I Call Cap On That

A Card Game Twist on Two Truths and a Lie


Yes, it is early on Thanksgiving morning, and I am writing a post. I had plans to take the day off, sleep in, cook, eat, and visit with the family. However, my brain had other ideas. I found myself awake at 5 in the morning thinking about a new fun formative spin on the “Two Truths and a Lie” game, and I call it, “I Call Cap on That.” I credit my husband for the title since he always says “I call cap” or “I call cap on that” to me and/or the kids when he thinks we are making something up or to tease us after we tell about something we’ve heard, read, or experienced during the day. If you or your students aren’t familiar with the expression, my students in 2020 defined them as

  • cap–false, lies, fake
  • no cap–truth, for real

(For more fun American slang vocabulary, see my post, High Key Relationship Building.) You can apply these, cap/no cap, to things we are learning in class, not just things about ourselves in a “get to know me” activity. This is what woke me up at 5 a.m. on a holiday.


This idea works with any subject or content you are teaching and:


I am a big proponent of turning over areas of lesson designing to students. While I head into class with a clear outline of what I want students to accomplish, I am more than willing to give them the opportunity to refine the details of my plan’s execution. When it comes to building game elements into a lesson, my students are the pros at making it more fun for them while at the same time, retaining or enhancing the impact on their learning. So take the following learning activity, try it in your classroom, then encourage your students to find ways to improve it.



Always know your “why” for whatever you do in your classroom. Have the standard(s), learning objectives or targets, “I can statements,” and success criteria in mind as you set this up. The overarching why for this activity is to help students get the current learning into long-term memory.


  • After the lecture portion of your lesson
  • at the end of the class period
  • at the beginning of class
  • as a formative check point
  • review for a summative
  • at any point where students have consumed content and you need to see what they have retained or learned



Step 1: Give students 3 to 5 index cards, depending on how long you want the activity to last.

Step 2: Have each student write 2 (for a 3 card game) or 3 (for a 5 card game):

  • truths or facts from your lecture or a text
  • claim, evidence, reasoning
  • correctly worked out math problems
  • vocabulary words and definitions
  • grammar concepts within sentences
  • theme / central ideas from the text
  • any true or correct things dealing with your priority standard

Step 3: Have each student write 1 (for a 3 card game) or 2 (for a 5 card game) false, wrong, fake item(s) from the above list or that deals with your priority standard.

Step 4: Group students by your current seating arrangement or however you want them grouped, but keep all groups between 3-5 students.

Step 5: Each student keeps their own score, you can appoint a scorekeeper per group, or have students rotate and take turns keeping score for the group. If a student was absent for any reason during the lesson this activity covers, then that student could be the scorekeeper and judge, having a resource available to consult if there is a dispute before asking the teacher to intervene.

Step 6: Have all students lay one card down for each round. Everyone in the group looks over the cards and determines if the cards that are laid down are Cap (false, fake, wrong) or No Cap (true, correct, real). The round must consider each card, one at a time, and all vote or call Cap or No Cap. If a card is Cap, then all students who called Cap on that get the points for that card. All students who called No Cap on that card get zero points. The author of the card gets double the points if at least one person believed their Cap card was true.


Pro Tip 1: Have the author of a Cap card that receives one or more No Cap votes explain to their group why their Cap card is fake, wrong, untrue at the end of each round.

Pro Tip 2: Prepare extension materials or rounds for groups where everyone gets all the cards right. Either have directions ready for more application style things to put on the cards, or give them extension materials for all to read quickly (set a timer) then begin the card rounds again.

Pro Tip 3: After a full round, have the winners group together for a championship lightning round.

As you prepare for this, remember to let students help design or modify the game elements. Games like Balderdash mixed with 2 Truths and A Lie provided inspiration for this activity. You and your students may have different games to pull from, but whatever you do, have fun with your students as you combine research-based practices with game elements. Let the learning begin!


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