Posted 14/7/11

This is a very simple activity: students are given a number of questions to research. If formed correctly, the answer to each question will almost certainly require the creation of a passive structure. The activity can be used as a follow up to Passive Drawings.
  • Language level: Intermediate (B1) +
  • Learner type: Teens; Adults
  • Time: 20 minutes + homework/self-study + 20 minutes
  • Activity: Reading; Homework (research); Grammar drill
  • Topic: Trivia
  • Language: Passive structures
  • Materials: Slideshow
Passive quiz: Lesson plan pdf [downloaded 6764 times] Passive quiz: Slideshow pdf [downloaded 4642 times]


For this activity, you will need a number of questions whose answers will involve the production of passive structures. Select these according to your students’ culture, interests, age, etc. See below for possibilities.

Optional: Create a slideshow of images of the people and objects in the questions and answers. This should strengthen students’ comprehension of the language (you will find an example PDF slideshow above).

Lesson plan outline

  1. Tell students that you have a quiz for them. Tell them that they should look for the answers online (in a computer room, for homework, etc.)
  2. Dictate the questions that you have selected. (See Preparation, materials and equipment on page 2 for possibilities.) If necessary, pre-teach any vocabulary that could otherwise make the questions incomprehensible.
  3. Note: For each question that you dictate, make use of images to introduce the famous people/objects featured in them. There are many included in the accompanying slideshow.
  4. Ask students to compare what they have written in pairs/groups and make sure that everyone has written down the questions correctly.
  5. Ask students to go online (in a computer room, for homework, etc.) and find out the answers to the questions.
  6. Note: You may want to tell students that each of the answers will require the production of a passive structure. Make sure that they understand that the passive structure will involve:

    • Some form of the verb ‘to be’ (is, are, was, were, being, etc.)
    • A past participle (taken, fired, married, liked, brought, etc.)

    Give an example sentence if necessary.

  7. When ready, take feedback from your students. Find out who got the most correct answers. Use this stage as an opportunity to work with the grammar point in question.

Follow up

Put students into pairs so that everyone has a drilling partner. Ask students to test each other’s memory and spoken production of the target language. See box below for instructions.

  1. Student 1 has access to his/her notebook. Student 2 does not.
  2. Student 1 asks Student 2 a question from the list chosen at random (e.g. How was Socrates executed?)
  3. From memory, Student 2 attempts to recall and reproduce the full answer. (E.g. He was forced to drink hemlock.)
  4. Student 1 pays special attention to the grammar and accuracy of Student 2’s answer and offers help whenever necessary.
  5. After each turn, roles are reversed: Student 1 picks up his/her notebook. Student 2 puts down his/her notebook. Now Student 2 asks Student 1 a question and Student 2 attempts to answer it.
  6. The process is continued until all questions have been answered.

Image credits

Most images taken from Wikimedia Commons:

Posted 14/7/11

13 Responses to Passive quiz

  1. Agnieszka says:

    Great website and lesson plans! Thank you.

  2. Jamie Keddie says:

    Thanks Agnieszka :-)

  3. The ideas and visuals are really great! I´m going to try them in my classes.
    Thank you

  4. Jamie Keddie says:

    Thank you Graciela. Good luck!
    Jamie :-)

  5. Stephen says:

    I love this lesson, and have used it several times. Usually, I lazily use your quiz questions and superb slideshow. Only recently did I discover that when students type in some of the questions into Google for their homework, this very page will be among the top results! Time to come up with some of my I own I think! Thanks for the inspiration anyway =)

  6. Galina says:

    Wonderful site! I will use it again and again, I think!

  7. Jamie Keddie says:

    Thank you Galina :)

  8. Veronica says:

    Jamie this site has been a fantastic way to improve and motivate my teenagers. Thanks a lot for sharing. I was at BBELT and I liked your presentations a lot. Thanks again

  9. Jamie Keddie says:

    Hello Veronica
    I am very happy to hear it. Hope you enjoyed BBELT. I enjoyed my first trip to Mexico. I am hoping to come back one day soon.
    Jamie :)

  10. Moses says:

    I love this! I’m teaching passive voice this week and have been racking my brains for ways to naturally elicit it. These questions are great! Thanks so much for sharing.

    Now if only I could know your secret of how you come up with these ideas to elicit the target structures and to put it into such interesting (yet simple) lesson plans….


  11. Jamie Keddie says:

    Thanks Mo
    Very happy to help and glad you like the lesson
    The secret – a box of Trivial Persuit cars and lots of coffee!
    Jamie :)

  12. Almudena says:

    Great activity Jamie! I hope it will work with my students tomorrow…
    Hope you’re still enjoying life!
    Almu (Norwich 2012)

  13. Jamie Keddie says:

    Nice to see you here. Yes – life is pretty good thank you. I hope yours is too! I’ll be back in Norwich for a couple of weeks in July.
    Hope you are well
    Jamie :)