Mini Disasters

In the Mini Disasters ESL activity, students say what they could have done to avoid the situations given to them.

Students for Mini Disasters ESL Activity:4+Time for Mini Disasters ESL Activity:10-20 mins
Resources for Mini Disasters ESL Activity:

If you have a projector and the Internet available, a good way to introduce the idea of a ‘mini disaster’ is to show one of the “Should’ve gone to Specsavers” adverts. You could also present images of a similar kind (someone late for work, someone sunburnt etc.) and ask students how people could have avoided these situations.

Each student will need two or three small pieces of scrap paper. The papers should be big enough to write at least one sentence on.

  1. Give the students some examples of ‘mini disasters’, e.g. you spill coffee on your homework, you arrive at a party and everyone has brought a present except you, you run out of fuel while driving and have to walk to the nearest petrol/gas station.
  2. Students write one mini disaster on each of their papers, in the present tense. Encourage students to be creative and use their own lives as inspiration.
  3. Students then either swap papers using the Snowball Fight technique, or pull folded papers out of a hat/bag/box at random, one at a time. If you have a large class, you could also divide it into smaller groups at this point.
  4. Students take turns reading a situation, then explaining what they should have done, or how the situation could have been avoided. For example, I should have gone to the gas station earlier, or If I had gone to the gas station earlier I wouldn’t have had to walk.
Target Language

The Mini Disasters ESL activity is a great way to practise modal verbs of regret or the third conditional with intermediate or advanced level students. Specify what students have to say in the last part of the activity according to your target grammar.

For a similar activity to practise the second conditional, see Sticky Situations.

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