Peer Surveys

This activity is designed to allow students to have short interpersonal interactions with as many classmates as possible in the allotted time, practicing key questions and responses using unit vocabulary. A survey consists of questions that are much more basic and straightforward. The answers are not open-ended. A survey implies that the same question or questions are being asked of more than one person, usually to many people. For example, survey questions might be: How many pets do you have? How many hours did you sleep last night? Do you like _____ ( food)?


  1. The teacher introduces the task by modeling the task with a survey sheet and one or two students.

  2. The teacher hands out survey sheets and writing utensils or asks students to hand out materials.

  3. Students leave their seats and walk around to find a classmate. The teacher may want to have students count to 10 before working with a partner.

  4. Each classmate takes turns asking and answering the survey question(s).

  5. As soon as they have obtained information from their classmate, each student walks around again to find a new classmate and repeats the process.

  6. The teacher signals for all students to return to their seats.

  7. (Optional) The teacher may debrief with the whole class, asking students to share their results and drawing some kind of graphic on the board (like a bar graph) to summarize and close the activity.

Adaptation for Online/Distance Learning

  1. This is a synchronous activity.

  2. The teacher provides a list of questions.

  3. The teacher randomly divides students into pairs.

  4. The teacher sends each pair to a breakout room.

  5. The students take alternate asking questions and should be told not to simply ask a question by using "and you" or "what about you". 

  6. The teacher recalls the students to check in and provide any additional scaffolding or clarification based on the first round of interviews.

  7. The teacher shuffles the breakout rooms so that students are grouped with new partners, and the process is repeated. 

  8. The teacher may debrief with the whole class by asking students to share their results. The teacher may want to create a graphic to track the information that students share.

  9. Optional Presentational Mode Extension:  Each partner presents their findings to a small group or live to the class. Students may also record their findings using Flipgrid or a similar app. Students may also write a summary and submit to the teacher. 

Helpful Tips

  1. Laminate (or place them into sheet protectors) survey sheets and allow students to use dry-erase markers instead to cut down on paper waste / printing and use the same set for all of your classes

  2. To add an additional challenge, the teacher could require that students leave their sheets on their own desks. This serves as a formative check for teachers, because when students either (1) forget the vocabulary/question they were going to ask or (2) forget their classmate’s response (yes/no), they will have to return to the sheet or the classmate to confirm before recording an answer. This modification also requires real interpersonal communication between students and does not let them “cheat” by pointing and nodding or exchanging papers, finding a characteristic and writing their own name without any negotiation of meaning/communication.


  1. For students that need additional support, the teacher may choose to provide the vocabulary words next to the pictures on the survey grid and/or sentence/question frames on the board. This can be done for the whole class (for a "we do" activity variation) or for individual students who still need additional scaffolding to successfully complete the "you do together" version described here.

  2. To push the performance target level up to intermediate, the teacher can add an additional blank next to some (or all) of the items to allow students to ask each other follow-up questions (i.e. why, how, etc.).

  3. The teacher can select different types of content that require students to ask different kinds of questions (yes/no vs. open-ended) based on the proficiency level of the class. The survey grids may need to be slightly modified to accommodate different kinds of questions/answers.


  1. Survey grid (see sample below)

Sample Materials

Click a thumbnail to see a larger version.