In the Around The World ESL activity, students describe a multi-stage journey involving various forms of transportation.
If possible, prepare a map that you can project/stick on the board. This can be used to help students plan and for illustration purposes during presentations.
In class, divide the students into groups of two or three.
Optionally, you could introduce the activity with a video clip/trailer from the movie ‘Around The World in Eighty Days‘. Ask students to note down the different types of transport they see.
- Each group plans a route around the world, starting and finishing where they currently are. They should include interesting places that they would like to visit on the way.
- The only criteria for the route is that they must use ten different modes of transportation. This may influence the route, as they should try and use creative forms of transport (e.g. snowmobile, hot air balloon, elephant).
- The students write out a step-by-step description of their route, using the target language. You can choose whether this is to be a description in the past simple, or a plan in the future with going to.
- The groups take turns presenting their journey to the class, using spoken target language.
- After each presentation, you could ask the students listening what they think will be the most exciting/dangerous/expensive part of the trip.
There are a few different ways you can use the Around The World ESL activity. With beginners for example, you could just focus on practising the transport vocabulary (in the tense of your choice). With low-level beginners, give them the future with going to structure as a template.
Alternatively, you could use it to practise the past simple or future with going to specifically. Either way, they should practise using different verbs for different types of transport (e.g. took the train to Paris, sailed across the Atlantic, drove to Los Angeles).
Another option is for beginner students to use sequence adverbs for the different sections of their route. In this case you may want to reduce the number of steps/types of transport required.
With intermediate students, use the Around The World ESL activity in a class on the topic of travel. They should add extra information such as how long each leg of the journey will take, how much it might cost etc. Encourage questions about these details after each presentation too.
Finally, it also works well as a cross-curricular geography activity for school-age kids. In this case students should include the names of cities, oceans/seas, rivers, mountains, deserts etc. as much as possible.
For a fun guessing game that involves describing countries and natural environments, try Where Am I.
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