Unsupported Browser

Ellii may not function properly in Internet Explorer. We recommend using Google Chrome or Firefox instead.

Unsupported Browser

Ellii may not function properly in older browsers. We recommend updating yours to the latest version for the best experience.

Modals of Ability Game: Prove It!

August 30, 2018

Are you ready to introduce modals of ability to your young learners? We hope you’ll try our ready-made lesson on can and could from our Fun Grammar Lessons section. After you use the lesson, try this fun and easy game to review can as a modal of ability.

Prove It!


Write the following 10 questions (or similar ones) on the board:

  1. Can you stand on one leg for 60 seconds?
  2. Can you touch your tongue to your nose?
  3. Can you whistle?
  4. Can you stare without blinking for 60 seconds?
  5. Can you say the English alphabet without making a mistake?
  6. Can you stand on one leg with your eyes closed for five seconds?
  7. Can you make someone yawn in 10 seconds?
  8. Can you make someone laugh in 10 seconds?
  9. Can you count to 25 in English?
  10. Can you draw a/an…(animal or insect)?


Give each student 3–5 points to start with. Use coins or slips of paper (or any objects) to represent the points. Send students around the room to ask each other questions, just as they would in a traditional Find Someone Who activity. In this game, students have to do more than say yes or no. They have to prove their abilities to collect points. If they can’t prove their abilities, they lose a point.

When a student loses all of her points, she is out of the game and becomes an observer/judge. The last student standing (or the one with the most points when you end the game) is the winner.


Remind students that they must not ask the same question twice during the game.


A: Can you stand on one leg for 60 seconds?
B: Yes, I can.
A: Prove it!
  [B stands on one leg, but loses balance after 30 seconds. B gives one point to A.]


A: Can you stand on one leg for 60 seconds?
B: Yes, I can.
A: Prove it!
  [B stands on one leg for 60 seconds without losing balance. A gives one point to B.]


A: Can you stand on one leg for 60 seconds?
B: No, I can’t.
  [No points are exchanged. Students find other classmates to challenge.]


A: Can you stand on one leg for 60 seconds?
B: Yes, I can.
A: I believe you.
  [No points are exchanged. Students find other classmates to challenge.]

If too many students use this “safe” option, you can disallow it.

Increase the Difficulty

To make the game a bit more difficult, don’t put the whole question on the board. If you or another observer hears students asking the question incorrectly, you can take a point away from them.

  • stand one leg / 60 seconds
  • touch tongue to nose
  • whistle
  • stare without blinking / 60 seconds
  • say English alphabet
  • stand one leg / eyes closed / 5 seconds
  • make someone yawn
  • make someone laugh
  • count to 25 / English
  • draw a…

Other Abilities

You can use our ideas, or you can make up any abilities you want. You could include some abilities based on lessons you have taught in class. Ask your students to help you think of some, too. Here are a few more abilities:

  • pat head and rub belly at same time
  • name every person in the class
  • name 10 countries
  • hop on one leg for 10 seconds
  • spell my name backwards
  • name all of the months in English
  • sing a verse from…
  • roll your r’s
  • say three /th/ words
  • breakdance

Review with a Video

An ad-free version of the video is available for Ellii subscribers in our Modals of Ability lessons and on our Media Gallery


Not an Ellii member?

Get unlimited access to 1,000+ lessons and 3,000+ flashcards.

Sign Up

Comments (8)

Rosa Oropeza(Guest)

Hi! Like your game. I would like to share it with my Facebook group but I couldn't find a share button. Please join me at my Facebook Group: ESL/EFL Elementary Teachers, and post a link. I am sure many teachers will like this activity.
Rosa Amelia Oropeza

Reply to Comment

Tara Benwell(Author)

Thanks, Rosa! You can share the link: https://ellii.com/blog/modals-of-ability-game-prove-it

Reply to Comment

Manon J.(Teacher)

Cool! I'll be giving a teaching lesson on the modal auxiliary this week with my secondary 2 classes. It will be perfect to introduce them to the notion. Thank you!

Reply to Comment

Lei Kayanuma(Author)

Thanks, Manon! We hope your learners will enjoy the lesson and activities!

Adil N.(Teacher)

I like that!

Reply to Comment

Lei Kayanuma(Author)

Thanks, Adil!

David B.(Teacher)

This game is super engaging for my students! I remember I used it like 3 years ago and it was super successful, I've repeated it since then. Of course, I'm going to use this idea from now on, I was using my own ideas and abilities for the students to challenge each other. For instance: Say the months in order and backward in 20segs, count to 20 in 10segs, etc.

Reply to Comment

Tara Benwell(Author)

Hi, David! I'm so happy to hear you enjoy this game. It's always helpful to hear which games work well for language learning. Games can be so useful for helping targets stick. Let us know if you have any other favorites to share!

Leave a Comment

Log In to Comment Reply

Comment Reply as a Guest
  • **bold**_italics_> quote

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

    Thinking of joining Ellii?

    Complete this form to create an account and stay up to date on all the happenings here at Ellii.