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When you know, you know - A game of numbers

October 29, 2019

I have learned many of my favorite games from Nelly Hughes, author of Fluency Matters' Selena and the force behind Comprendes Méndez SpanishShop. As a teacher that has been using and training teachers in Comprehension-based™ methods for many years, Nelly has a knack for finding and adapting games for communicative language classes.

”El que sabe, sabe” is a fun game conceived by Nelly and inspired by the board game ‘Wits & Wagers’. In English, it means, "The one that knows, knows". It’s a great way to give your students repeated exposure to numbers in comprehensible contexts! ALL answers in this game are numeric– students respond to questions about time, date, quantity, and more! When you know, you know is a game that your risk-takers will love just as much as your trivia kids.


Before you play, make sure you've got the right supplies!

  • Questions (could be a simple list or could be printed on game cards like the ones in this bundle).
  • Small white boards (1 board per team)
  • Dry erase markers (as many different colors as you have groups- 6 groups = 6 different marker colors)
  • Timer (on your phone, whiteboard, or a physical timer– anything will work great!)


If you are using game cards, preparation will take awhile the first time you play because of all the printing, laminating, and cutting. Once you have the sets of cards, it will be easy to play on the fly!

Not working with game cards? Prep is as easy as writing a list of questions! If you are working with cards, cut them apart and laminate them to preserve for future use. Stack them face-down in a pile at a table at the front of the room!

Break into groups

Divide your students in groups of 3 -4 (I would not recommend bigger groups. The bigger the groups, the less participation and more distractions you will see). 

Distribute supplies

Give each team a small white board and a uniquely colored dry erase marker. The color of their marker is the name of their group (the group with the blue marker is the Blue Group). 

Assign roles

Assign roles to group members or have them decide: 

  1. One of the students in each group will be “the writer”
  2. One group member will be “walker 1”
  3. One group member will be “walker 2”.

Note: Students will switch jobs every 2 questions.

Explain the roles

The “writer” will write the answer the team agrees is the correct one, “walker 1” will take the mini white board to the front of the room and place it on the board (see picture below), “walker 2” will ask his team where to place the star and the triangle, and will walk to the board and draw the symbols above the chosen answer.  

HOW TO PLAY "When you know, you know"

Set a time limit: “We are going to play for “#” (15, 20, 30, etc.) minutes!”

Draw the top card off the pile and read it out loud to all students (or read the first question from the list to students).


Give teams 30-45 seconds to discuss, decide, and record their best guess for the answer:

  1. The team discusses the question.
  2. The team determines together their best answer.
  3. The Writer writes the team’s guess on the group’s Answer Board. NOTE: The Writer must write down the answer with DIGITS (ex: They must write ’57’, not 'cincuenta y siete’).

Once all the teams have their answers written on the boards, “Walker 1” takes the team’s board to the front of the room and places it on the tray of your front board, facing the board.


Flip over each board one at a time to reveal the team’s answer. Read each answer to your class in the TL as you point at it.

Optional: For more math connections, work with your class to sort the answers from smallest to largest– remember, they are always in numeric form, so this is possible! If two or more guesses are exactly the same, place them next to each other.


Give all teams 15 seconds to discuss and decide which answer they think is the closest without going over. They get two guesses: their first best guess and their second best guess.

Walker 2 goes to the board with the team’s marker to draw the following symbols above an Answer Board:

  • Draw a STAR above the board that has their team’s first guess.
  • Draw a TRIANGLE above the board that has their team’s second guess.

NOTE: Teams do not have to choose their original answer. They may write both symbols above the same Answer Board (if they are very confident about the answer... after all, "When you know, you know!"), or they may split their symbols between two Answer Boards.


After all symbols are drawn and students have returned to their seats, the teacher reads aloud the answer. 

The winning guess is the number closest to the correct answer without going over. Points are awarded as follows: 

  • 1 point to the team with the winning guess.
  • 1 point to each team that placed the Triangle on the winning guess.
  • 2 points to each team that placed the Star on the winning guess.


Prepare for the next round: Each team takes back their Answer Board and erases their answers from their board and the teacher’s board. Project this slide while playing "When you know, you know" so that your students know in which order to rotate roles for each round.

When you know you know a game of numbers El que sabe sabe slides 002
When you know you know a game of numbers El que sabe sabe slides 001

Start the next round by reading the next question card, and repeat the steps for the round!


When the game time expires, the team with the most points wins or offer a ‘Final Question’ in which teams can wager up to all of their earned points as a last ditch effort at victory!

Need to see an example?

The process can be a little hard to wrap your mind around when reading it; especially the scoring. Have no fear! We've put together a set of FREE sample questions and answers, plus a demo scoring guide. And I have a feeling you're going to love the topic for the sample game...


That's right! We've done our research, and we're bringing you #VSCOgirls by the numbers: 32 questions about the 'it' girl of 2019!

Before you play the game, start by building background knowledge. Assign one of the two #VSCOgirl readings from Garbanzo, or have your students complete them both in sequence. They share the same information with two different levels of detail!

Not yet a subscriber? No problem! Start your 14-day FREE trial now. The #VSCOgirl lessons are included in the trial, so you can create your classes and assign the lessons with zero obligation.

Follow up with this #authres video. It's perfect for Novice learners because there is no narration: just photos and labels in Spanish:


Pause it on each screen to discuss the image and make sure that students understand the vocabulary being used to describe it. Connect students to content with Personalized Questions and Answers! As always, make sure that you are supporting comprehension as you focus on communication and connection.

After your students have learned about the characteristics of a VSCO girl, play El que sabe, sabe with this set of 32 questions:

El que sabe, sabe tends to work best when students are NOT already experts on the topic of the game; however, the VSCO girl questions focus on obscure facts and figures that would not likely come up when discussing what a VSCO girl is.

Play as many questions as you want; you'll likely not get through (or want to get through) all 32 in one class period. Play a few rounds at the end or beginning of class each day for a week, if you want!

When you're done playing, wrap up with a Write and Discuss, or do some more digging by exploring more #authres. Unfortunately, most #VSCOgirl videos in Spanish are pretty long. You'll likely want to choose bits and pieces of one to show students! This one is pretty good (but does use the F-word at minute 13:10- thanks to Sara Chronister for catching it!):

Get more games!

Nelly and I have worked together to bring you a whole set of ready-to-play games in Spanish! Whether you're looking for something new for Día de Muertos, looking for a fun follow-up to your Mexican Revolutionary biographies, or need one last thing to fill out your fútbol unit, we've got you covered!

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