Fiona Nixon Fiona Nixon

Copy of Life Mysteries
Pre-Intermediate level


In this lesson students will learn about past Modal auxiliaries through guided discovery based on a reading text about real life mysteries. The lesson starts with a discussion about a crime-scene drawing posted on the WB. He elicits answers from sts about what might have happened there. This is followed by a controlled activity in which sts are supposed to choose the correct answer. After introducing the form of the Past Modal Auxiliaries, the teacher gives sts a free task to personalize and apply what they've learnt.


Abc Main Text Book "Cutting Edge, Upper Intermediate"
Abc Pictures
Abc Reading Text "A real life whodunit" with Questions
Abc Sentence Completion Ex.
Abc Matching Ex.
Abc Rewrite a Story Ex.
Abc Free Practice Activity

Main Aims

  • To provide practice of Past Modal Auxiliaries in the context of Life Mysteries

Subsidiary Aims

  • To provide accuracy speaking practice in a conversation in the context of probabilities and possiblities in the past


Warmer/Lead-in (5-9 minutes) • To set a context and TEST students' knowledge about the Past Modal Auxiliaries

- Post a drawing on the WB taken from a story about a crime scene. - The teacher elicits answers from sts about what probably happened there. "Was he shot? Why ? (He must have been shot because he was rich.) "Did he commit suicide" (He may have committed suicide ) -Write some of the elicited possibilities/ probabilities on the WB. -give sts the handouts to read the story individually and answer the Qs in pairs.

Presenting Meaning and Form (13-16 minutes) • To clarify the meaning, form and pronunciation of the target language

- After doing the reading and answering the questions, the teacher writes students' answers with the TL and changing some of the sentences in order to form the meaning of Past Modal Auxiliaries based on sts' answers of the Reading/CCQs: "Why he was worried about security? (He may have had money) "Did he commit suicide? "Yes, he must have committed suicide" "Did the killer escape through the window?" (No, he couldn't escape ,,,,) - explain the meaning of words like "suicide, fortress" with transcription -Draw a cline on the WB - Write the list of the past modal auxiliaries on that Cline with "must have" at the top with the word "Certain, then in the in the MIDDLE write "may-might have/ possible" then on the other side write "sure didn't happen" then explain the meaning with examples. Another Cline would be for obligations and advice "should've" on one side and on the other side "had to" - Ask sts to do the sentence completion ex. and ask sts to answer the following qs in pairs then share answers with class - Finally, present the form of Past Modal Auxiliaries, affirmative and Negative with contractions "should've, mustn't etc." "must have + past participle" "might / might not have + past participle" "could / couldn't have + past participle" "may / may not have + past participle" "can't have + past participle" - Ask sts to drill chorally then individually

Controlled Practice (7-10 minutes) • To check students' understanding of TL

- Ask students to sit in groups and match the sentences with the best explanation underlining the Modal Auxiliaries in these sentences. Ask CCQs, get feedback - Ask sts to share answers with the class. - Give them handouts for the correct completion - Ask sts to rewrite the story in the handouts substituting the underlined phrases with the correct Aux V -Ask sts to check their answers in pairs then share with class

Free Practice (6-10 minutes) • To give sts a free practice of Past Modal Auxiliaries

- Give sts handouts with questions to talk about. Model a sentence so they can answer the questions - a) - Draw chart of two columns on WB - Name column 1 "could do" / couldn't do" - elicit from sts answers about what ppl could/ couldn't do in 1920s. - write one sentence in the affirmative and one in the negative - Ask sts to write more and discuss their answers in groups, then check with the class

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