences earlier in life. The questions are designed to jog students’ memories about events in the past so it is more appropriate for older students. The students are divided into pairs (A and B) and each student is given a corresponding worksheet. Students take it in turns to ask each other 'When was the first time...?' questions from the worksheet. Students write down their partner's response and then ask past simple 'Wh' follow-up questions to develop a conversation about each event. When the students have finished, they tell the class what they found out about their partner. As an extension, students write a short biographical account about their partner's experiences. These can be read to the class.
 

The Honeymoon

ESL  Past Simple Wh Questions Activity - Reading, Writing and Speaking - Pre-intermediate - 30 minutes

This past simple questions activity is ideal for pre-intermediate students. The class is divided into two groups (A and B) and each student is given a corresponding worksheet. Working together with the people in their group, students write down the past simple 'Wh' questions they need to find out the missing information in the text on their worksheet. Students then pair up with someone from the other group. The students take it in turns to ask and answer questions in numerical order to find out the missing information. The students write the information in the blank spaces in the text on their worksheet. When the students have asked all their questions, they check their answers and spelling by comparing texts.
 

Where did you go on holiday?

ESL  Past Simple Wh Questions Activity - Reading and Writing - Pre-intermediate - 25 minutes

This rewarding past simple questions activity helps students ask and answer questions about their last holiday. The students are divided into pairs and each student is given a copy of the worksheet. The pairs begin by reading a conversation about Julia Robert's last holiday. Then, working alone, students change the underlined parts of the dialogue with information about their last holiday. Students also add four more past simple 'Wh' follow-up questions and answers to the conversation from a list on their worksheet. The students then practice the new dialogue with their partner and present it to the class.
 

Where were you...?

ESL  Past Simple Wh Questions Activity - Reading, Writing and Speaking - Pre-intermediate - 30 minutes

In this past simple questions activity, students interview each other about their whereabouts at certain times in the past. The students are divided into pairs (A and B) and each student is given a corresponding worksheet. The students take it in turns to interview each other about where they were at certain times in the past by asking 'Where were you…?' questions from their worksheet. Students note down their partner's answers on the worksheet and ask past simple follow-up questions to gain as much information as possible. When the students have finished, they tell the class what they found out. After that, students write past simple sentences about their partner’s whereabouts at the listed times.
 

Do you remember?

ESL  Past Simple Wh Questions Activity - Writing, Listening and Speaking - Low intermediate - 30 minutes

Here is a past simple questions worksheet activity to help higher-level students ask questions and talk about past events. In the activity, students go around the class asking and answering 'When did you last...?' questions. The students also practice asking for additional information by asking past simple 'Wh' follow-up questions. When the students have finished, they share what they found out with the class.
 

Leonardo DiCaprio

ESL  Past Simple Wh Questions Activity - Reading, Writing and Speaking Activity - Intermediate - 45 minutes

In this challenging past simple questions activity, students write and then ask 'Wh' questions in order to complete a text about Leonardo DiCaprio's life. The class is split into two groups (A and B) and each student is given a corresponding worksheet. The students are told that they are going to read some information about Leonardo DiCaprio's life. However, some of the details are missing from the text. Working together, the students write down the ten past simple 'Wh' questions they need to find out the missing details from the text. When the students have finished writing questions, they work with a partner from the other group. Student A and B sit facing one another. Student A goes first and asks Student B the first question on their worksheet. After that, the students take it in turns to ask and answer questions in numerical order to find out the information missing from their own text. The students write the information in the blank spaces in the text on their worksheet. When they have finished exchanging information, the pairs check their work by comparing texts.
 

What did you do?

ESL  Past Simple Wh Questions Game - Speaking Activity - Intermediate - 35 minutes

Here is an engaging past simple questions game to help students practice asking and answering 'Wh' questions. Two team leaders are chosen and each leader is given a worksheet containing a list of past simple verbs. The leaders stand at opposite sides of the room with the rest of the class in the middle. The two team leaders take it in turns to secretly choose a past simple verb from the list. The leader then thinks of a past simple 'Wh' question that will elicit a response using the chosen verb. The question is not allowed to contain any form of that verb. The leader then asks the past simple question to one of the students in the middle of the class. If the student answers using the verb in the past simple tense, the student comes over to the leader and joins their team. Every time a student joins a team, they become the new team leader. The new and old leaders then work together to think of the next question. The teams take it in turns to play until there are no more students left in the middle of the room. The team with the most members at the end of the game wins.
 
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