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Environment | Ways of contrasting ideas

This free advanced ESL lesson plan is the second of three lessons on The environment. It contains classroom activities and games that show advanced-level students the different methods we can use when presenting contrasting ideas. And don't forget, if you use an iOS or Android device, you can get offline access to these materials through the TEFL Handbook app.

Lead-in activity

There is a lot on this board so you may only choose to focus on one particular aspect. Step through the different methods for contrasting ideas in English. Study the board work before the lesson and look for opportunities to elicit examples from your students. For example, after adding the first statement you might ask how it could be modified to make it more formal.

Highlight the correct usage of commas when using these structures. Draw particular attention to the fact that however and nevertheless are followed by and sometimes also preceded by commas.

ESL activities

Contrasting thoughts

The students have to complete sentences using the target language for the lesson.

Add the following prompts to the board and have students work individually to complete them with their own ideas.

1. Even though more people recycle these days, ...
2. I am aware that overpopulation is a major concern. However, ...
3. Whereas the current government are denying the effects of climate change, I ...
4. It's not that I don't care about the environment, but ...

When finished, they should discuss their solutions with a partner.

Depending on the size of the class, correct individually or as a group and add the best solutions to the board.

Further discussion: We can also use despite and in spite of (the fact that) to express contrast. Ask the students which examples from this activity could be modified to use one these? What other changes would you have to make?

For example:

Despite the fact that more people are recycling, ...

A tense moment

For this pair work activity, the students will create their own sentences about the environment using the grammar constructions from this lesson.

Divide the class into pairs and tell them to create one sentence from each of the following prompts:

1. oil spill / although / past
2. electric cars / whereas / future
3. Paris agreement / even though / present
4. marine life / however / past

The sentences should be in the tense indicated at the end of each prompt. You can let your students use smartphones to research their answers. In the end, discuss their statements as a group and correct any mistakes.

Homework prep: Writing a proposal

For this activity, we're going to prepare students for their homework assignment.

For homework, the students will have to write a formal proposal to their local government related to an environmental concern in their area. They should look for opportunities to use the contrasting language they have learned.

Discuss possible structures for this writing exercise, try to elicit the following and add it to the board:

Paragraph 1: Define the issue
Paragraph 2: Define the solution
Paragraph 3: Conclusion: Costs and benefits

Encourage your students to look for examples of proposal letters online before writing their own. Discuss the following:

What is the goal of a proposal letter? - To gain support for your idea.
What kind of language should they use? - Formal

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ESL classroom games

Hot seat: Environmental concepts

Students will have to describe environment-related concepts for the player in the hot seat.

Start by dividing the class into two teams. On each turn, one student will sit with their back to the board, facing their teammates. Next, you'll write the 3-5 prompts to the board.

When the round begins, students have to describe these to their teammate in the hot seat without using any significant words from the board. Set a time limit if you wish. Some examples to get you going:

1. Genetic modification
2. Ozone layer
3. Extinction
4. Radioactive
5. Biodegradable
6. Factory farming
7. Renewable energy
8. Acid rain
9. Fossil fuel
10. Toxic

Advanced ESL lesson plans

We hope that you found a few of these ideas useful. If you did, be sure to bookmark our complete list of advanced level ESL lesson plans, as well as our entire collection of ESL courses.

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