I remember Giselle Santos' workshop during Braz-tesol Technology Seminar in SP in 2015 and how excited teachers were when making their own string phones. I thought, "how can use this activity in an English Class?".
This post aims to share my first attempt of a "MAKER" activity with a group of undergraduates who are taking an English course with me. I planned it carefully, however, I have to confess I feared students would find it childish. After trying it out, I'm happy to say their reaction was rather positive.
These are the steps of the activity developed in class yesterday:
1. I prepared the plastic cups with holes and strings beforehand. (2 cups and a string)
2. In class, students were divided into groups of 3 or 4 students.
3. Each group received instructions in English (about how to make a string phone) which were out of order. Students had to read the sentences, try to understand the words and order the instructions.
4. I elicited the order of the sentences on the board and called their attention to sequence connectors.
5. Then, I asked them what the instructions were for. Many of them guessed right. I asked them to tell me what words helped them come to that conclusion.
6. At that moment, I took out the cups and strings out of a bag which I had hidden somewhere and told them we were going to play a little bit.
7. Groups followed the instructions to make their string phone and instructed to test their device by asking each other questions in English. Pairs stood up around the room and had some fun. It was nice to see that some of the students had never played with string phones and a few were pleasantly surprised at how well they work.
8. Making use of a text taken from the website Fun Science Projects for Kids, I used the site www.goconqr.com/ to create a fill in the gap activity. The text explains how string phones work scientifically speaking.
9. Each group used a piece of paper to write down their guesses for the missing words. I used my laptop and the projector to show them the sentences one by one. Finally, we corrected the answers.
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The aim of this activity was to develop reading comprehension, language awareness, speaking practice and have students play while making a physical object which they used not only during the activity, but throughout our class.