What's this? Mystery Bags

To familiarize students with the English names of classroom objects and to be able to use “What’s this?” “It’s a ~ ."


  • Before the lesson , set up your own “What’s this?” bag by placing each of the classroom objects inside.
  • Reach into your bag and pull out an item.  Ask the students “What’s this?”  Once the students respond, put up the appropriate flashcard and have the students place the item on their desk.
  • Repeat until all flashcards have been put on the board.

Classroom items: pen, pencil, marker, eraser, pencil case, ruler, tape, glue, colored pencils, book.


  • Formally introduce the phrase “What’s this?” and the response “It’s a ~ .” with the teacher.
  • Go around the classroom and point to the classroom objects on the students’ desk, asking “What’s this?” to each individual student.
  • Ask the students to pair up and practice the “What’s this?” dialogue with their partners, making sure that they use the classroom objects on their desks as props.
  • Teach students the “What’s this?” chant: Clap along with each syllable “What’s this? What’s this? What is this?”.

“What’s this?” Game introduction

  • Divide the students into groups (groups of 4 or 5 are best).
  • Call up a group of students to help with demonstration.
  • Pick one student to close their eyes and turn away from the group.
  • The rest of the group picks three items to place in the “What’s this?” bag.
  • The group then says the “What’s this?” chant.
  • The student with their closed eyes puts their hand in the bag and tries to guess what three items are in the bag.
  • Once done, a new student closes their eyes and the rest of the group picks three new objects to place in the bag.
  • Let each student go once or twice (time pending) as the one who closes their eyes.

Cool down

  • Once the activity is done, hand out the “What’s this?” worksheet.
  • Point to pictures on the worksheet and ask individual student “What’s this?”.
  • Allow students to color in their worksheets however they like.
  • Feel free to replace the “What’s this?” bag with a “What’s this?” box.
  • This lessons assumes that you are teaching in the student’s homeroom. If you are teaching in an English room, make sure that you ask the HT to make sure the students bring all the classroom objects before coming to class.
  • This lesson can easily be adapted for 3rd and 4th year students. Some suggestions for changes: removing a few of the items or placing hints in katakana for more difficult words.
Lesson Topics
"What’s this?" bags (one for each group), a physical representation of each item on the flashcards.