Using Pictures to Practice Comparisons

Purpose:  Pictures are useful resources for teaching grammar.  In this activity, students use pictures to practice the comparative and superlative forms.

Prep time: 20+ minutes

Materials:  photos, preferably in color, of a variety of people, one per student; written descriptions for each student; two additional photos to be used for modeling the activity

Prep:  Ideally, each student would have a different photo and description, but to minimize prep time, make sure you have at least three different pictures, since students need to interact with two or three others.  For each picture, provide data specifying the person’s name, age, height, weight, and other pertinent details that you want students to compare.

Procedure:

  1. I do it: The instructor or tutor models the activity by showing photos of Bill and George, sharing information about them, and modeling sentences.

Example:          Bill is taller than George.

                        George is older than Bill.

  1. We do it: As a group, students use the same pictures to generate more statements about Bill and George, based on information provided in Step 1.  The following prompts could be provided to assist learners.

Bill is ____________George.

George is ____________ Bill.

  1. You do it: Now students sit back to back so they cannot see each other’s pictures.  They must ask each other many questions and share a lot of information.

Example:          A: I have a picture of Maria.  And you?

                        B: I have a picture of Chafika.

                        A: Maria is 30 years old.

                        B: Chafika is 45, so Chafika is older than Maria.

                        A: Yes, Chafika is older than Maria.

  1. Students can practice the superlative in groups of three.  Again, without looking at each other’s pictures, they continue asking questions and making statements, this time establishing who is the oldest, the tallest, etc.

Extension:

  • Each group of three receives a set of three pictures of objects such as houses, one picture and description for each student.  They are also given a set of questions that must be asked and answered during the activity. 

Examples:        Which house has the most rooms?  Fewest rooms?  

Which house is the oldest? The newest? 

Which house has the biggest garage? The biggest yard? 

Which has the smallest garage?  The smallest yard?, etc.

  • Each group of three gives an oral report to the other students, describing the people or houses and making comparative and/or superlative statements.
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