Warmer: Mystery Magnified Pictures

Part of the Teaching Trick Tuesdays Series

Today’s Teaching Trick is one of my newest favorite activities to start class and generate discussion. I have been using magnified pictures with students 8 and up, including teens. As long as students have an A1+ speaking level, you can use these images to generate discussion.

Since some of the images are quite difficult to guess, I also allow students to ask me yes or no questions. This helps them eliminate categories of objects as well as determine its size.

Examples of Yes/No Questions:

  • Is it bigger than (a pencil)?
  • Can you eat it? / Is it a food?
  • Is it an animal?
  • Is it something made of (plastic)?
  • Do you think it’s (scary)?

Usually, at least one student is able to guess the mystery picture in a timely fashion by asking questions. If you choose a picture that represents something covered in a previous unit, it can be a great source of vocabulary and grammar review. You can also choose an image related to the topic your current lesson so as to transition smoothly into the topic of the day!

Where to Find Magnified Pictures?

How to Use Magnified Pictures in Class

  • Incorporate them into Google Slides or PowerPoint Presentations. Make sure to animate them so that the magnified image appears first, and the full image appears only once your students have guessed or given up. This is great for online classes where you can share your screen and for schools where you have a projector and internet connection.
  • Save both pictures to your phone or tablet and show the magnified image first to students. Then, reveal the full image.
  • Print both pictures if you don’t have access to technology.

Other ideas of how to incorporate magnified pictures into your classes are welcome. Please share how you use them in the comments!


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