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EFL - ESL activities and games for teaching conditionals

An ESL lesson plan for teaching conditionals to intermediate level students (B1). Use this as a stand-alone ESL lesson plan, or to supplement an existing one on a similar or related topic. The best way to view this content is through the TEFL Handbook app. So if you have an iOS or Android device, be sure to check it out.

Lead-in activity

The board work below shows one way that we can introduce this topic. Step through each of the conditionals, explaining their functional use and demonstrating some examples. Use the colour-coded text to give you an idea of how the student-teacher interaction should play out. Try to elicit further examples to confirm that your students have understood the points that you have presented.

EFL - ESL Lead-in activity for conditionals | Intermediate

ESL classroom activities

One condition

Students work individually to make conditional sentences from a list of scenarios.

Add the following statements to the board and tell your students to use conditional constructions to create sentences with a similar meaning. Before they begin, elicit the solution to the first statement and add it to the board.

1. You're unhealthy because you eat too much fast food.
2. They have no money because they don't have a job.
3. I lost the match because I played poorly.
4. He's always tired because he goes to bed too late.
5. We'll have to walk to work because we don't have a car.

Once they have finished, they should compare their answers with a partner.

1. If you didn't eat fast food, you would be healthy.
2. If they had a job, they would have money.
3. If I played well, I would have won the match.
4. If he goes to bed earlier, he won't be so tired.
5. If we had a car, we wouldn't have to walk to work.

Conditional train

For this writing activity, students will work in groups of two or three to create a list of related conditional statements.

Start by telling your students that they must make eight conditional statements. The beginning of each new sentence must be the result of the previous one. Start with the fragment "If we won the lottery..."

Encourage them to be as imaginative and funny as possible and review the results in reverse at the end. Groups will find it interesting to see how different or similar their ideas are.

Conditional chain

A speaking activity where students have to make a conditional statement based on a prior classmate's sentence.

Tell your students that they are going to take turns making conditional sentences. The resulting fragment of the previous sentence will act as the condition for the next.

Depending on the number and ability of your students, you can go round the room once or several times. A dialogue might look like the following:

Student A: If I get some money, I'll buy a car.
Student B: If I buy a car, I'll drive to Portugal.
Student C: If I drive to Portugal, I'll go to the beach.

Some starting points could be:

1. Go into town
2. No school tomorrow
3. Went to America
4. Met Justin Bieber
5. Wasn't allowed to use the internet

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Related games

Board game 

You'll need dice or a dice app on your phone to play this whiteboard board game that practises conditionals. 

Start by dividing the class into two teams and drawing a path from one side of the whiteboard to the other. Make the board as long as you want, but 15 to 25 spaces should be enough. 

On each turn, one student will have 30 seconds to describe a random topic or word to their teammates using only conditional statements. If the team guesses the word correctly, that player rolls the dice and moves to the new space. Use vocabulary or concepts from a themed vocabulary list suitable for intermediate level students.

More B1 ESL lesson plans

We hope that you were able to grab a few ideas from this lesson plan. Our suggested next lesson is on the passive voice. Be sure to check out our complete selection of intermediate level lesson plans. For other levels, have a look at the entire collection of ESL lesson plans. Also, if you are an iOS or Android user, the best way to view this content is through the TEFL Handbook app. An ESL lesson planner for English teachers, designed for in-class use.

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