Conversation Starters from TableTalk – Learning game, ask good questions

The Latest from TableTalk

TableTalk cards are collections of conversation starters: each card in the deck presents an interesting fact, followed by an open-ended, discussion-provoking question. They’re designed to promote family or classroom communication: use them at the dinner table, the manufacturer suggests, or as a substitute for bedroom stories; take them on walks, tote them in the car, use them to pass the time in doctors’ waiting rooms or interminable check-out lines. As well as the original TableTalk deck – we used ours until the box fell apart; the cards are now loose in the glove compartment of the car – there are now ten different decks concentrating on specific conversational topics. Latest in the series include ArtTalk, MusicTalk, MovieTalk, BibleTalk (two decks, one covering the Old, one the New, Testament), and TravelTalk.

TravelTalk is a talkative tour of geography. A sample card reads: “China’s Yellow River earned its name because of the golden silt that gives the 3000-mile waterway its color. Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle because of its rich, green countryside. The Red Sea gets its sometimes rosy hue from red algae that grow in it. What is the most colorful place you have ever been? If you could give that place a new name based on its hue, what would you call it?”

Or try this one, from ArtTalk: “Trained as an engineer, Alexander Calder wanted to create works of art that incorporated balance, motion, and other mathematical principles. He created moving sculptures made of colored metal connected by wire that moved in the air. French painter Marcel Duchamp dubbed these scuptures ‘mobiles.’ What would you call Calder’s creations if Duchamp hadn’t named them first? Why?”

Or, from MusicTalk: “In 1977, the U.S. launched two Voyager spacecraft into the solar system. In addition to scientific equipment, the probes carry other evidence of human achievement: three musical compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach, and the equipment necessary to play them. If you could choose three musical works to represent humankind on a future space probe, what works would you select? Why?”

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