Activity: teach and practice articles 'a' and 'the'

teach and practice articles 'a' and 'the'

O P E N ‘T H E’ D O O R S

Level: Intermediate – Upper-intermediate

Class Size: Pairs

Language Focus: Use of zero articles with certain classes of a noun: institutions, means of transport, times of day, seasons, meals, illnesses...

Pronunciation: the /D«/ the /Di:/ before vowels and consonants; weak form: at /«t/

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Game time: 10 – 15 minutes

Before Class: Make one copy of the Maze for each pair of students

In the Class:

1. This is an activity where learners are placed in the center of a maze. As with a real maze, there are some doors they can pass through or get out, and others that will not help them to escape.

2. Divide learners into pairs. Distribute the copy of the Maze to each pair. Explain that you are going to put them in a maze (they start in the middle) and what they have to do is to find their way out as quickly as possible. To get out they can only go through doors where they have to put ‘the’ for the phrase to be grammatically correct.

All those doors (phrases) where the zero articles are either acceptable or usual are locked and entrance is not allowed.

3. The aim is to be the first pair to have found a route out.

4. Make it clear to the class that they have to find a complete route out before you will check their answers. Tell them there is only one correct way out. (See key below). When one pair have found a route out they should shout ‘Out’. One member of the pair should then read out their route to the rest of the class.

In the library. . . in the south . . . etc

As soon as the pair makes a mistake says: ‘Blocked!’ and ask everyone to continue the search. You might also like to encourage members of the class to shout out blocked if they feel a pair has made a mistake. The ‘blocked’ pair can only have a turn at reading out a route again after another pair has had a turn.

5. The first pair to find a correct route out are the winners.

in the post à on the radio à in the daytime à at the end à on the
à on the phone à in the past {alertInfo}

As a follow-up, you could ask learners to look back at the maze and find the six types of a noun that are often used with the zero articles, see below:

Times of the day and night . . . especially after at, by, after and before Meals . . . when talked about as part of the day
Seasons . . . when talked about generally
Illnesses . . .
Means of transport . . . after by
Certain places . . . when talked about as ‘institutions’ rather than
specific ‘places/buildings’

Credits: RIE, South India, Bengaluru.

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