Paperclip challenge

incl. materials
60 min.


The learner can give and ask information when trading goods.


Paperclips (or other cheap things such as ballpoints, tea bags…), enough objects to trade.


Teach the learners phrases how to address someone when buying or trading.


  • Divide the group into pairs.
  • Explain the concept of the exercise: to trade a paperclip for something more valuable, which in turn has to be exchanged for another object.
    Examples on Youtube may help: ‘Trading a paperclip’
  • Let the pairs walk around and trade with the other pairs.
  • Ask them to take a picture of every object traded.
  • The pair ending up with the most valuable object, wins.

Tips for the instructor

Learners can trade goods and also services, e.g. washing someone’s car, an introduction lesson in someone’s mother tongue, a cooking lesson…