Stuart Mill English

How to Learn, How to Teach English

Fun with Photography

This is another one-hour conversation activity. For an introduction to the series, click here. Enjoy.

Name: Fun with Photography

Prep Time: None

Materials: None for you, but at least one in every three students should have a cell phone with a camera

Primary Objective: Discuss technology

Other Benefits: This a nice lesson for practicing giving details on a given theme


Pre-Speaking (20 minutes)

Write the word “Technology” on the board. Ask the class to give you some examples of different technologies. Write a few on the board.

Now, have the students each make a list of ten different technologies.

Next, have them share their lists with the students around them. Ask some of the quieter and lower level students to share some of the things on their lists. Write those things on the board too.

Now, ask the students to raise their hand if they have a camera on their cell phone. If everyone has a camera, then there is no need to create groups. However, if someone doesn’t have a camera, they’ll need to get into a group with someone who does. Create as many groups as are necessary (but no more).

Finally, explain to the students that they should leave the classroom and take pictures of five different technologies with their cameras. Tell them they have ten minutes to return to the classroom.

Speaking (30 minutes)

While the students are gone, write the following questions (and sample answers) on the board:

Is your technology big or small? It is big. / It is small. It is medium-sized.

Is your technology old or new? It’s new. It’s old.

When was your technology invented? It was invented about XX years ago.

Do most people use your technology? Yes, most people use this. / No, most people don’t use it.

When the students return, put them in pairs (or pair up the groups). Without showing the pictures, they should ask each other questions that will help them guess what the technology is. (Like twenty questions.) After the item is guessed, they should show their partner/other group the picture and do the next item.

(Before they start, model the activity with a couple students.)

For example…

A: Is your technology big or small?

B: It is small.

A: Is your technology old or new?

B: It is pretty new.

A: When was your technology invented?

B: It was invented about 30 years ago.

A: Is it a computer mouse?

B: Yes! Here, look at the picture.

After the students finish, have them switch to a new person/pair and repeat the process.

While the students work on this, write the following on the board:

Look at your pictures. With a partner discuss these questions:

Which technology is your favorite? Why?

Which technology is the most important? Why?

How often do you use each technology?

Some technologies, like typewriters, aren’t used very much anymore. Which of these technologies is the most likely to disappear in the future?

Who uses these technologies more: younger or older people?

After the students finish, have them switch to a new person/pair and discuss the questions again.

Post-Speaking (10 minutes)

Now, ask the questions above to a few students and ask them follow-up questions as well. The rest of the class should listen.

Finally, go around the class and ask each student to say one thing that they learned during this activity. It can be anything, but everyone should say something.


Have the students draw a pictures of a future technologies. Then, they should get in groups and ask each other the first set of questions above before showing their pictures to each other. For time, have them draw several pictures.


Ideas for Homework/Another Extension: Have the students take more pictures of technology, but make it a scavenger hunt. For instance, tell them they have to take pictures of at least one technology that is: older than 100 years, less than 10 years old, bigger than a house, smaller than a cell phone, colored blue, etc.

Modification for Lower Levels: You’ll have to adjust the questions so that your students can handle them and probably do a lot more modeling than is suggested above, but the basics should be OK.

Modification for Higher Levels: Add discussion questions that force a bit more complex thought/complex grammar/complex vocab (e.g. How did people get by without this technology? How could this technology be improved? etc.) And/or have the students write some more technology discussion questions of their own.

Modification for Small Groups: For small groups, you can still do everything, but everyone will need a camera. Also, you should probably just discuss everything as a class. Finally, you’ll likely need to do the extension activity.

Modification for Private Lesson: It might be awkward to send a lone student out of the room, but you could take a walk with the student. Take the pictures together and discuss them on the way. You might also go straight to the homework idea above.

Modification for Different Themes: Instead of having the students take pictures of different technologies, have them take pictures on your theme. Amongst many others, food, transportation, and clothing would all work. You’ll have to adjust the questions for your theme.

July 14, 2010 - Posted by | Conversation Lesson Plans, Lesson Plans | , , , ,

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