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 How Big Is It?


BORROWED FROM / INSPIRED BYCard game loosely based on "War"


DATE ADDED: Feb 15, 2016


  Large Classes (16-39 Students)ÓHuge Classes (40+ Students)Ô


20-30 min.



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1. Review comparatives and explain how to form comparatives that tell "how big/tall/long".
2. Practice writing comparative sentences comparing sizes of countries and continents (Mapematics). 
3. Play a face paced card game requiring students to say comparative sentences as fast as possible.




This is a full class based on first grammar point from Lesson 9 in Landmark English Communication I. A is x times as (big/long/tall) as B. A is x/y as (big/long/tall) as B. The content is about space elevators, so I used planets for the teaching examples to open class. 

1. Draw The Earth, Mars, and the moon on the board. Review comparative sentences. "The Earth is bigger than Mars." "Mars is bigger than the moon." "The Earth is bigger than the moon". 

2. Explain how to form sentences that explain how much bigger. "The Earth is six times as big as the moon." "The Earth is three times as big as Mars". 

3. Review how to read fractions. Explain how to form the opposite comparison using fractions. "The moon is one sixth as big as Earth." "Mars is one third as big as Earth". 

4. In pairs, work through "Mapematics" worksheet, writing sentences comparing the sizes of big countries and small continents. Write the possible relations on the board (1/4, 1/3, 1/2, 1, 1.5, 2, 3, 4) so they don't waste too much time thinking. Remind them just to guess, the important part isn't the answer but making English sentences. Correct as a class. (Africa and Antarctica are bigger than many people think!)

5. Point out that you can use this pattern to compare anything, not just size. For example if you know the weight of something (kg), "as big as" becomes "as heavy as". For 円, "as expensive as". For meters in the sense of height, "as tall as" . They can put any adjective between 

6. Card game in groups of four/five. Each team gets one "deck" of cards. The students should deal out the cards as evenly as possible. When they're ready, it's "se-no-" and each student turns over a card. There are three categories (weight, price, and height) so with four students, there will be at least one pair of cards that can be compared. The fastest student to find a pair and say the correct comparison ("A cat is as half as heavy as a dog", "A bus ticket to Tokyo is ten times as expensive as dinner at Sushiro") wins that pair of cards and puts them back in their hand. The remaining cards are returned to the person who played them. When everyone's ready, next round. When one person is out, they're still allowed re-enter the game. A couple minutes before the bell rings, stop the game, and have them count their cards. The student with the most is the winner.



  • I teach at a science school, so when I explained the grammar point I also pointed out that the order is similar to how you would write the equation
     "Earth = 6 x Moon. Earth = 3 x Mars", which seemed to help some of the kids. Also, the book has different values for the relative sizes of Earth, Mars, and the moon. I chose 3 and 6 based on their relative gravity (mass), not radius or size. I guess if one wanted to be pedantic it should be "heavy" not "big".

  • Don't forget to point out exceptions. Two times is the same as twice. 1/2 is read as "one half" not "one second". Also, they'll know "quarter" from telling time, so you can remind them that they can use that in this case too, but it's "a quarter". In the case of 1 to 1, you don't need to say the number at all, just "as big as". A common mistake for fractions to watch out for is writing "times", like "Mars is one third times as big as Earth". Also, why you need "the" with moon but not Mars came up in a few classes. 

  • For the card game, I had my JTEs explain all the rules because it would take forever in English.


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