The Zoo

Task Overview
This is a fun activity for a conversation class and usually takes about an hour.   The task is for students to work in teams to create the best possible zoo.

Task Outcomes
  • Use animal vocabulary in context
  • Communicate in speaking
  • Negotiate and choose 

  • 1 hour

Set Up
  • Brian storm a list of all animals in zoos.
  • Split students into 2-4 groups.

Team Goals
  • Companies must create the best zoo with the animals they have.


1.  Each team ranks animals in order of importance for a zoo.

2.  Teams draft animals from the list.  

3.  After the animals are all chosen, teams discuss and create a plan for a zoo.  They should consider layout, attractions, and any features of a zoo they can imagine.

4.  Teams create a visual representation of their zoo (Paper, computer, etc.)

5.  Teams present their zoo to the class.

  • Teams are only allowed to use the animals they have chosen.

  • Groups vote on one zoo (other than their own) as the best.

Feedback and Reflection
  • Teacher provides language feedback from discussions and presentations. 
  • Students find a partner from a different group and discuss the task.
Conversation Questions
  • What criteria did you use to rank the animals?
  • What animals did we forget to add to the list?
  • Why were some animals not important?
  • What was the goal for your zoo (e.g. fun, animal knowledge, etc.)
  • What was the best idea you had for the zoo?
  • What challenges did your group face trying to agree on a plan for the zoo?
  • How could you have presented your zoo better?
  • What did the other groups do that your group had not considered?

Task Variations
  • The number of animals can be varied, so for example, each team has 1 of one type of animal, 2 of another, 3 of another, etc.

Emerging Language

  • When students rank the animals, they will use comparatives and superlatives.
  • When students discuss the plan with the group, they will use opinion language (e.g. I think we should, What about if we, etc.)

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