Fruit and Nut Problem Solving


MAIN AIMS Speaking to describe processes, noticing and looking up vocabulary, improving group dynamics and motivation

SUITABLE FOR Younger learners, teens and adults, Intermediate (B1) and above

TEACHER’S NOTES (Click here for a pdf of the Teacher’s Notes)

1.  Ask your learners to form small groups. They tell each other whether they think they are good at solving problems. They can interpret problems however they want e.g at home, at work, practical, mathematical etc.

2.  Elicit some examples and reasons from people who said yes.

3.  Show them this screenshot and present them with the problem: they have to get the peanut out of the long test tube without using any tools, turning it upside-down or breaking it. Tell them that the test tube is attached to the base and the base is attached to the table. Give them three minutes to come up with suggestions while you circulate and help with vocabulary.

4.  Elicit suggestions from the groups.

5.  Play this video so that they can compare their suggestions with the solution.

6.  Now tell them that they’re going to have a small creativity competition. Display these pictures of fruit and elicit the name of each one.

7.  Divide the class into two halves, A and B, and then subdivide each half into smaller groups of three or four. Group A gets kiwi, mango and watermelon and group B gets pomegranate, orange and strawberry.

8.  Tell them that they have to describe the best way to eat the fruit with minimum waste and maximum ease. They can use tools. Let them use mobiles or dictionaries to look up vocabulary while you circulate helping them to express what they want to say.

9.  Now have all the A groups compare their suggestions with each other on one side of the room while all the B groups do the same on the other side.

10.  Put individual As and Bs together in pairs and ask them to explain the techniques for their three fruits to each other.

11.  Now play this video. Did anyone come up with something similar? Which one surprised them the most?

12. As a follow-up, tell them to eat one of the six types of fruit using the method suggested and either video or photograph the result to show in the following class.


Introducing Carrot

Image made using photos taken from by @thornburyscott, @ALiCe__M and @purple_steph used under a CC Attribution Non-Commercial license,

Image made using photos taken from by @purple_steph, @ALiCe_M, @thornburyscott and @thornburyscott used under a CC Attribution Non-Commercial license,

MAIN AIMS Speaking to negotiate and persuade, vocabulary expansion, listening for detail

SUITABLE FOR Teens and adults, Upper-intermediate (B2), except the last step, Advanced (C1).

TEACHER’S NOTES  (Click here for a pdf of the Teacher’s Notes)

1. Ask your students to form four small groups (or eight for a larger class).

2. Show them the mosaic above (or use this one). Tell them to use their mobiles to find out the names of the fruit and vegetables shown (from top left to bottom right: red cabbage, Brussels sprout, quince, artichoke).

3. Ask them to tell each other whether they they like these foods and how often they eat them.

4. Assign one of the photos to each group. Tell them that they work for an advertising agency which has been given the job of marketing these unglamorous products to teenagers. They have to come up with an idea for a one-minute commercial that will change the way the target market sees their fruit or vegetable. Set a time limit of ten minutes.

5. Each team presents their idea to the rest of the class, who then vote for the one they like best.

6. Now tell students that they are going to see a video promoting another common vegetable.

7. Play the video. After watching, in their groups students note down all the words they heard that they would normally associate with a touchscreen device.

8. Display this word cloud containing vocabulary from the clip and tell students to look up any new words.

9. Form new groups and play the video again. With their new partners, they have to use the vocabulary from the word cloud to describe the features of “carrot”.

10. Display or hand out the full text so learners can compare what they said with the original version.

11. They will probably ask about the reference to integration with Beats by Dre. Play the video again from 00:38 to 00:40 and pause it. Explain that Beats by Dre is a company that produces audio equipment, mainly headphones and speakers., which was acquired by Apple in 2014. Tell students to look at the image on the screen. Does anyone know the name of the brownish vegetable? It’s a beet (in American English) or beetroot (in British English).

12. Students look at the word cloud again. Do they know any other meanings of the words? Once they’ve had a chance to discuss / check in dictionaries, ask them to do this exercise. (Here are the answers.)



Unusual Sports

Image made using photos taken from by Efi Tzour, Christina Martidou, @sandymillin, @ij64, @senicko, Mr_Schenk, @SerraRoseli, @vickyloras and @mamalarut used under a CC Attribution Non-Commercial license,

Image made using photos taken from by Efi Tzour, Christina Martidou, @sandymillin, @ij64, @senicko, Mr_Schenk, @SerraRoseli, @vickyloras and @mamalarut used under a CC Attribution Non-Commercial license,


MAIN AIMS  Sports vocabulary and talking about sport

SUITABLE FOR Teens and adults, Intermediate (B1) and above

TEACHER’S NOTES (Click here for a pdf of the Teacher’s Notes)

1. Display the mosaic above (or use this one). Put students in pairs and get them to talk about the sports: which have they done / watched / would like to do? Where    are they played? What equipment do you need? What are the rules, if any? What vocabulary do students need to talk about them?

2. Feedback – let students ask about vocabulary and write it on the board. Challenge them, collectively, to come up with at least ten vocabulary questions.

3. Regroup the students so that they are working with a different partner. They repeat step 1, this time including the vocabulary that came up in the previous step.

4. Feedback – which sport generated the most conversation?

5. Now divide the class into two groups. Tell them that you’re going to give each group the name of a sport and they should decide / make up how it’s played, rules, referee or not, team or individual etc.

6. Give one group a card with chess boxing written on it and the other a card with dog boarding on it.. Give groups a few minutes to talk about their sport and make some notes.

7. Pair a Dogboarder with a Chess Boxer. The Chess Boxer tells the Dogboarder about their sport. The Dogboarder can ask questions. If the Chess Boxer doesn’t know the answer, they should make one up.

8. Now play this video from the beginning to 01:11 and see how close the Chess Boxers’ descriptions came to the actual sport.

9. Repeat step 7 with the Dogboarders explaining their sport to the Chess Boxers and then play this video:

10. Tell students that no dogs were harmed in the making of the video and ask which sport they’d prefer to do. Do they know any other unusual sports? Send them home to research one and tell a partner about it in the next class, preferably with photos or a video on their mobile or tablet.


Tiny Hamsters Eating Tiny Burritos

Hamster by Turquoise Field is licensed under CCBY2.0

Hamster by Turquoise Field is licensed under CCBY2.0


MAIN ACTIVITIES  Speculation, Comparison, Speaking about viral videos

SUITABLE FOR Teens and adults, Upper-Intermediate (B2.1) and above.

TEACHER’S NOTES   (Click here for a pdf of the Teacher’s Notes.)


Display this photo of a monkey.  Tell students to describe what they can see and say what they think is going to happen next. Get some feedback. Then display this photo and get students to speculate. What do they think it could be?


Tell students that they are going to watch a video. Put them in A/B pairs sitting back to back, with Student A facing the screen. Turn the sound off. Tell students that you’re going to play a video and Student A is going to describe to Student B what they see on the screen while it’s happening.


Play the clip from 00:03 to 00:44. Student B listens and can take notes.


Now tell students to change places. Play this video (no sound) from 00:06 to 01:12. Student B describes to Student A, who takes notes.


Still in the same pairs, students write down as many similarities and differences between the two videos as they can. Encourage them to use linking words of contrast of comparison.


Now regroup the students so that each one is working with a new partner (i.e. AA / BB pairs). They take it in turns to read out a sentence until they have none left. How many different words and phrases did they use to compare the videos? (e.g. Both videos show …. / One video was shot indoors while the other was filmed outside etc.)


Now it’s time to watch both videos. Play the first one again, with sound. Then play the second one. Any reactions to the videos? Why do students think they were made? (The monkey video advertises Go Pro Cameras while the hamster video was created by a social media agency called Denizen.) Would students share the videos on social media? Why (not)? Tell them that one of these videos went viral: Which one? (The hamster clip)


Get students to think of a video that they have shared on social media or one which has been shared with them. When they’ve had time to think, they tell a partner about the video and why they shared / watched it.


Send them the link to this TED talk to watch at home. In the next class, ask:

  • Would you like to do the speaker’s job?
  • Which of the clips had you seen before?
  • According to the speaker, what are the three reasons why a video goes viral?


Wonderful World

Vivid Color by ccmerino is licensed under CCBY2.0

Vivid Color by ccmerino is licensed under CCBY2.0

MAIN ACTIVITIES Listening, discussion, vocabulary of animals and geographical features.

SUITABLE FOR Teens and adults, Intermediate (B1) and above

TEACHER’S NOTES  (Click here for a pdf of the Teacher’s Notes.)


Display this word cloud or make your own at Tell students that it contains the lyrics of a well-known song. Give them a minute to try and identify the song.


Display the second word cloud, which contains the song title. Did they get it right?


Tell them to draw a grid four squares by four squares. They choose sixteen words from the cloud and write one word in each square of their grid.


Play the video – sound only, with the screen blank. Students cross out each word they hear in their grid and afterwards compare what they heard / didn’t hear with a partner.


Display or hand out a copy of the lyrics so that students can see where their words appear in the song and check new vocabulary if necessary.


Put students in pairs and assign each pair two lines of the song. Tell them that they are going to think about images to include in a video for the song. What images will they include to illustrate their two lines? Encourage them to use the lines as a starting point. It isn’t enough to say “Some green trees and red roses.” (Describe the trees. Where are they? Any people? Who are they? What are they doing? etc.)


Give them a few minutes to come up with some ideas and then ask each pair to tell the rest of the class what images they agreed on.


Now play the video so that students can compare their images with the ones used in the video. How many can they remember? You could do this as a competition: put students in groups and get them to write down as many animals / geographical features as they can. Award two points for words they know in English and one point for words in their own language.


Finish off by choosing some questions for students to discuss from these teflpedia pages: Animals, Animal Rights, The Environment.

Giraffe Fight


MAIN ACTIVITIES Visualization, speaking, gap fill, vocabulary acquisition, prediction.

SUITABLE FOR Teens and adults, Pre-Advanced (B2.2) and above

TEACHER’S NOTES  (Click here for a pdf of the Teacher’s Notes.)


Tell students that they are going to listen to something with their eyes closed. After listening, they tell a partner about the images they visualized. Who did they see? Where? What were they doing? Why? etc. Play from 00:25 to 01:02 (sound only).

Students tell each other what they visualized in as much detail as possible. Ask a couple of students to tell the rest of the class what they talked about. Did most people have similar ideas?

Play the clip again, this time with both sound and images. Students (in pairs) answer the questions in step 1 based on what they saw. (Two male giraffes are going to fight over a female in the African desert.)

Tell students that they are going to read a description of the fight. Display or give them a copy of the script. They read it quickly and say which word which is out of place.

Now they work together to replace the word banana** with another word (a different one for each banana).

Play the video from 01:05 to 03:23 so that students can compare what they wrote with the words used in the documentary. (rival, chance, blows, desert, fight, legs, reign)

Students vote on which giraffe will win – the old bull or the young rival. Play the clip until 04:35 and ask how the the old giraffe won (He ducked and aimed a blow at his rival’s underbelly). Tell students that the young giraffe didn’t die; he was just knocked out.


Say that the clip comes from the first episode of the BBC series Africa, and encourage those who like nature programmes to look for more David Attenborough documentaries and watch them in English. If you have a class wiki, students can look for nature clips on YouTube, upload them and comment on each other’s choices.
** The banana idea comes from this post about different ways to do a gap fill / cloze on David Petrie’s blog.



A Brief Encounter with Grammar : I Wish

I wish A3 web


Main Activities Prediction, listening, grammar (wishes) and speaking.

Suitable for  Teens and adults, Pre-Advanced (B2.2) and above.

TEACHER’S NOTES    (Click here for a pdf of theTeacher’s Notes.)


Put students into groups of three or four. Tell them that they’re going to see a short extract from a film.


Show the film from 07:18 to 10:11.

Then ask them to discuss the following questions:

  • What’s happened to the woman?
  • What’s the relationship between the two women?
  • Is she glad that the other woman is keeping her company?


Get some theories from the groups and write them up on the board. Tell them that you’ll reveal the answer later.


Now see if anyone can answer this question: Which word did she use eight times? Hopefully, someone will come up with the answer “wish”.


Ask them if they can remember any of the things she said using it.


Show them the scene again, but don’t let them write as they watch. When they’ve seen it, ask them to complete the gaps in these sentences.


Let them decide if they’d like to see it one more time to check/improve their answers. Alternatively, play it again, pausing after each sentence.


Display or hand out the answers.


Ask them to divide the sentences (except 3 and 4) into two groups with different meanings and forms. They should decide what the meanings are and describe the rule for the form.


Display the first block of the infographic (either use the one above or click here for the first block only) so they can check their two groups and then reveal the second block, Groups 1 and 2, to see if they have come up with the same.


Now display the plot summary so they can see how close their theories were in step 3.


Ask how she feels about the affair. Does she regret it or not?


Display the third block of the infographic, True or False?. Ask the class to vote on whether the sentences are true or false. Then play the video from 09:27-10:11 again. (This shows that the first one is obviously false – the other two are debatable.)


Now ask them to make a third group for “wish” that describes the structure and meaning for these last three examples. They should come up with something like wish + past perfect verb form, used to express regret about the past.


Finally, reveal the fourth block of the infographic, Over to You, and ask students to complete the stem sentences with true desires, complaints and regrets of their own.


Get students to sit in groups of three, read their sentences to each other and then explain and comment.



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