ESL Activities and Games | Teaching the future perfect and continuous tenses

Technology | 60 - 90 minutes

This upper-intermediate ESL lesson plan is the second of three lessons on technology. It contains activities, games and resources for teaching English students how to to use the future perfect and continuous tenses.

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Use of the board

Step through each tense with your students and focus on their functional application. Try to elicit examples and add the best ones to the board.

EFL - ESL Lead-in activity | Upper-intermediate | Future tenses | B2


Building the future

Students will work in pairs to create grammatically correct sentences, using the idioms from the previous lesson's game and future tenses.

Start by adding the following prompts to the board:

1. To pull the plug | future continuous
2. Hit the panic button | future perfect simple
3. A well-oiled machine | future perfect continuous
4. Blow a fuse | will and going to
5. To be on the same wavelength | present continuous

Try to elicit the meaning of the idioms (See the game from lesson 1).

Next, divide the students into pairs or groups of three and have them write a statement for each prompt. They may use two sentences if they wish. If they do, they should be contextually or logically connected. Encourage the use of dictionaries or smartphones if they are available.

When the groups are ready with their sentences, correct them together and add the best ones to the board.

Sample answers
1. Tomorrow evening, they'll be pulling the plug on this whole project.
2. Steve will have already hit the panic button by the time they arrive.
3. Before the end of the March deadline, they'll have been running like a well-oiled machine for months.
4. Jennifer is going to blow a fuse when she sees this. (prediction)
5. We're having a meeting about the finances tomorrow. Hopefully, they're on the same wavelength.

Future talk

Students will work in pairs to talk about the future.

Start by adding the following prompts to the board:

1. possible for humans in 100 years.
2. will have disappeared 100 years from now.
3. event that takes place next year.
4. a future plan.
5. as soon as you can afford it.

Before they begin, elicit which tenses they might use for each and why.

1. Multiple (give examples)
2. Multiple (give examples)
3. going to (talk about future events)
4. going to (something we have planned to do)
5. present simple (as soon as + present simple)

Finally, the students will take turns talking about the future. They should tell their partner something for each of the prompts. Encourage your students to ask questions and give their own opinions on their partner's thoughts.

Homework: Topical reading

Students have to read and summarise an article where an influential figure talks about the societal impact of a specific technology.

Try to elicit some possible topics, add them to the board and discuss each one as a group. Some examples:

Artificial intelligence
Stem cell therapies
Space travel
Life extension
Man blending with machine
The discovery of alien life

Then elicit the names of some influential figures who they think may have commented on these topics, and discuss what they think their thoughts or concerns might be on the issue. For example:

Elon Musk
Bill Gates
Professor Stephen Hawking
Mark Zuckerberg
Neil deGrasse Tyson

Tell your students that they will have to answer questions about their chosen article at the beginning of the next lesson, and give their own opinion on the topic and their subject's thoughts.

Add this outline to the board and tell your students to use it to plan their summaries. They don't have to follow it exactly.

1st paragraph: Description of the technology and possible benefits to humanity.
2nd paragraph: The subject's concerns and what qualifies their opinion.
3rd paragraph: Your thoughts and opinion.


Charades: Gadgets and technology

Students have to mime everyday items of technology while their teammates try to guess the correct answer.

Start by dividing the class into two teams and have each side select their performer. On each turn, write down the name of five gadgets/inventions on a piece of paper and give it to the performing student. That student must then represent these to their team using only gestures. Their teammates earn a point when they guess it correctly.

Set a stopwatch for two minutes. The team with the most points or best time wins.

Here are a few gadget ideas to get you started:

1. Alarm clock
2. Stopwatch
3. Stapler
4. battery
5. Toaster
6. Torch/flashlight
7. Sticky tape/Sellotape/tape
8. Hair dryer
9. Fire extinguisher
10. Polaroid camera

More B2 ESL lesson plans for upper-intermediate students

We hope that you found a few of these ideas useful. Our next free lesson in this series is on expressing certainty and possibility. Also, Be sure to bookmark our complete list of upper-intermediate level ESL lesson plans, as well as our entire collection of ESL courses.

Printable versions of all resources are available to members. View a sample
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