Ich Zweifle Es (I Doubt It)





by Janice Freeman

Says to "just call her Mom." She works in the grants office of Grossmont College and has been taking educational technology classes just for the fun of it. She lives on two and a half acres of weeds in Flinn Springs near Alpine with her husband and children.

Instructional Objective When shown a sample color, the learner will be able to say the German word for this color. The learner will be able to say the German words for the numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4.


Learners/Context Learners are high school students taking beginning German. They have had instruction in the German alphabet and word pronunciation. They need practice pronouncing words.

The instructor has given a lesson on pronouncing the German words for 13 common colors. The instructor has asked the students to try to learn these words by the next class. Instead of giving a test at the next class, the students will play Ich Zweifle Es to practice saying the colors.


Rationale Playing a card game should be fun. Students can listen to each other's pronunciation. Small groups (three to six students) will play together. Students will get to know each other. The regular card game, "I Doubt It" (also called "Bluff") requires players to say what kinds of cards they are discarding, and seems like a good game to modify to use in a foreign language class.


Rules Materials needed:

* Deck of Ich Zweifle Es cards

* 3 to 6 players

* List of colors for reference (optional)

The dealer shuffles the cards and deals the whole deck of cards one at a time to each player. Players group their cards by color. The first player to discard all of their cards is the winner. Starting with the player at the dealers left, players must discard from one to four cards. The first player to discard must discard aces (blue cards), the second player two's (red cards), the third player three's (green cards), etc.

The players say in German how many and what color of cards they are discarding. If a player doesn't have the color to discard for that turn, the player must bluff. The player puts other cards down, but says the color of card for his or her turn. Other players can then say "Ich Zweifle Es", or I doubt it. The first player to accuse is the one who calls the bluff. A player who is caught bluffing must pick up the whole discard pile. A player wrongly accusing another player of bluffing must pick up the discard pile instead. Play then continues to the next player who must discard the next color in order. Remember to practice your German!

Reference List

English German

Card Color Color Numbers

A Blue Blau 1 eins

2 Red Rot 2 zwei

3 Green Grun 3 drei

4 Pink Lila 4 vier

5 White Weiss

6 Gray Grau

7 Silver Silber

8 Purple Purpur

9 Black Schwarz

10 Orange Orange

J Yellow Gelb

Q Brown Braun

K Gold Golt


Card Design The instructor makes labels, half showing the German color, and half showing the English color. The instructor attachs the labels to the cards of a regular deck. Included is a list of which colors will be on which cards. This list can be used by the players.

Two of the aces will have labels with Blue (English), two Aces will have Blau (German). Two of the 2's will have Red (English), and two 2's will have Rot (German). The instructor can add color splotches to make the game easier. The numbers on the cards are important. Players need a reminder of the order to discard cards. This game does not use the suits.


Deck Design Two of each number card have the name of the color in English and two have the name of the color in German. This allows students to play other matching games, such as "Concentration" (match the German with the English color) and "Old Maid" (use the joker for the Old Maid), with the same deck. The instructor can make similar decks for other vocabulary words.


Design Process My son had to learn these colors during his first week of beginning German. I wanted to design a game to give students practice speaking German, not just learning to read the words. I needed to decide whether it was necessary to put samples of the color on the cards. Would this make the game too easy? Would the players stop reading the words? I decided that because the players had to "say" the words, the colors would not detract from learning. Colors might distract on "Concentration" or "Old Maid".