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Pet Bottle Debate


SUBMITTED BY: Kirsten Phillips



GRAMMAR: Review Game (grade 2/3)


DATE ADDED: April 13, 2008




30-50 min.

3 Votes: 1.5 Stars

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BRIEF OUTLINE: A fun debate game aimed at late 2nd-3rd graders for reviewing overall grammer, particularly 'X is bigger than Y', 'has' and 'can'. I like to encourage creative thinking and competition and this game really brings it out. Great for after a test!



  • Empty pet bottle or plastic microphone
  • Scratch/note paper for every student
  • Dictionaries
  • Stopwatch



  1. As always, a brief grammer review is necessary before beginning. Students can easily select their opinion if posed with "Which" but this game begs the question: "Why?"
  2. Present the theme to the class using a popular/simple example. They must ALL be familiar with the theme. I used anime characters "Hello Kitty vs Doraemon" to start but feel free to use anything you like.
  3. Divide the chalkboard in half and designate one side X and one side Y. Put up visuals if you have them to entice imagination. Give students a few seconds to decide which team they are on and then have them move to their respective side of the room, bringing their pencil and paper with them. If you have an uneven class or one side has more devotees than the other, try to encourage a few kids to even out the field on the other side.
  4. Explain that they have 10-15 minutes to work together and write down reasons why their side is better than the other. Suggest simple grammer models such as: "X is ___er than Y." or stress abilities such as "X can ______better than Y." or special attributes such as "X has more _____than Y." They may use their textbook or dictionary. You and the JTE should walk around and give suggestions when needed.
  5. At the end of the prep time, the teams will push their desks to one side of the room and form 2 neat opposing lines in the center, facing eachother. Have one member from each team janken to decide who goes first. State the time limit, start the stopwatch and yell "GO!". The starting member will hold the empty pet bottle and quickly say one reason. Then they will pass it to the opposing team. They will do this back and forth until you call TIME with the stopwatch (using an egg timer will cause some righteous tension). The time limit you set is up to you but try to make it ample enough to get the pet bottle in every students' hands. Depending on class size, 5 minutes should be just enough.
  6. The team holding the bottle at the end of the time is the loser.
  7. The prize for the winning team is they get to vote on a penalty the losing team must perform together. I usually give them a choice between singing a nursery song or making a coughing noise, a crying face, whispering the name of a pop star they like or secret crush, Kojima Yoshio impression, etc. It's up to you. I really enjoy performing the penalty with the losing team so they get encouraged and everyone has a laugh.



  • Theme Variations:
    • Seasons: winter vs summer
    • Hobbies: reading vs listening to music
    • Places: city vs country
    • Student Life: strict study vs albeit
    • Holidays: hanami vs shogatsu
    • Hobbies: 'watching sports' vs 'doing sports'
  • For older/shyer kids, instead of passing the bottle, you may just have each team sit and state their arguments while you and the JTE write them down on the chalkboard. This method allows more focus on the language and can be excellent for introducing new vocabulary as well as avoiding repeats although it won't necessarily allow for every student's participation though you should encourage this nonetheless. After one team states all their arguments, go to the next team and write down their arguments. At the end, make a tally for each and give the short-handed side a chance to come up with more. Do this until you run out of time or the white flag goes up. This decides the winner.



  • For the first round, allow students to bring their debate papers to the line with them. For a 2nd round however, tell students they must not bring their papers but try to remember their arguments. Also, you can shorten the time limit.



  • Please give some thought to what topic you decide to use depending on the character of your class. For example, the Kitty/Doraemon scenario will often reflect a stark gender divide.
  • The pet bottle version will often get kids very riled and panicky but try to stress quiet (or whispered cheering) so that every argument can be heard! If necessary, repeat each argument in a loud voice so everyone can hear it.

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This page was last modified on Thursday, March 08, 2012 06:44:44 PM