Comparatives and superlatives – Top Trumps

This is a classic. I find Top Trumps are a fun way to practise comparatives (mainly) and superlatives with young learners. Here’s something I did recently…

The topic was ‘Wild World’, but talk of animals like polar bears feels a bit far removed from hot and humid Bangkok! I tried to give students vocabulary to explain the nature around them. I selected about 16 animals you come across in Bangkok, and introduced/practised the vocab in various ways. Then I gave students these blank Top Trump cards with each animal on:


I went overboard with the animals… I’m a birdwatcher so some of the vocab was a bit specific (i.e. Brahminy Kite, ha!).


  • I elicited adjective forms of each category (power = powerful, danger rating = dangerous, etc). Adaptability was a bit of a stretch to be honest – needed quite a bit of concept checking!
  • Students worked together to give each animal a score from 1-10 (1 least, 10 most) for each category.
  • They used target language to do this (How fast is a… A tiger’s faster than… Buffalo’s the biggest… etc). They found it easier to order the cards in their chosen ranking first, then write in the numbers
  • I gave them a bit of process language for the game: ‘Buffalo. Power, 6. What have you got?’ etc.

If you have no idea what Top Trumps is, here are the rules.


A lot of good language use. Quite a few new words. A lot of fun (I think). I can finally explain all my stories about insects to the kids now, so I consider it a successful activity.


I wanted to make things personal to the student’s environment. Let’s be honest though, Pokemon Go Top Trumps would have probably worked even better!

I’m writing a series of short posts in response to Martin Sketchley’s blog challenge. You can view his new blog here.

Categories: grammar, Lesson Ideas

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