Students do the Create A Country ESL project in pairs or small groups, then present their country to the class.
You may want to present a sample from an example country that you have invented. If you want the students to create posters/maps, you will need a piece of A3 paper for each group (and coloured pens/pencils if they don’t have them already).
There is a wide range of information the students could include about their countries. At the basic level students would need the name, the capital, location, language, currency, popular sights, weather, animals, and sports etc.
However, this could be expanded to include details like rules and laws, holidays/festivals, customs, geography, social/environmental policies, manufactured goods etc. The information you ask for will depend on the age and level of your class, your target language and the amount of time you have available. Suggesting extras like a flag or national anthem can be fun too.
Divide the class into groups of two, three or four students.
- Elicit possible country information to include in the project, and write it on the board.
- Each group invents their own country and writes sentences to describe it and its people. If you have a kids class that you think would prefer it, they could create planets instead.
- The students can just write sentences in their notebook. But it’s often more fun for them to create a poster or map with pictures, or produce a computer presentation.
- When they have finished, each group presents their country to the rest of the class.
- As an extension, students could describe the relative position and/or relations between the different countries created. If the students created maps, why not stick the countries together on the wall to create a ‘world map’? This is great for an eye-catching display with school kids – each class could even have their own ‘planet’!
You also have the option to focus the descriptions on certain vocabulary that you have been studying. Two that work particularly well are geography and nature, with students required to describe the various climatic regions, natural environments, features, plants and animals in their country. As such it’s a great cross-curricular option for school-age kids too.
Alternatively, why not do the Create A Country ESL project towards the end of a term/year, and ask students to incorporate all the vocabulary topics they have learned?
With intermediate students, the project is particularly suited to practising modal verbs or the present simple passive voice.
If your target language is modal verbs, students can write sentences describing what visitors are able to do in the country using modal verbs of permission, rules/laws they should be aware of using modal verbs of obligation, and/or recommendations using modal verbs for advice.
If you are working on the present simple passive voice, direct them towards topics suited to that grammar. For example what language is spoken, what sports are played, what food is eaten, what products are grown/manufactured, the currency and transport used etc.
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