Two Truths and a Lie

This is a zero-prep activity that can be used after reading or listening to an authentic text or while viewing authentic images from the target culture. The purpose of the activity is to have each individual student demonstrate understanding as they hear and/or read the information. This activity allows students to integrate their content and cultural knowledge with their language learning.


  1. The teacher shares a couple of sentences and asks the students to decide whether they are true or false.

  2. The students vote by placing either a closed fist or an open hand flat on their chest, so other students cannot see. The closed fist would indicate false. the open hand would signal true. 

  3. Once the students understand the concept of listening for incorrect information, the teacher says a series of 3 statements about a topic related to the theme/text. Two of the sentences should be true; one should be false.

  4. Students listen carefully and decide which one is the lie by showing either the number one, two, or three. Again, students should keep their hands close to their chests so that others cannot see their answers.

  5. The teacher reveals the correct answer.

  6. If students answered incorrectly, the teacher may take a moment to go through why each sentence is either a “truth” or a “lie”.

  7. The teacher repeats this procedure as many times as desired.

Adaptation for Online/Distance Learning

  1. The teacher displays an image. The teacher then says three statements about the image, one of which is not true.

  2. The students indicate which statement is not true. With webcams on, students respond by signaling the number of the false statement. To ensure individual accountability, the teacher may wish to do a countdown so that all students signal their answer at the same time. Alternatively, students might respond via a private chat with the teacher or within a poll. 

  3. The teacher may also make 3 statements that are based on something that the students have read or listened to. 

  4. The teacher may choose to provide scaffolding for this activity by allowing students to both read and hear the statements. 

Helpful Tips

  1. The teacher could also choose to do the inverse of this activity, in which case students would need to decide which of the three sentences they hear/read is true instead of false. Varying the activity in different lessons or units can help keep students engaged and interested.

  2. This activity could require interpretive reading or listening, depending on the teacher’s intent.

  3. Depending on the availability of technology, this activity could be completed individually on an app like EdPuzzle. This way, teachers could see trends in student errors and provide individualized feedback, and students could read/listen at their own pace.

  4. Asking students to keep their hands on their chests when deciding which sentence is false is an effective strategy for two reasons: (1) it gives more timid or less confident students the peace of mind that only the teacher can see their responses; (2) it ensures that each individual student is interpreting the target language they hear/read because they are unable to see anyone else's answers.


  1. This activity could be modified by asking students to "make the lie true". Students would then share the new "truth" with other students who would verify that the statement was true. 

  2. Higher proficiency students could be asked to generate the truth and lie sentences during or in advance of the activity.

  3. Lower proficiency students could be asked to read 3 sentences aloud to the class from pre-prepared cards so that they are equally able to participate in saying true and false sentences to their classmates.

  4. With intentional groupings based on student proficiency levels, this activity could also be done in small groups in which the higher proficiency students say the 3 sentences and the other students react. The teacher would just need to be sure that the higher proficiency students know to reveal the correct answers to their classmates. If the activity was being done in groups, the teacher would want to circulate and provide feedback and support as needed.


  1. Sets of 2 true 1 false sentences

  2. Authentic images to view during the activity, optional

Sample Materials

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Two Truths and A Lie