Saturday, 17 December 2011

CLIL lesson for Science/Geography

This lesson plan is another "present" by Dr Diana Hicks. Brilliant course and brilliant teacher indeed. So, once again, thank you Mrs Hicks and thank you Comenius :)
I was planning to try this activity in one of my History courses, as it can be adapted to suit different subjects. But in the end I never actually had the time to try it with my students since, as it often happens, we had to rush through things during this first semester.
But rest assured, it will be for the new year! And for all of you who asked me for some scientific activity, why don't you give it a try? You could have fun and, why not, find some interesting variation to this lesson. Let me know!


about 20 students - 12/13 years old

subjects: Science/Geography/Technology/History (or better, all of them! these disciplines are connected)

Pupils drawing on their own, then working in groups of 4/5

Instructions given in English - pupils can answer and discuss, when needed, both in English and in mother tongue.


1) Take a piece of paper and draw a river - this will be river Nile

2) Draw lots of fields close to the river (drawing squares of different sizes will be fine) - these are your fields
3) You're a  farmer and you wait for the water to come to the fields, so your crops can grow
4) Take your drawing with you and sit in groups. Each group will be given a dice.

5) Now, the members of the group roll the dice 5 times each

6) Each time, after rolling the dice, put a cross on your fields corresponding to the number you got on the dice (example: you got 5, you put a cross on 5 of your fields; you got 3, you put a cross on 3 of your fields, etc.)
7) When all the members of the group have rolled their dice 5 times, count your crosses. If you're under 20, you're DEAD.
8) Now, rolling the dice 5 times corresponds to 5 years. If you made less than 20 crosses, that means the river didn't reach enough of your fields, you didn't have enough water, and you couldn't grow your crops. You and your family were destined to die. Now you understand: living there is a gamble.
9) What could the people do to help the situation? Discuss with your group (English or mother tongue), then write down a short list of possible solutions: begin the sentence with "they could..."
10) All solutions are collected on the board
11) What did they really do? Let's take the book (or pc, or anything) and have a look together.
Well, I loved this activity when we tried it out at the training course (I always love role play, and I adore being the pupil !!! It's definitely less stressful than being the teacher... ok, points of view, I know). So I'll take advantage of this with one of my classes in the near future.

What do you think, can it be for you as well?


  1. Thank you Laura, that's great, and it could be very interesting in a Science lesson with some little adjustment. I should definitely give another try to those in service training courses!
    Another idea: what about filming one of these lessons and then sharing it? It could be interesting for all of us. I think I'll be trying in the near future...

  2. Thant’s another great idea. I do not know how you can find them all !
    It’s not just a CLIL lesson, it’s much more. You start teaching geography, science etc, but you finish giving your pupils a lesson about life. You make ancient Egypt people alive.
    And, in my opinion, this is THE way to make students learn.

  3. Thank you everybody, I just wanted to remind you that all my CLIL activities are collected in The Next Generation public Twinspace
    You can download them for free whenever you need :)

  4. Thank you Laura, I liked both of the activities and I will try them in my classes!
    Keep up with the good work

  5. Nice activity that could be adapted for younger students too. I'll try and let you know. Thank you for the amount of time you spend in sharing these tips with us!