Survival (teaching the infinitive)

Deserted Island

Survival on a deserted island

I absolutely love this lesson because it is a great way to get students working together and having fun while getting the hang of an important grammar point. The infinitive form of verbs.

to + verb
to cut, to start, to help, to protect etc.

I also like this lesson because it’s easily adaptable to levels and you only have to change the expected outcomes between beginner and advanced students.

Materials: One worksheet (which I will upload in a couple of days)
Time: Approximately 80 minutes

I start this lesson by doing a simple brainstorming activity to get the students thinking about the types of items they would want with them to survive on a deserted island. How you do the warmer is up to you but I like to be a bit direct and to the point with this as other parts of the lesson will take up more time. (students will undoubtedly mention things like, tent, knife, flashlight, blanket and other items they associate with camping)

Part 1: 
Pass out a worksheet to every student or in pairs if it’s a large class. Read the short description of the situation that they are in. (stranded on a tropical island etc) They will work together to choose 12 items from a list of 24 that they think will be essential for survival given the scenario provided.

The 24 items are as follows:
matches, batteries, flashlight, water purification tablets, insect repellent, rope, knife, bottled water, toilet paper, clean clothes, tooth brush, tent, map, pencil and paper, digital camera, umbrella, sunblock, sun glasses, fishing rod, mirror, blanket, energy bars, jacket, flare gun

Part 2: 
Once students have discussed this with their partner or come up with a list on their own then combine groups of students into 4-5. (again depending on classroom situation, odd number of students doesn’t matter)

Students will now discuss in groups and debate together which 12 items they should bring. Hopefully different pairs of students came up with different ideas and they’ll have to argue their point. This is where you need to present the language form to them.

Give some examples:
We will need to bring the umbrella “to protect” us from the sun and rain.
We should bring matches “to start a fire” “to keep us warm” ” to protect us from animals.”

Since the infinite form of verbs provides us a way to give reasons with out using the word, “because” encourage them not to say “because”  Students should provide more than one reason if possible for each 12 items.

Part 3: 
Now it’s time for the students to report back to the rest of the class and try to come up with a final list of 12 items that the whole class can agree on. I usually do this by adding the items that all or a majority of groups think are essential and then we debate the final few items as a class. Who ever has the best arguments or can convince other groups that their idea is better will get that item included.

Here you can have a pre-made list of the 12 most important items and tell them if they have at least 10 of them then we survive as a class but if we don’t then … well that’s fate.

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