Here is a fun activity for teaching or reinforcing the concept of interrogative sentences. It’s a game made popular on the television show Whose Line Is It, Anyway? – not exactly a show for young children, but it’s okay to adapt the idea! The game is called “Questions Only.”
Pre game lesson:
Students should already be aware of the four types of sentences: declarative, imperative, exclamatory and interrogative. As a review, remind them that it’s easy to spot interrogative sentences because they have their own punctuation mark assigned to them. Anytime you see a question mark at the end of a sentence, that’s a sure give-away you’re looking at an interrogative sentence.
It’s usually easy to spot an interrogative sentence in speaking, as well. When we ask yes or no questions, our voice inflection goes up at the end of the question. The rising inflection expresses uncertainty, confusion, doubt or suspense. But sometimes, interrogative sentences end with a falling inflection.
Here’s an example:
Read the two sentences out loud and notice the difference in inflection:
Are you going to the party tonight?
What are you going to wear?
The first sentence ended with a rising inflection because it required a “yes or no” answer. The second sentence ended with a falling inflection because it asks for more than a “yes” or “no.”
Prior to explaining how to play the game “Questions Only” teachers can hand out a review sheet with that has 8 -10 sentences listed. The list should be a mix of declarative, imperative, interrogative, and exclamatory sentences.
Students are to place the letter “I” to the left of the interrogative sentences and place an “X” to the left of those that are not interrogative. Depending on the grade level, teachers can also ask students to place the letter “R” to the right of the interrogative that has a rising inflection and an “F” for those that have a falling inflection. Review and discuss student responses.
How To Play “Questions Only”
The teacher’s role is to create a scenario where students act out a scene and speak only in questions. For example, the scene could be “Getting ready for the big game” and students would be the players on a soccer team. Set a time limit for playing – 5 minutes is a good place to start.
Divide the class into two equal groups, if possible, and have students line up in two separate rows on either side of the classroom. The first student in each row comes to the front of the class and role-plays the scene. During the dialogue, if one student speaks in a sentence type other than interrogative, or if they take more than a few seconds to respond, the teacher sounds a buzzer or rings a bell. That student takes a seat and the next student in line replaces him or her.
The winning team is determined by which row has the most students standing at the end of the five minutes.
Adapting to different grade levels
This lesson is most appropriate for early middle school students but it can be adapted for younger students as well. Teachers can set a limit on the number of questions to ask for each set of students or lengthen the time allowed for a response.
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