Fun 1st Conditional Practice
Stimulating ways of practising “If + Present Simple, Will” sentences in the classroom.
There are so many fun things that you can do with the first conditional that there is a danger of spending far too much time on it, so please read through the list below and select a couple rather than working your way through them!
The first conditional is often used in sentences like “If I give you a lift to the station, will you lend me your car for the rest of the day?” This can be made more fun by asking them to make up sentences that they are sure their partner will accept or reject (e.g. depending on the cards they have been given). They could also be given a list of things they want from their partner with points for each thing they can get them to agree to, with the person from each pair who gets the most points at the end of the game being named the best negotiator.
2. Election Question Time
Students prepare their election promises in groups and then stand up and present them with sentences like “If you vote for us, we will cut taxes by 50%.” After they finish, the members of the other parties can ask them tricky questions with the first conditional like “What will you do if that doesn’t give you enough money to keep all the hospitals open?” They then finish with a vote in which they are not allowed to vote for their own party.
3. Chain stories
One student says a future plan, e.g. “I’m going to have a barbeque at the weekend.” Someone else in the class predicts a consequence of that, e.g. “If you have a barbeque this weekend, you will be annoyed by wasps or mosquitoes.” Someone else then continues the story with something like “If you are annoyed by wasps or mosquitoes, you’ll start swatting them with a newspaper.” This continues for a fixed number of stages or until they reach an interesting conclusion.
4. Consequence Chains
You can do something similar to Chain Stories above by writing and passing the pieces of paper around. This is more fun if students can only see the previous sentence or clause due to everyone folding over the rest of the paper when they have written their part. The last person can then open the whole paper and tell the class the opening clause and closing clause, usually something amusing and seemingly unrelated like “I’m going to dye my hair” and “You will leave Hollywood in disgrace.”
5. Did You Think Of This Condition?
One group tries to plan for something, including thinking about every eventuality. For example, if they are planning to set up a language school they can plan “If Chinese suddenly takes over from English, we’ll just change the teachers.” After presenting their plans to the class, the other groups try to think of situations you haven’t thought of, e.g. the local language becoming the new international standard and so no one wanting to study foreign languages.
6. First Conditional Sentence Completion
Students complete sentence stems you give them like “If an ex-girlfriend/boyfriend phones me this evening…” and “If my boss is in a bad mood tomorrow…” with what they imagine to be their true reactions. They then choose one sentence and read out just the part they have written, e.g. “I will change my number” or “I will be very surprised” for the phone call example, and the other students try to guess which sentence stem they wrote that thing in.
7. Video conditions
The teacher stops the video at a point where a character has to make a decision, and the students try to predict the consequences of the possible choices with sentences like “If he asks her out, she will tell her boyfriend and he will beat him up” and “If he doesn’t ask her out, he will regret it and never get another opportunity.” The teacher can tell the class what the possible choices are or let them try to work them out from the context. After watching which choice they take and the real consequences, students can discuss the likelihood of the consequences they predicted for the other choice (perhaps with third conditional if they know that).