Sunday, 13 October 2013

A Speaking Activity: Dragons' Den - English Classroom

I came up with this activity while watching the famous TV show, Dragons' Den. And here are the details...

Level: Elementary and above
Materials Needed: None
Preparation: None
Interaction Patterns: Group work
Time: 15 minutes

- Start a discussion on the TV program Dragons’ Den by asking students if they watch it and what kind of a show it is:

For those of you who may not be familiar with this TV program:
Dragons' Den is a series of reality television programmes featuring entrepreneurs pitching their business ideas in order to secure investment finance from a panel of venture capitalists. The contestants are usually product designers or service operators who have what they consider to be a viable and potentially very profitable business idea, but who lack funding and direction. They pitch their idea to five rich entrepreneurial businesspeople, the eponymous "dragons", to attract them.

- Tell the class that they will all attend Dragons’ Den but note that it will be a bit different from the original format since they will not be free to come up with their own invention. Give the rule of the game: “In this invention contest, students will invent something new out of two commonly used objects.”

- Now, choose three students and call them the “jury”for this activity.

- Students work in groups of four.

- Before the groups start work, explain what they will do in detail by giving an example yourself. Write on the board two concepts or objects (e.g. TV and a printer) and show your students how to combine these two concepts / objects in a novel way.

E.g. The TV that has a printer attached to take snapshots from films or TV series

- Give groups a new set of objects / concepts. See the sample list below:

Pencil                   Computer

Hair-dryer           Paper

Eraser                  Grass

Perfume              Mobile Phone

- Students, in groups, try to combine them in 5 minutes.

- During the group work, the jury visit each group and check if all students speak in English (or they might be asked to give ideas to the groups).

- After all groups come up with an invention, they present it in front of the class. They explain in detail why their idea deserves to be the best by giving reasons for their way of combining them.

- The jury asks questions if they need clarification.

- The jury decides on the best combination, gives 1 point to that group and justify their choice.

- Give another set of objects to the groups.

Personal Comment:

- As students may sometimes tend to give points to their best friends, it is a good idea to select the students for the jury carefully. Students who are not good friends with a specific group of students, but with the whole class are best candidates for this role.

- Students enjoy participating in this activity because it is a great problem-solving game which requires creative thinking. Even the normally quiet students may contribute to the activity by combining the objects in a novel way, which increases the motivation level of the class.

If you can think of possible variations of this activity, please comment on this post...


p.s. This activity is taken from my activity book, The Activist.

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