These are some creative activities to develop understanding and correct use of ‘number’ idioms. Students complete the idioms with the missing numbers and then complete a creative activity to test other classmates.

Level: B1+

Time: 70 minutes


  1. To introduce idioms related to numbers.
  2. To use repetition through various means to cement understanding and correct use of the idioms, whilst also testing other students’ knowledge of the new vocabulary.


  1. It_s all a numbers game Worksheet, one per pair.


  1. Write the following questions on the board and ask students to discuss them in pairs: What are the important numbers in your life? Do you have a lucky and unlucky number? Are you superstitious about any numbers?
  2. Briefly discuss as a class for feedback.
  3. Hand out a copy of ‘It’s all a numbers game’ Worksheet.
  4. Put students in pairs. The first student completes one of the sentences with a missing number; if his or her sentence is accepted by the teacher, they draw either an O or X in the square. The first player to line up 4 of their symbols in a row wins.
  5. When the students have finished, check ALL of the sentences as a class and in pairs ask students to provide the definitions of the idioms using their own words.
  6. Check together as a class.
  7. Put the students into pairs and ask them to complete Exercise 2.
  8. Once the students have finished ask them to cut up the squares and hand them to a pair of students on their right.
  9. The students now match the drawings, synonyms, etc, with their examples and definitions in Exercise 1. To make it easier you could ask students to cut up the squares in Exercise 1 too.
  10. Monitor at all times.
  11. Depending on the number of students you could repeat step 8 several times to recycle vocabulary.
  12. At the end, ask students to share 4 of their favourite or most challenging ‘representations’ of the number idioms.

Fast finishers:

  1. Ask students to check which numbers from 1 to 10 were not represented in Exercise 1 and find one idiom for each of the numbers.

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