What’s In The Bag?

The purpose of this activity is to keep students highly engaged as the teacher slowly removes realia and props from a bag and describes them in the target language. The teacher provides comprehensible input and involves the students by asking them simple yes or no questions and giving them items to hold and manipulate throughout the activity.

Download a Strategy Guide for this Activity


  1. The teacher puts the bag on a table or desk and exaggeratedly asks students “What do you think is in the bag?”

  2. The teacher reaches into the bag and slowly pulls out the first item, being sure to only reveal one small portion of the item at a time to increase suspense.

  3. While pulling out each item, the teacher provides the students with comprehensible input about the item (e.g. for a snake, the teacher may say “This animal is yellow. I wonder if it is long or short? Wow, this animal is very long!”).

  4. As the teacher pulls out and describes an item, they may ask students a few yes or no and either-or questions relating to the objects, supported by gestures.

  5. After providing input related to the item, the teacher passes it to a student to hold. Later in the activity, the teacher may circle back to earlier items by asking the class “Where is the ____ again?”

  6. Once the teacher has emptied the bag, they may choose to have students return the items or hold onto them for use in a subsequent activity.

Helpful Tips

  1. If the teacher wants to have enough props for each student to hold one, they can use multiples of the same 5-10 items.


  1. Large opaque bag, box, or suitcase

  2. 5-10 realia or props related to the thematic unit or a story