- Keywords: Homes, houses, first conditional, second conditional
- Learner English level: Low intermediate to high intermediate
- Learner maturity: High school to university
- Preparation time: 5 minutes
- Activity time: 75 minutes
- Materials: Paper, pencils, scissors, magazines, glue
This is a fun and engaging practice activity for the first and second conditionals that allows students to use these types of sentences in a tangible way. This lesson can easily be broken up into two parts depending on the length of your class periods.
Step 1: Prepare an example of your dream home on a large sheet of paper, poster, or PowerPoint slide. Include both a visual representation and the following information in note form: (1) the location of the home. For example, which country or city is it in and is it downtown or at the beach? etc., (2) how many floors and rooms it has, and (3) prominent features like swimming pools or home theaters (e.g., Location: city center, Barcelona. Floors: 2, etc.).
Step 1: Group students into pairs or groups of three.
Step 2: Explain that the students will be working together to build their dream home. Reference your own example and ask the students to work together with their partner(s) to decide on the same three pieces of information for their own dream homes and make a note of them.
Step 3: Allow the students enough time to work.
Step 4: When all groups have finished, model changing the notes about your dream home into second conditional sentences (e.g., If I built my dream home, it would be in the city center of Barcelona.).
Step 5: Allow students time to do the same. Monitor and assist as needed.
Step 6: When all groups have finished, explain that the students will now make a visual representation of the houses they have dreamed up. They may draw or use cutouts from magazines or, in cases where students have access to digital resources, they could also make slides or collages with images from the Internet.
Step 7: Pass out the materials to each group and allow the students time to work.
Step 8: When all groups have finished, have each group briefly present their home to the class using the sentences they wrote earlier.
Step 9: Next, have the students imagine that they have lived in their dream homes for many years, but now they want to sell them. Ask them to decide as a group on an asking price that they will tell buyers and a “secret price” that is the lowest they will accept.
Step 10: Show the students how to use the first conditional in sentences like, “If you lower your price to xxx, I’ll buy it!” and “If you raise your offer to xxx, I’ll sell it!” Model such a negotiation with one of the groups.
Step 11: Have one student from each group stay by their home to be the seller. Allow the other students to walk freely throughout the classroom, browsing the other groups’ homes, making offers on the ones they like, and negotiating until they buy one. After buying a home, they should return to their partner and change roles. Monitor and assist as necessary.
This activity not only gives students a chance to be creative and work cooperatively, it also provides ample opportunities for interaction using both prepared and spontaneous speech. Although this activity works better with students that have a larger vocabulary, it can be successful with low-intermediate students as the target grammar is relatively simple.