Food

“First we eat, then we do everything else.”

M. F. K. Fisher (1908 – 1992), American food writer and founder of the Napa Valley Wine Library
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LESSON OVERVIEW

This free ESL lesson plan on food has been designed for adults and young adults at an intermediate (B1/B2) to advanced (C1/C2) level and should last around 45 to 60 minutes for one student.

Everyone loves food, and, luckily for this topic, everyone loves talking about food. In the past (and unfortunately for many in the present still), food would have been nothing more than a necessity for survival. Over time, food developed into one of life’s greatest pleasures which can bring together friends, family, and lovers alike. The preparation of food is often likened to art, with the best chefs as the most talented artists. In this ESL lesson plan on food, students will have the opportunity to discuss and express their opinions on issues such as the food they like and dislike, international cuisine, and the traditional food of their own country.

This lesson plan could also be used with your students to debate these issues for World Food Day, which takes place in October. For more lesson plans on international days and important holidays, see the calendar of world days to plan your classes for these special occasions.

For advice on how to use this English lesson plan and other lesson plans on this site, see the guide for ESL teachers.

PRE-CLASS ACTIVITIES

Reading activity
Before the English class, send the following article to the students and ask them to read it while making a list of any new vocabulary or phrases they find (explain any the students don’t understand in the class):

The Atlantic | “The Importance of Eating Together”

The article lists a number of benefits that families get when they eat together including less problems with obesity and lower truancy rates for their children at school. At the start of the class, hold a brief discussion about what the students thought about the article. What do they think about the issues raised in the article? Do they agree with what was written? Do they eat together with their family?

Video activity
To save time in class for the conversation activities, the English teacher can ask the students to watch the video below and answer the listening questions in Section 3 of the lesson plan at home. There are intermediate listening questions and advanced listening questions so teachers can decide which would be more appropriate for their students. Check the answers in the class.

The video for this class is called “How sugar affects the brain” by TED Ed which explains the chemical reactions that occur in our brains when we eat sugar, and the possible consequences of eating too much sugar.

IN-CLASS ACTIVITIES

The focus in the class is on conversation in order to help improve students’ fluency and confidence when speaking in English as well as boosting their vocabulary.

This lesson opens with a short discussion about the article the students read before the class. Next, the students can give their opinion on the quote at the beginning of the lesson plan – what they think the quote means and if they agree with it. This is followed by an initial discussion on the topic including their personal tastes, countries with the best and worse food, and traditional meals for holidays.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with food such as sweet tooth, mouth-watering and stuffed. The vocabulary is accompanied by a cloze activity and a speaking activity to test the students’ comprehension of these words.

If the students didn’t watch the video before the class, they can watch it after the vocabulary section and answer the listening questions. Before checking the answers, ask the students to give a brief summary of the video and what they thought about the content.

Finally, there is a more in-depth conversation about food. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as food that makes them feel nostalgic about their childhood, whether the students like to cook and why the best food is also the unhealthiest food.

HOMEWORK

After the class, students will write about the traditional food of their countries. This could be a short paragraph or a longer piece of writing depending on what level the student is at. The writing activity is designed to allow students to practise and improve their grammar with the feedback from their teacher. For students who intend to take an international English exam such as IELTS or TOEFL, there is an alternative essay question to practise their essay-writing skills.

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