Author: Adrian Tennant | Published on 2 January 2024


Read what a teacher says about this activity:

'20 questions' is a useful activity to help develop learners’ thinking skills. It gets learners to create questions based on the answers which they receive. It also helps to change the pace of a lessons and get the learners more involved.

Stage 1: Demonstrate

Say: 'I’m thinking of something. You need to find out what it is by asking me questions. You have a maximum of 20 questions before you need to guess. Start.'

Stage 2: Model

Play with the class. Make sure that all learners have the opportunity to ask questions.

Stage 3: Play in pairs / groups

Put learners into pairs or small groups and say: “One of you thinks of something. The other(s) ask questions to try and guess.”

Monitor and help where necessary.

Make sure learners take turns to answer the questions.

[play audio] 

A: Is it something we eat? 

B: No.

A: Is it an animal?

B: Yes.

A: Can it fly?

B: Yes.

A: Is it colourful?

B: Yes.

A: Do people keep it as a pet?

B: No.

A: Is it big?

B: No.

A: Is it a butterfly?

B: Yes. You guessed it!


You can get learners to play the game using more open-ended question (i.e. Wh- questions) rather than just Yes / No questions. 

[play audio] 

B: Is it an animal, a vegetable or a mineral?

A: It’s an animal.

B: Where does it live?

A: In Australia.

B: Can it jump?

A: I don’t know, but it isn’t a kangaroo.

B: How big is it?

A: It’s like a monkey.

B: Does it live in trees?

A: Yes.

B: What does it eat?

A: Leaves.

B: Is it a koala?

A: Yes, it is.


Monitor: The way a teacher watches to see how well an individual, group or class is doing a particular task.