Spanish Level 1- Face-to-Face Activities

🤔 Spanish Level 1, Activity 03: Cognados y Los Amigos Falsos / Cognates & False Friends (Face-to-Face)

Man giving a thumbs up
Photo via Aziz Acharki
Description: Students will learn about cognates, real and false. First, they will be introduced to cognates by guessing if certain words are real cognates or false cognates. Then, they will look through a series of Spanish ads and magazine clips to try to point out the Spanish-English cognates that are in the writing.
Semantic Topics: Cognate, false, real, vocabulary, cognados, cognados falsos, vocabulario
Grammatical Structures: Cognates, cognados
Products: Advertisements
Practices: Marketing, socially appropriate discourse in advertising
Perspectives: Value of having a variety of choices, connections between Spanish and other world languages

NCSSFL-ACTFL World-Readiness Standards:

  • Standard 1.1 – Students engage in conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions.
  • Standard 4.1 Students demonstrate understanding of the nature of language through comparisons between Spanish and English.
  • Standard 1.2 Students understand and interpret spoken and written Spanish on a variety of topics.
  • Standard 4.2 Students demonstrate understanding of the concept of culture through comparisons between Hispanic cultures and their own.

Idaho State Content Standards: 

  • COMM 1.1 – Interact and negotiate meaning (spoken, signed, written conversation) to share information, reactions, feelings, and opinions
  • CONN 1.1 – Compare and contrast information acquired from other content areas.
  • CONN 1.2 – Relate information studied in other subjects to the target language and culture.
  • CONN 2.1 – Access authentic materials prepared in the target language by or for native speakers.
  • COMP 1.2 – Identify patterns and explain discrepancies in the sounds and the writing system in the target language.
  • COMP 2.1 – Identify, describe and compare/contrast products and their use in the target culture with the learner’s culture.

NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements:

  • I can recognize cognates in Spanish and English
  • I can answer a simple yes or no question
  • I can use cognates to guess the meaning of a word when similar to English or a language I know

Materials Needed:

  • Google Slideshow
  • Find a Selection of Ads from Spanish Newspapers or Magazines (If you don’t have access to these resources, try searching Google Images for “Anuncios de Revistas”)
  • Whiteboard Markers & Erasers

Optional physical materials:

Would you like to make changes to the materials? Access the template(s) below:


Warm Up

Materials Needed For Warm Up:

Optional physical materials:


1. Begin by opening the Google Slideshow and introducing the activity and the Can-Do’s.

Hola, ¿cómo están? Estoy ____. Vamos a empezar el lab de hoy con los can-do statements.

2. Ask students about their knowledge of cognates.

Hoy, vamos a charlar sobre los cognados. ¿En inglés, qué es un cognado? (Pregunta para el grupo)

3. A cognate is a word that sounds very similar in English and Spanish. For example, the word “moderno” in Spanish is “modern” in English. Also, the word “antiguo” in Spanish is “old” or “antique” in English. “Moderno” and “antiguo” are cognates or “real friends.”

Un cognado es una palabra que es muy similar en inglés y español.
Por ejemplo, la palabra moderno es modern en inglés. También, la palabra antiguo es old or antique en inglés. **Moderno y Antiguo son cognados o amigos reales. Son “amigos reales.”

4. Also, there are “false friends” in Spanish. For example, “embarazada” does not mean “embarrassed”. It means “pregnant”! It is a false friend or false cognate.

También, hay amigos falsos en español. Por ejemplo, “embarazada” no significa embarrassed, significa “pregnant.” Entonces es un amigo falso. (Otros ejemplos: éxito, carpeta)

5. Students will then play a game to identify cognates. Explain the game to students.

Ahora, vamos a jugar un juego donde ustedes tienen que seleccionar el cognado, o el amigo real.

6. Have each student point in the direction of the true cognate or give each student two arrows,  one saying left and the other saying right if using physical materials. Using the slideshow , have students identify the appropriate direction to describe which word is the cognate. The slide after will show the correct answer. Continue the activity until students have finished all warm up slides.

Voy a darles dos flechas a cada uno (izquierda y derecha). En el Google slideshow (presentación) van a ver dos palabras. Una de estas palabras es un cognado (amigo real) y la otra es un amigo falso. Ustedes necesitan usar las flechas para indicar hacia qué lado está el cognado.

7. Reveal the correct answer by going to the next slide.

La próxima diapositiva va a enseñarnos la respuesta correcta.

¡Las palabras son (cognados/amigos falsos)!

Main Activity

Materials Needed For Main Activity:

  • Find a Selection of Ads from Spanish Newspapers or Magazines (If you don’t have access to these resources, try searching Google Images for “Anuncios de Revistas”)
  • Whiteboard Markers & Erasers

1. Students will be provided with a set of magazine ads. In partners or groups, students will have one minute to underline the words they believe are cognates.

Ahora, vamos a buscar (use gesture for looking around) cognados diferentes en anuncios de revistas que son escritos en español. Unos ejemplos de revistas son People, Sports Illustrated, Newsweek, The Economist, etc.

2. In partners, the students will have about 1 minute to underline the words they think are cognates. Students can write down the cognates they find on a whiteboard

En parejas, van a tener un minuto para identificar todos los cognados en el anuncio. Después, van a compartir sus respuestas. Pueden escribir los cognados que encuentran en una pizarra.

3. After everyone is done, the pairs will ask the rest of the group to vote on whether they think words from their magazine article are cognates or not. Each pair will choose 3-5 cognates they found and read them out loud to everyone. 

Como grupo vamos a determinar si los cognados que escribieron son “amigos reales” o “amigos falsos.” Cada pareja debe escoger 3-5 cognados de su revista y compartirlos con el resto del grupo.

4. When everyone is done, students will vote on whether they believe the words are cognates or not. Ask the group whether they think what the word is in English. The instructor will let students know if they are correct and provide the correct meaning of the word.

El grupo va a decir : “Sí, es un amigo real” o “No, es un amigo falso.”  El grupo también va a determinar qué significa el cognado en inglés y el instructor les va a decir si es correcto o no.

5. You may play Cognate Bingo as time permits. Students will receive bingo cards and the instructor will read off words in Spanish from the Bingo Caller’s Card. The students will mark their cards with the English cognate and when they have four markers in a row they win the round.

Van a jugar loteria de cognados y el instructor va leer las cartas. Los estudiantes van a marcar sus cartas con el cognado en Ingles y se gana cuando tengan cuatro en fila 

Wrap Up

Ask the students the following questions to finish the lab: 
  1. ¿Cuál es tu cognado favorito? (Which is your favorite cognate?)
  2. En tu opinión, ¿hay muchos cognados en Español? (In your opinion, are there many cognates in Spanish?)
  3. ¿Puedes dar otros ejemplos de cognados? (Can you give other examples of cognates?)


• Read Can-Do statements once more and have students evaluate their confidence.
(Use thumbs up/thumbs down or download our student cards.)
• Encourage students to be honest in their self-evaluation.
• Pay attention, and try to use feedback for future activities!

NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements:

  • I can recognize cognates in English and Spanish
  • I can answer a simple yes or no question
  • I can use cognates to guess the meaning of a word when similar to English or a language I know



How to Revise or Remix a Pathways Project Activity

Feeling creative?  The Pathways Project needs your help in revising and remixing activities for the K-16 language classroom.

Try taking an activity to the next level by:

  • Add new content (something you’ve created or another OER source)
  • Contribute additional activity suggestions
  • Integrate authentic materials such as videos, infographics, photos, etc.
  • Suggest how to implement the activity in the classroom
  • Customize the content for a specific audience or group of learners (for example, K-5 learners or to differentiate for student’s needs)


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Let's Chat! Spanish Copyright © 2022 by Amber Hoye; Kelly Arispe; Abby Cain; Alejandra Garcia; Alejandro Montoya; Alexis Araiza; Anna Gamino; Ashley Johnson; Ashley Potzernitz; Ashlyn Nutting; Austin Robishaw; Blake Simony; Brooke Staszkow; Camille Daw; Carla Lara; Cecilia Morales; Chloe Robinson; Claire Werlin; Daniel Felix; Danielle Snyder; Elian Tovar; Emily Hawley; Gabby Bates; German Tovar; Iris Torres; Ismenia Gallegos; Jaelyn Quisel; Jenna Del Toro; Jordyn Preble; Jorge Corea; Julia Dryer; Kailyn Phillips; Kimberly Murphy; Leah Alboucq; Lillian Cobb; Linzy Carpenter; Madalen Bieter Lete; Madi Goertzen; Mariela Montoya; Maya Grubaugh; Mayra Saldivar; Natalie Mendoza; Nicholas Sulier; Ninna Payne; Reynaldo Nunez; Ryan Byrd; Sergio Sarmiento; Sue Juarez; Tea Recanzone; Thaïs Lacar; and Yuliana Cisneros is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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