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Desert Island Problem Solving Speaking Activity


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Task handout:!503&authkey=!ABjaGRY8sNM-iRU

Language handout:!504&authkey=!AICWqGyfQ2DTrCE

It’s an old classic but as they say, the old ones are the best!

Warm up questions

What’s the most remote place you’ve ever visited?

Did you spend the night there?

Do you like camping?

Have you ever slept under the stars?

Would you consider it?

What’s the most dangerous natural environment you’ve been in? Jungle? Desert?

What things do you always take with you on holiday?

Part 1:

Give out desert island and language handouts and explain the situation.


You have been selected to take part in a social experiment. You and your group will be taken to a desert island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. You will have to survive there for a year without contact with the outside world. The island has:

  • Fresh water
  • Banana trees
  • Coconut palms

The climate is mild (not too hot, not too cold) first individually make a list of 8-10 things you think you will need to survive. Then, as a group you will have to decide on 8 things, list them in order of importance.

Students think of their own personal lists first.

In groups they first list all the possible problems they will encounter, then decide on a list of items that will help with these problems.

Students present their lists to class explaining their decisions.

Part 2:

Students must go into more depth about how their island will work.

Students must decide on:

  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Division of labour
  • Leadership
  • Justice / punishment / laws /rules
  • Decision making

Students present their system to the class, other groups can ask questions.


We’re definitely going to need ________________

__________________ will be vital / essential / extremely useful / completely useless / a waste of space

I can’t live without ____________________

Making Suggestions

I think we should……………….

I reckon we ought to…………………

Why don’t we………………………..

How about / what about + gerund………………………….

Agreeing / Disagreeing

Agreeing Disagreeing Ending an argument:
  • We see eye to eye
  • I couldn’t agree with you more.
  • That’s exactly how I feel.
  • You have a point there.
  • I was just going to say that.
  • Absolutely.
  • We don’t see eye to eye
  • I take your point but
  • I tend to disagree with you there
  • I’m afraid I have to disagree with you there
  • I beg to differ
  • That’s not always the case.
  • Let’s just move on shall we?
  • I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree.
  • We’ll come back to that later.


Barcelona based English Teacher, blogger and sometime actor and director.

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