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Winter Survival Challenge

This ESL lesson introduces students to critical thinking and problem-solving skills through a survival scenario discussion, ideal for the start of a new semester or unit. Although it’s not recommended as a quick icebreaker due to its length, it’s highly engaging and adaptable for various levels.

In this primarily conversational worksheet, students prioritize items for survival after a hypothetical crash landing. The activity fosters group interaction and individual problem-solving, making it a perfect tool for integrating new students and assessing their thinking skills in a dynamic group setting.

The lesson concludes with a compelling follow-up discussion, including insights from an “expert” perspective, which students typically find very intriguing. This interactive and thought-provoking lesson is a great way to energize the class and gauge the problem-solving abilities of both new and returning students.

TypeLevelVocabularyLesson Time
Regular lessonB1 / Intermediate
B2 / Upper-Intermediate
C1 / Advanced
8 words60-90 min
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  • crash landing
  • frame
  • off course
  • wilderness
  • salvage
  • stick together
  • crucial
  • vital


  • Lead-in
  • Discussion
  • Vocabulary preview
  • Vocabulary
  • Survival challenge task
  • Step 1: Scenario
  • Step 2: Items
  • Step 3: Background info
  • Step 4: Scoring key
  • Step 5: Results
  • Discussion questions
  • Survival myths
  • Extra