Make a shopping list Write “Shopping List” on the board. Ask students what a shopping list is and why you might make one. Tell students, “I’m going to the supermarket. What should I buy?” Each student comes up to the board and adds an item to the list. Prompt for quantities with “How much?” and “How many?” Next, divide students into pairs. Each pair chooses what kind of party they want to plan — a dinner party, birthday party, or quinceañera, for example. The partners then make a shopping list for their event, including foods, decorations, and whatever else they may need. Make sure the lists include specific quantities. Finally, each pair shares the plans for their event and their shopping list with the class. For higher-level classes, you can make the activity more challenging by giving each pair a budget —say, $100 — and having them estimate the price of each item, keeping the total within their budget. Shopping-themed activities are easy to do in the classroom, and they help develop a wide range of skills and vocabulary. For example:
Names of foods, clothing, furniture, and other goods.
The difference between count nouns (e.g., carrots) and noncount nouns (e.g., milk), and expressions used with them such as “How many?” and “How much?”
Words for units and containers such as a loaf of bread, box of spaghetti, carton of juice, head of lettuce, dozen eggs. These words make noncount nouns into count nouns.
Words for US weights and measures and how they compare to weights and measures in the metric system.
How to write and say money amounts. We write $1.59 but say “a dollar fifty-nine” or “one fiftynine.”
How to express unit costs, like “$1.99 a pound” or “$1.99 per pound.”
How to read a store advertisement. What is the meaning of “lb.” and “ea.”? Which is cheaper, a 5-lb. bag of potatoes for $2.99/ea. or loose potatoes at $.99/lb.?
Language for interacting with sellers, such as “How much is this pair of shoes?” or “Do you have any whole chickens?”
Here are four shopping activities that can be used either singly or together. They are ideal for lowintermediate classes, like our Levels 1 and 2, but can be adapted for higher levels.