Game/Activity: Fishbowl


Level: Advanced

Goal: To get students to think critically and learn how to voice their opinions in English.


  • Topics, written on whatever you like: strips of paper, index cards, Popsicle sticks, on paper in a simple list.
  • Chalkboard or white board, to write the topic and/or the answers students give.
  • Paper, if you wish to post the four corner opinion names instead of writing them on the board. The opinions are: Strongly Agree; Agree; Disagree; Strongly Disagree


  • Prepare the topics beforehand and any container you need to hold the paper/cards/etc. in.
  • Make sure the corners of the room are clear, or as close to the corners as you can get. Also, make sure students have room to walk from one corner to another. You can have students help rearrange the room.
  • If you like, you can have all students start in the center of the classroom before moving to the corners. If so, clear a space there, too.

Instructions to Students

This game is called Fishbowl. Here’s how to play.

First, I [or one student] will choose a topic at random and will read it out loud.

Think about the topic and decide your opinion on it. You will have thirty seconds [or another amount of time you choose] to move to a matching corner. The corners are: Strongly Agree; Agree; Disagree; Strongly Disagree.

When you are in your corner, talk with your group. Why do you have this opinion about the topic? Discuss for 1 minute [or another amount of time you choose]. Afterward, one person from each group will tell us some of your group’s thoughts.

If another group says an opinion that you agree with, you can change your opinion and move to their corner. Please tell us why you changed groups.

Once all the groups share their thoughts, the topic is finished. I [or another student] will choose the next topic. We will continue for [number of topics or number of minutes].

Topic Suggestions

You can use these topics as you like and can re-word them or add new topics to your own set. Try not to make them very controversial, and keep your town and your students in mind.

  1. Our town should have more public parks.
  2. Your class schedule should have [more classes that are shorter in length of time/fewer classes that are longer in length of time].
  3. The legal age to drive should be [higher/lower/specific age]
  4. The legal voting age should be [higher/lower/specific age]
  5. All students should have a curfew that the town monitors. [e.g. students found around town at 11PM should be sent directly home, as 10PM is the curfew.]
  6. Students should be allowed to use their cell phones in class.
  7. Students should be allowed to use their laptops in class.
  8. Students should not have to clean their schools themselves. The schools should hire janitors. [Or vice versa]
  9. Our school should [should not] have school uniforms.
  10. Students should not have to take entrance exams to get into [college/high school].
  11. Students must be involved in a school club.
  12. Students must play a sport.
  13. Our school needs to have more field trips.
  14. School breaks should be [longer/shorter]
  15. Students should receive homework during breaks.
  16. Teachers need longer vacation time.
  17. School should [should not] be year-round.
  18. Teachers should not call on students at random.
  19. Students must study a foreign language [English or other]
  20. People should only work [number of days] each week.

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