Ideas: Zombies and the Second Conditional

zombieheadThe second conditional is something I have seen in almost every ESL/EFL coursebook, at all levels. The second conditional is a grammatical construction that is used to discuss unlikely, hypothetical, or imaginary events: What would you do if you were attacked by zombies? This kind of grammar lends itself well to using zombies. Last semester, when I taught this point, I created a conversation activity/game that was based around a zombie apocalypse happening in South Korea, specifically Busan (where I teach) It was a very successful game, one which the students enjoyed and found very useful. I hope to use it again soon. In the meantime, I’d like to share it with you. Here is the basic breakdown of the activity:

After hearing the grammar in context, learning its rules and uses, and some practice, I introduced the following activity:

1. Individually, students were introduced to the general situation and were told to choose 10 essential things they would bring with them during a zombie attack. These would be 10 things they can fit in their backpack. For fun, and to stay semi-realistic, no guns were allowed (there are very few guns outside the police and military in Korea).

2. Next, I arranged students into groups of 3 or 4. Students worked in small groups to brainstorm what they may do if Busan was overrun with zombies. For this, they filled out this prepsheet. Students only had to take notes so that they had ideas ready during the activity.

3. I used this PowerPoint to introduce and do the activity. Students work in groups and start with a certain number of lives. In their groups, students have about 10 seconds to determine what they would do for each situation that appears on the screen. For each situation, a student from each group explains what they would do. If they made a grammar mistake, they lose a life. Then, based on their answer, they either lose or gain additional lives. For each situation, a new student must speak (i.e. speaking rotates in their groups). During the activity, there are a few surprise situations they did not prepare for. This keeps them on their toes and really tests their language skills. In the end, the group with the most lives becomes the ultimate zombie survivors.

The PowerPoint I have included was inspired by a similar game found on waygook.org. I cannot find the original post, so I can’t give proper credit. Feel free to change the powerpoint in any way you’d like. If you have any questions, or if you use the activity, please drop me a comment.

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