Information gap activities

chess-board-2375511_960_720.jpgI’ve recently been particularly keen on information gap activities, i.e. activities which require students to communicate with each other (usually in pairs) to solve a problem or complete a task. I find IGAs highly motivating and I appreciate the fact that they require sub-skills such as clarifying meaning and re-phrasing. Most importantly, though, IGAs represent real communication and increase overall student talking time.

In this quick post, I’d like to share a couple of activities I’ve recently done with my students. I’d like to point out that these activities were elements of a larger block – they didn’t stand on their own but were followed or preceded by other stages.

You may know from this blog that I love working with inspiring quotes. I normally use these as warm-ups or as an introduction to a new topic. For example, in one of my recent lessons, we talked about health so I prepared this handout.



As you can see, Student A had the same set of quotes as Student B, but a different word was missing in each of the sentences. The students worked in pairs and their task was to exchange the information in order to complete the quotes. Although they practically only needed to define the words I had left out, I saw them reading the whole sentences in an attempt to get more context. Apart from the fact that it was a meaningful speaking activity, it spiced up an otherwise boring gap-fill.

In the next stage of the lesson, we worked with a text about trending tips on healthy eating. It was a rather long, authentic article so I decided to ease the load a bit: I decreased the amount of text by creating another IGA. Student A only got part of the text (see page 1, on the left) while the rest was in the form of headings (see page 2, on the right). Student B got a complete version of page 2 while page 1 only contained the headings.


retrieved and adapted from


retrieved and adapted from

Ss then shared the information and took notes as their partner was paraphrasing/summarising their text. Again, Ss had to communicate actively to achieve the goal – to learn about the concepts. Also, I believe it livened up an otherwise long and dull reading activity.


About Hana Tichá

I'm an EFL teacher based in the Czech Republic. I've been teaching English to learners of all ages for almost 25 years and I still love my job. You can find out more about my passion here on my blog.
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4 Responses to Information gap activities

  1. Kamila says:

    Hi Hana, I really like this type of activities, for the reasons you say, but they’re so time consuming to design! Especially if I hardly ever get to recycle them. Do you recycle yours, or do you just put in the time and don’t worry about it?
    Thanks for inspiring me. K.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sandy Millin says:

    Maybe to save time, you could just cut the paper in the half with the whole thing on it, and they dictate the other half of the phrases (for example) – I know it doesn’t quite serve the same purpose, but it could help your work-life balance 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Jig-saw and/or Info Gaps? | Wednesday Seminars

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