The Great British Laws Quiz

Levels: upper-intermediate to advanced.
Scope: teens; adults.
Aims: to practise law-related vocabulary; to practise modals of speculation by answering a multi-choice quiz.
Skills: listening; speaking; writing (notes).
Language focus: vocab – law-related.

Note: this idea was inspired by the Peter Watcyn-Jones’ quizzes in Pair Works 2 and 3, this BBC article and this article from the TimesOnline website. It is (hopefully) a fun activity to do before or after some work on law-related topics.

one copy of this quiz for each pair of students, or each group of three.


Divide the students into pairs or groups of three, and board this:

In Florida, unmarried women who…
(a) parachute
(b) wear red
(c) drink alcohol
…on Sundays can be jailed.

Invite students to guess which is correct, then tell them they all have £1,000 and should now bet between £10 and £100 that they have the right answer. When all students have bet, reveal the correct answer (a – parachute) and double the money for each winning pair (e.g., so if someone bet £100 on (a) then they now have £200; all teams who bet on the wrong item lose their money).

Now, board this:

In Vermont, wives must obtain written permission from their husbands to wear false teeth.
True False

Again, collect bets and reveal the correct answer (sadly, it’s true). Explain that there are some very strange laws in England and Wales as well (teacher’s note – in the UK, England and Wales are treated as a single legal entity; there are separate laws for Scotland and Northern Ireland), and that students will now work together to decide the answers to twelve questions about them. Remind your students or elicit that they have £1,000 each, that £100 is the maximum bet and that £10 is the minimum bet for each answer. They should try to spend all their money in making these bets.

Give out the worksheets (see above) (there are two pages) and allow about 15 minutes for students to decide and make their bets.

Ask each pair or group of three to decide on a team name (you could just ask them to give the name of an animal they like, to save time), then ask them to write this name on their answer sheets. Each group should then pass their answer sheets to the group on their left, and you can go through the answers together. Ask students to keep a tally of the money made and lost in the column on the right of the worksheet.

The answers:
1 (b – corpses); 2 – (a – the Houses of Parliament); 3 – (c – placing a postage stamp with a picture of the Queen upside down); 4 – (c – carry out 2 hours’ longbow practise a day); 5 – (c – the plague); 6 – (a – eat mince pies); the answers from 7 – 12 are all TRUE!

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