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EFL - ESL activities and games for teaching question words

You can use the ideas here as an A2 level ESL lesson plan for teaching question words. It contains ideas for classroom activities and games, along with a list of free related ESL resources from around the web.

Lead-in activity

The board work below can be used to highlight the functional uses of different question words. Start by adding the question mark and functional uses to the centre and outside of the board. Then elicit the different question words from the students. If you need to bring these materials into the classroom for reference, the TEFL Handbook app gives you offline access to all of the ESL resources on this site, plus a lot more.

EFL - ESL Lead-in activity for questions words | Elementary

ESL classroom activities to teach question words

Question gap-fill

A grammar activity where students have to select the correct question word to complete the sentence.

Start by adding the following prompts to the board.

1. _____ cousins have you got?
2. _____ do you travel to school with?
3. _____ does it cost?
4. _____ do you get to school?
5. _____ are you? (age)
6. _____ do you live?
7. _____ do you practise sports?
8. _____ do you like to do in your free time?
9. _____ are you going to the concert with?
10. _____ do you want to go there?
11. _____ rice do you want?

The students will then complete the statements to make questions and also write down a sample answer:

Once they have finished, they can compare their answers with a partner.

Playing catch

For this speaking activity, the students ask each other questions as they throw an object around the room.

If you have completed the previous exercise, remove the questions from the board but leave the question words. Have your students stand in a circle and throw a ball or other object to each other. As they throw the ball to another student, they ask a question using one of the question words from the board. The student who catches the ball must answer the question before passing it to another student. Mark off each question word as you go, and continue until all of them are gone.


A role-play activity where students pretend to interview a famous person.

Split the class into pairs and tell the students that they are going to act out a celebrity interview. One student will pretend to be a famous person of their choosing while the other plays the role of interviewer.

Have each pair prepare their questions and answers together before performing it for the class. They should aim to have a question for each question word.

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Related ESL games

Hot seat: Question words 

Students have to use questions to communicate a noun to the player in the hot seat. 

Divide the class into two teams. On each turn, one student will sit with their back to the board facing their teammates. Next, write a random word on the board behind the student in the hot seat. The other students must then make that student say this word using only questions: 

Example: Paris 
Student A: Where is the Eiffel Tower? 
Student B: France 
Student C: Which city is it in?

More A2 level ESL lesson plans

Our suggested next lesson is on using the present simple. Be sure to check out our full list of ESL lesson plans for elementary students, A2 lower and A2 upper, as well as our complete selection of EFL - ESL lesson plans. If you use an iOS or Android device, have a look at the TEFL Handbook app. An ESL lesson planner for English teachers. It has a lot more content and gives you faster access to our ESL resources, making it easier to use in class.

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