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Lesson Plan

Guess What's in the Bag: A Language-based Activity

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Guess What's in the Bag: A Language-based Activity

Grades K – 2
Lesson Plan Type Minilesson
Estimated Time 50 minutes
Lesson Author

LaDonna Helm

LaDonna Helm

Urbana, Illinois


National Council of Teachers of English


Student Objectives

Instruction & Activities


Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will:

  • develop and use descriptive language to communicate in a large-group setting.

  • use prior knowledge and previous experiences to communicate clearly with their peers.

  • develop and use good listening skills to process information given by clue-givers.

  • develop and use good thinking skills to make logical predictions based on the clues.

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Instruction & Activities

Note: Each session should last from 10 to 15 minutes.

  1. Introduce the activity by discussing the importance of using descriptive language to get one's message across, emphasizing both speaking and listening skills.

  2. Practice by describing the characteristics of several exposed objects. Encourage students to talk about the shape, size, material, feel (e.g., hard/soft, bumpy/smooth, pointy/round) and possible uses of the objects.

  3. Place an object (or already have one) in the bag, making sure the students don't get a glimpse of it.

  4. Tell the students that there is an object in the bag, and they will be given five clues to help them guess what the object is.

  5. Choose five students.

  6. Explain that, without looking, each of them will feel the object inside of the bag and give one clue to describe it.

  7. Be prepared to prompt students who might have difficulty developing clues. For example, "Is it hard or soft?" "Does it have corners or curves?" "From what material is it made?"

  8. After the fifth clue is given, ask students from the audience to raise their hands to guess the object.

  9. If the students have not guessed correctly after four or five tries, reveal the object.

  10. Either when the object is guessed at or has been revealed, encourage the class to give more clues to describe the item.

  11. Following the whole-class activity, have the students do it online individually or in groups using the What's in the Bag? interactive with sound on or with sound off to reinforce reading and listening skills.

  12. Finally, encourage the students to play "Guess What's in the Bag" at home or on the road with their families. Have them bring home the directions and also let parents know how to access the online interactive.

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  • Have students generate word sets/clues to share with other teachers and classes who are using this lesson.

  • Play a game of 20 Questions. For this game you will need: objects, a student leader (the person who has the unrevealed object), a student checker (the person whom the object is revealed to prior to any questions), and a student to keep tallies of the number of questions asked.

    The leader has an object in mind or hidden. They must tell/show the object to a designated checker before the questions begin. The students then ask a total of 20 yes/no questions to determine the object. For example, one might ask, "Can you eat it?" The leader responds with a "yes" or "no." This game encourages students to be good listeners and problem solvers. The answers to previous questions will help students determine what they should ask next.

  • Allow students time to visit the I Spy Website, where they can discover clever object associations, word play, and themes that help them build important learning skills, including reading, problem solving, and creativity.

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Observe students' use of prior knowledge when they describe and guess at the objects, taking note of their abilities to make logical decisions based on the information/clues provided.

If the class generated a set of descriptors/clues as an extension, display it on the wall on chart paper for follow-up discussion about the variety of words used to describe objects. Observe participation and encourage them that they can add to the Word Wall throughout the year.

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