Like all good English teaching activities, the 21 game has its origins in a drinking game. The idea is very simple to explain and is a good activity to review numbers. It's suitable for any level: you can spend 20 minutes playing it in an Elementary class, or just use it as a warm up for Junior or Senior High.
- Get the class into small groups - lunch groups are perfect.
- The students in each group janken to establish who goes first.
- The first student says from one to three numbers in succession, but must say at least one. The second student does likewise, as does each student in turn, so for example:
- Student A: "1, 2, 3."
- Student B: "4."
- Student C: "5, 6."
- Student D: "7, 8, 9."
- Student A: "10." ...and so on...
- The student who says 21 has to drink two fingers, or if no alcohol is around is just the loser.
- Repeat as desired.
- Students form lunch groups (this is normally a group of 4 to 6 students). This will allow you to walk around the class to see if any groups have difficulties.
- Students hide their first behind their back and when they say 'Ready... Go!', they then reveal a first, with 1 to 5 fingers extended.
- Starting with the group leader, they then start counting the number of fingers revealed in a clockwise direction. They can either say their numbers individually, or as a group.
- The person who says 21 is out.
- Once the students get the hang of it, then get all the students to join as a group. Students who are out can then make a group to continue playing for fun. The last person left in the main group is the winner.