Posted 31/1/10
In this lesson plan, students read a transcription of Kermit the Frog explaining and demonstrating his new invention: The ‘What happens next’ machine. The students’ task is to visualise the contraption and draw it as they imagine it to look.
  • Language level: Pre-intermediate (A2)
  • Learner type: Young learners; Adults; CLIL
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Activity:  Reading; Drawing; Text reconstruction
  • Topic: Science; Forces
  • Language: ‘Going to’
  • Materials: Video; Worksheets
Kermit\'s invention pdf [downloaded 3250 times]

Lesson plan outline

(Perhaps) interestingly, at the centre of this lesson plan is a structure that is not officially recognised by TEFL grammar. That is: “When the balloon goes up into the air, it’s going to turn on the radio.” As you will have heard in Kermit’s explanation, it is as common structure. But I suppose that it often finds itself outshone by its notorious cousin, the first conditional.

  1. Tell your students that they are going to see a video clip in which a famous frog demonstrates his new invention. Ask students if they can guess who the frog is and what sort of device he has invented.
  2. Show the first 8 seconds of the video clip. Students will hear Kermit saying: “Hello there. Kermit the frog here and today I’m going to demonstrate my new invention, the ‘what happens next’ machine.
  3. Ask students if they can guess what the ‘what happens next’ machine does.
  4. Tell students that Kermit’s invention involves the following objects: 3 pieces of rope; 2 pulleys; a sandbag; a seesaw; a balloon; a box with a lid. (Note that you can pre-teach these objects by drawing them on the board)
  5. Give out copies of Worksheet 1 (see below). Ask students to write their name on it. Ask students to identify the object at the bottom right of the page (answer = a radio). Find out if anyone in the class still uses a traditional radio. Ask them when they think the Sesame street clip was made (answer = 1969).
  6. Ask students to read Kermit the frog’s explanation and draw the ‘what happens next’ machine in the space provided.
  7. Let everyone compare their work.
  8. Play the clip from the beginning until 1:53 – just at the moment when Kermit cuts the rope.
  9. Take all copies of Worksheet 1 from your students. Write ‘going to’ on the board. Ask students how many different verbs they can remember from the text that followed this structure and write them on the board. The phrases are:
    * Going to demonstrate
    * Going to drop
    * Going to cut
    * Going to open
    * Going to fall
    * Going to pull
    * Going to go up
    * Going to turn on
  10. Ask students to guess what happens when Kermit cuts the rope. Students can discuss this in groups. Encourage them to use ‘going to’ to make their predictions.
  11. Tell students that before you show them the rest of the video, you want them to remember Kermit’s explanation. Give out copies of Worksheet 2 (see below) and ask student to write the explanation in their own words but using ‘going to’ whenever possible.
  12. Let students correct their work by giving back the copies of Worksheet 1.
  13. Play the remainder of the clip and let students see what happens next.


The explanation that Kermit gives in the worksheets is shorter than the explanation that he gives in the video. If students want to know what Kermit is saying, give out copies of the actual transcription:

“Hello there. Kermit the frog here and today I’m going to demonstrate my new invention, the ‘what happens next’ machine.

Now the ‘what happens next’ machine, it’s purpose is to turn on my radio. I will show you. Over here is my radio. This stuff here is not my radio – it’s part of the machine. But right here is the radio, you see.

“Now, I’m going to turn on this radio using the principle of ‘What happens next’. OK? Now, I will next demonstrate how this machine is going to go about doing its job. Note this rope. You see this rope right here? This rope goes up into the air, and across there, and down to that sandbag. See the sandbag? OK! Now, first of all, I’m going to cut this rope. Now when I cut the rope, what happens next is that the sandbag is going to fall down and land on this end of the seesaw. See that? OK – what happens next is this end of the seesaw goes down which means that this end of the seesaw over here goes up. OK? So, what happens next is this rope right here which is tied to the lid of this box is going to make the box open. OK? So what will happen next is this balloon which is inside the box – see the balloon? This balloon is going to go up into the air, and you will note that the balloon is tied to the switch of the radio. So, when the balloon goes up into the air, it’s going to turn on the radio. See that? OK!

Now, you see, it used to be – it used to be that I used to have to walk all the way over there to turn my radio on. I did indeed! It would tire out my feet. It would waste time. But not any more, thanks to the magic of ‘what happens next.’

And now, for the first time anywhere, the Kermit ‘what happens next’ machine. First of all, I’m going to cut the rope which is going to drop the sandbag. And here we go – I cut the rope.”


For step 12, Rather than give out copies Worksheet 2, play the video clip with the sound down. Pause it at key moments and ask students to recall Kermit’s words in response to your question: ‘What happens next?’

Posted 31/1/10

6 Responses to Kermit’s invention

  1. Hi, Jamie!
    I am a participant in Daniela Arghir’s LE on European Schoolnet portal. I used your lesson plan until step 4, then I change it to adapt it to my subject, Physics. My worksheet looks like this:
    – What types of physics phenomena could you identify during the video?
    – Which were the objects that interacted in every identified phenomena?
    – What type of forces was Kermit dealing( badly) with?
    – What could Kermit do in order to unblock the box’ lid or the stuck balloon?
    ( I expect creative answers, like using lubricants or levers, or pouring water to lift the balloon…or something else I can’t even think now :-) ).
    – Why could the radio fly?.
    5. The activity ends by filling the last section of the worksheet, a creative one.
    – Can you imagine another way to improve Kermit’s inventions?.
    I found the video and the lesson plan inspirational. Thank you! Cristina

  2. Jamie Keddie says:

    Great to hear from you Cristina
    Very interesting to hear how you can adapt this to teach physics. Some very good and natural ideas – what should Kermit have done? Filled the balloon with helium, etc.
    Looking forward to working with you next week.
    Jamie :-)

  3. Michael Rust says:

    I loved this lesson when I used it a few months ago and I was intending to use it again today when I realised that the link was broken. But if anyone is in the same position it is still on youtube, you just need to search for it. I don’t know if you want to update the link Jamie?

  4. Jamie Keddie says:

    Thanks Michael
    The official one has now been embedded and it is working fine. Really appreciate your feedback. Glad you enjoyed the lesson.
    Jamie :)

  5. Jeremy says:

    Jamie, thanks. Another great lesson for my grade 2 Taiwanese students. Interesting, engaging, fun and felt like they might have picked up some useful English. Can’t ask for more than that in a lesson, hey! Going to follow it up with Wallace and Gromit’s Cracking inventions videos. This being one of said videos-

    Going to ask the student to note down the purpose of each invention (to+infinitive) and then see if they can describe the process of their favourite one. Following lesson I will get them to design their own inventions which I’m pretty confident they will enjoy as they love drawing and doing anything creative.

    Thanks again, for sharing your ideas and going some way to keeping my classes fresh.