Monthly Archives: July 2014

Time Capsule

What you will need;

1. a container (something cylindrical like a poster tube is perfect)
2. pieces of card
3. pens
4. a spade

… no, scrap that last one, this time capsule is going to stay above ground.

If you’ve ever done this activity with your students before you will know A) how adaptable it can be in terms of the language/ grammar you wish students to practice, and B) how much language can come out of the activity.

The idea is that students are put into pairs/ groups and told they are going to make a time capsule. There are numerous entertaining videos online that explain the process, not least some of hysterical Blue Peter presenters in 2000 prematurely digging up the capsules that their forerunners had prepared in 1971 and 1984.

You can give the pairs/groups categories for the items they wish to submit and a specific number to be included, or simply let them go wild and pick what they want. Once they have written the names of the items (this is where the cards come in- nobody will be prepared to part with their I-Pad for real) on the cards they put them inside the container and hand it in to the teacher.

At this point, the teacher can introduce the grammar/ language they want to see employed, be it past modals, probability or expressions for giving/ inviting opinion.

If past modals are the order of the day, then the teacher can redistribute the capsules to different groups and have students, role-playing as people of the future or Martian conquerors, speculate about what these strange antiques might have been used for. If it’s modals for probability you’re after, then those opening the capsules can speculate about what alternatives to the items from inside might exist in 10, 50, 100 years.

I would love to be able to caption a photograph with that immortal BP line “Here’s one I made earlier”, but I forgot to take one. Never mind. Try it yourself and let us know how it goes.

Tristan Francis
Director of Studies

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