This activity deals with bucket lists – wishlists of things to do before you die (or ‘kick the bucket’). For example: participate in a demonstration; appear on the front cover of a newspaper; be an extra in a film; do a runner from a restaurant; get arrested; photocopy your bottom at work.
- Language level: Intermediate (B1) +
- Learner type: Mature teens; Adults
- Time: 90 minutes
- Activity: Grammar drill; Speaking
- Topic: Life & death
- Language: ‘Have you ever …?’ questions; Past simple questions; Pronunciation of regular past participles
- Materials: Materials free
Disclaimer: Students should be aware that some of the suggestions in this lesson plan are intended only as fun. It should be absolutely clear that you are *not* encouraging them to break the law (or any photocopiers, for that matter).
Lesson plan outline
Note: The inspiration for this lesson plan comes from this book. I recommend buying a copy or at least being able to show students an image of the front cover.
- On the board, write: 101 Things To Do Before You Die. Tell students that it is the title of a book. Show it to them if possible (see above).
- Ask students to guess what sort of accomplishments are listed in the book. Elicit as many as possible and write them on the board.
- Wipe the board clean and write the following verbs:
- Appear …
- Be …
- Catch …
- Do …
- Donate …
- Dye …
- Gatecrash … *
- Get …
- Go …
- Invent …
- Milk …
- Participate …
- Photocopy …
- Plant …
- Visit …
- Tell students that the 15 verbs relate to things that are in the book. Give a couple of examples to get them started and see if they can work out/guess the rest in pairs or small groups. In some cases, students will have to make use of their knowledge of collocations. In other cases, they will have to be creative.
- Feedback: Allow students to share their ideas with the rest of the class.
- Write the correct answers on the board but don’t allow students to copy them.
* If you gatecrash a party or a social event, you go without an invitation.
- Appear on the front cover of a newspaper
- Be an extra in a film
- Catch a fish with your bare hands
- Do a runner from a restaurant
- Donate blood
- Dye your hair a crazy colour
- Gatecrash a party
- Get arrested
- Go skinny dipping at midnight
- Invent something
- Milk a cow
- Participate in a demonstration
- Photocopy your bottom at work
- Plant a tree
- Visit the 7 wonders of the world
- If you do a runner from a restaurant, you leave without paying.
- If you gatecrash a party or a social event, you go without an invitation.
- Skinny dipping: swimming naked
- An extra: someone who has a very small, non-speaking part in a film or drama production (e.g. as a member of a crowd)
Ask students to compare their own lists of things they would like to accomplish.
Introduce the activity with a poster of the film The Bucket List. Start by writing the words ‘Kick the Bucket’ on the board. Find out if anyone can tell you what the expression means (answer = to die). Show students the film poster image. Find out if anyone has seen the film and if so, can they tell you why it is called The Bucket List (answer = two terminally ill men decide to compile a list of things to do before they die or ‘kick the bucket’).
Choose different Have you ever …? questions for the game or invite students to create their own.