ESL Lesson Plans on Food

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The food unit can be a crucial one because it is extremely beneficial for someone studying English to learn how to use food items in a sentence. This unit not only introduces the use of count and noncount nouns but also integrates how “much” and "many” can be utilized in a sentence. Because this unit deals with situations that we encounter every day, it is important to stress how food is used in the English language.

1 Noncount and Count Nouns

Write a list of some food items onto the board. Make sure you write a variety of foods such as fruits, vegetables and drinks. You will now get the students involved by giving one person a chalk or a marker and asking him to draw a circle around one count noun food such as an apple or banana. After the student is done making the circle, he will then pass it to the other side of the room where the next student in line will drawl a square around one noncount noun such as meat and tea. When everyone has marked the food items on the board, ask the class if there are any errors and let them come up to fix them.

Vocabulary Builder

2 Restaurant Menu

Ask the class to break into partners and write a menu for a restaurant. Make sure that they are only writing items for a western-style menu with the foods written in English. Do not let them write, say, a Korean food menu. The partners will then alternate between ordering the food and taking the order. When ordering, make sure that you emphasize “I would like to have…” The person who is taking the order should practice saying “What would you like?” Depending on how high the level of the class is, you can get more in depth by asking “How well do you want it to be cooked?” and giving a reply.

3 Grocery Store

Set up a scenario where the class acts out as if they are in a grocery store. One person will play a customer; another will be the clerk. To begin, distribute handouts to the students that have one column of count nouns (such as newspapers) and one of noncount noun items (such as milk). The customer will then ask “How much milk is left?” or “How many apples are left?” The clerk will then say "There isn't much left" or "There are many left." Make sure that you establish the connection between "much" and noncount nouns and "many" and count nouns. Have the partners switch roles when they have completed their handout sheet.

Ian Moore is a student pursuing an associate degree in music and holds a bachelor's degree in English. Moore has been a writer for more than 10 years. He holds a TESOL certification and has taught English abroad. Moore has published work for Transitions Abroad.