Tuesday, 7 February 2012

CLIL lesson - Geography

This is the Geography version of the History "GO FIND YOUR PEOPLE" lesson-plan.
As for that one, this activity can be a fun revision of topics your students are already familiar with. You can allow a couple of hours at the end of one of more work units. In my classes we had been studying Western European countries and our activities dealt with the cities, landscapes, languages and traditions we had found during our "European journey".

up to 30 students - 12/13 years old (but of course activities can be adapted to suit any age range)

subjects: Geography/Languages

pupils working in teams (number of teams depending on how many States they have studied)

About 2 hours needed

Instructions given in English - pupils being free to answer and discuss both in English and mother tongue.

- for the "tuning in" activity: pictures of cities or monuments of the different countries (one for each student)
I had 24 students and we had studied 6 countries, so I had prepared 24 pieces of paper with images of well known cities of those countries. For each country, there was the capital city + 3 other cities (as I needed 6 groups of 4 students).

- for the secon part (betting game): that's the same simple activity of the History lesson-plan. I had prepared a ppt presentation with 20 multiple/choice questions (English). As usual, there were questions dealing with what we had studied plus a bunch of funny questions (show-biz, weird traditions, funny facts).


1) Pick an image and guess where you are. Now, go make groups. Students have to show their picture, look at those of the others, and then try to understand how to make groups. If you give them pictures of famous monuments and landscapes, they'll be sitting in their groups in a matter of minutes.

2) Are you in your groups? Now, who has the capital city? The "owners" of the capital cities will be the group's spokesman. Starting with group 1, can the spokesman please tell me: which State do you represent?  The team leader says for instance "we represent the United Kingdom, and I have London, the capital city."
3) Starting with group 1, can each member of the team please name their city? Double check that all of the students are in the right group: remeber the capital city is the easiest one! Your students may have had a quite harder time trying to recognize different cities.
[Personal note: in Geography, I believe seeing is the core point: you can't just study a country on written lines, because you won't understand what you're not able to see. We're so lucky now, with the amount of technology we can use to actually see the world! So be sure to offer your students plenty of opportunities to see (and work on) images of different countries: they'll understand better, they'll remember more easily, and they'll probably want to visit them in the future!]
As usual, if one or more of the students aren't in the correct group, they will hopefully realize it with the help of the others. Let them move to the correct group.

4) Now, go to the map of Europe in your book. Can the spokesman please tell me where your country is located? (you can ask some more questions here about languages/climate/ economy... you name it: Geography is such a wide world! Anyway, remember to be very specific in your questions, or you'll spend all of your time on this step).

5) Sit in your groups. We will have now a betting game: who will be our millionaire?
Each group starts with a treasure of 100 gold pieces.
You will be asked 20 multiple choice questions. The group has to bet on the right answer. You can bet from a minimum of 10 gold pieces up to all the gold you have. But be careful in your bet: for if you are right, you'll win the gold you bet. But if you are wrong, you'll lose it.

6) I close the activity, as usual, asking: is there anything else you would like to know about these countries? Tricky question, once again - in Geography you'll have to be ready to answer about all of the human knowledge of the last 5000 years - or send them to a colleague, saying "that looks more like Science. Ask your teacher, maybe she knows best!"

If you've time, you can ask your students which of these countries they've already visited, or which one they'd like to visit first, and why. But I'm not sure you'll have any time to spare: you'll be surprised at how fast those two hours will run (I always am).

I think CLIL works particularly well with Geography. What do you think?
Do you have any other experience in this field?
Remember that all of your tips, suggestions and ideas are always more than welcome!


  1. Dear Laura,
    thank you for sharing us your lesson-plan. I like it really. Even if I don't teach Geography, there are activities, what as I think, I can try out as well. I like a lot for example the betting game, and the way, as the pupils can find their group.
    This time I would like to start group activities with my small pupils as well. Even if I organized them for example Art lessons working in pairs or sometimes in small groups,other games to help the collaboration, I think, they are now in the third class, when we could start to try out the activities in groups during the lessons. It will be a new challenge...)
    And..I would like to try out a CLIL lesson), because I like to read about your experiences and I am sure, it could be very interesting for pupils and teachers.
    Thanks, Mónika

  2. Hi Monika,
    I agree with you, the betting game will be fine for small pupils working in groups for the first time. It's an engaging activity because of the competition, and you can keep the questions as simple and funny as you need.

    Maybe you could try a CLIL activity like this with the students of your Italian class. You could choose the Italian cities they've visited, and/or those they'd like to see. You give them instructions an materials in Italian, and then let them free to discuss and answer in Hungarian as well. Do you think it could work?

    Let me know. It could be another step in the BE TWIN mission :) "imparando l'italiano: lavori in corso" !


  3. Thank you Laura,
    this blog is becoming my goldmine of ideas :-)
    I will create an easier version of this for primary students. I think I can use places of our town they are familiar with. Let's say, the library, the school, the supermarket, the park... what do you think? It could be both fun and useful (for orientation).
    So thanks again!

  4. Hi Teresa,
    thanks for the kind words!
    I think it's a great idea to customize this lesson for younger students using everyday places. You can also create a map and ask them to put the cards with the places on it. Or you can create together a "gioco dell'oca" (don't know the English name) and play it at the end of the lesson. Let me know what comes out of this :)

  5. Laura could you please let me know if you have any book that you use? I am in my 1st year of CLIL for 5th graders and I do not have a class book. Thank you! Nicoleta

  6. Hello Laura, I'm a History CLIL teacher and I'm quite alone in this experience with no collaboration at all of any member of the English department of my school and I'm always doubting about this project, specially about the assessment. All my materials are in English but my explanations are always in English and in pupils mother-tongue which is Spanish or Catalan, but I think it's important that pupils expres themselves in English in their oral and written productions, but now the new law related to CLIL says that students can use the language they prefer although all the materials should be in the foreign language object to study or improve. What do you think about that?Thank you very much.