Amoeba, Amoeba: a hilarious game, fun to film

Also from last week's session in Zaragoza…

Here's one that my daughter Isabel brought back from Canada last summer and which I suggest as a fun activity to do with young learners, perhaps in the last 10 minutes of an "animal vocabulary" lesson. My example has amoeba, chicken, bird and eagle in it but you could have any animals and I'd play this on the first day that these are new words to my learners.

To play the game, you need space in which everyone can mingle (try outside in the playground if you don't have space in your room) and everyone begins saying "Amoeba! Amoeba!" over and over, and making a small swimming action with hands and arms. The amoebas then attempt to evolve to chickens… by playing rock, paper, scissors with a partner. Winners become chickens (and now have to repeat "Chicken! Chicken!" over and over, while making chicken wing movements with their arms), amoebas remain as amoebas (and carry on swimming and saying "Amoeba! Amoeba!").

To become a bird, you need first to become a chicken… and then mingle and find another chicken and beat him/her at rock, paper, scissors, after which you say "Bird! Bird!" and flap your wings.

The winner is the first person to beat another bird to become an eagle ("Eagle! Eagle!", accompanied by moving their arms like soaring wings).

What's the point of the activity?
Well, (a) it's a lot of fun; and (b) it's a great way of ensuring no one ever forgets the words amoeba, chicken, bird and eagle!

I'd suggest it for 9 and under but you'll find that teens love it too (though with older kids it would be hard to justify linguistically).

Where does technology come in?
My suggestion is that you could – with parental permission — film it (possibly on a smartphone or iPad, possibly something one of the learners could) and upload it to YouTube (where you might consider keeping it private, and just displaying it in class).

If you've got your learners to draw pictures of their animals and post those on a classblog or Edmodo group and can now also accompany that with your "Amoeba! Amoeba!" video, you and your learners have created and shared digital products, which is really what technology allows us to do nowadays.

See also Another version of the game (in which you become Diana Ross, not an eagle!)

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