Two Truths, One Lie.
Time: 10 – 50 minutes.
Group size: Any, but groups of three work well.
Useful for: Ice-breaking, question formation.
This activity is an excellent ice-breaker for new classes. Different variants can be played depending on the size/ability of the class and the amount of time available.
Begin by writing three statements about yourself on the board. Two must be true and one false. Avoid writing obviously true/false facts about yourself, such as; ‘I have black hair’ or ‘I am the President of Uganda’ but try to put vaguely interesting things. My old standbys are; 1. I used to ride horses. 2. I have lived in Japan. 3. I was an actor in Harry Potter.
You can vary the grammatical structures according to the ability of the class.
Then, ask your students to ask you questions to test the truth of each statement. For example, they may ask; ‘Where did you live in Japan?’ or ‘Which character did you play?’. When they have got the idea, put them into groups of three and ask each group to write at least one question for each statement . Monitor the groups for grammar/spelling issues.
After the students have had about five minutes to think of questions, get each group to pose a question for each statement. A little theatre helps here if you act nervous when answering certain questions, but you must answer questions truthfully, unless they are asking you about your lie in which case try to lie convincingly.
After all the questions have been asked, students must vote on which statement they thought was the lie. If they vote correctly – you lose, teacher. Make sure to gloat or sulk accordingly.
Now that you have demonstrated how the activity works, it’s their turn. Ask them to write 3 statements about themselves, two true and one false. Again, monitor for grammar and spelling. When they have finished, put them into their original group of 3. Now, 2 students must ask the other student in their group questions about their statements. Monitor students for correct question formation. When all questions have been asked and lies exposed the game is finished. If you have any time remaining you can ask students to relay what they learnt about each other.
This is an effective, structured way for students to ask questions about their new teacher and each other and is a perfect first class ice-breaker.
ps. The Harry Potter statement was the lie.