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What if you won a medieval village?
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Group project

What if you won a medieval village?

A multi-lesson group conversation activity that is based on the real world. It engages students' creativity, critical thinking and planning skills, and gets them using language naturally, as a by-product of doing the activity - best for putting skills into practice!

I’ve been running this mini ‘project’ in all of my business and conversation classes, with students of all ages and ability levels (from upper beginners upwards).

Each group’s suggestions are completely different to all other groups and fascinating!

It’s a great chance to practice conjunctions, if-conditionals, modal verbs, and to get everyone talking, debating, negotiating, and even arguing heatedly!

In the business classes, they have to present a proposal, in order to win more ‘funding’.

You’ve just won a competition!

For fun, you entered a competition with a group from your English class, although you never expected to win.
Now that you have actually won, you want to restore this lovely medieval village and turn it into a profitable business. First prize – an entire medieval village!
A gorgeous, but very run-down, medieval village, set in the middle of a productive wine and gourmet produce region in the picturesque French countryside.
The town contains a lovely collection of old buildings, including a flour mill, bakery (with original wood-fired ovens), blacksmith, stable, restaurant, hotel, and a few shops and houses. You will also own the surrounding fields, a small orchard, a small lake, and a section of the lush mixed forest at the edge of town. Ownership of a small and currently operating lavender farm is also included in your prize.
As the original inhabitants of the town moved to the cities a decade ago, and ownership of all buildings passed to the local government, the buildings have been unoccupied and not maintained.
Unwilling to see the town demolished, the local government is running this competition in co-operation with the current owners of the lavender farm.
You will receive an initial 1 million Euros to put towards the restoration of the buildings in the town. You will also receive enough funds to cover your living costs for 3 years.
Further funds may be granted, dependent on the details of your restoration proposal.

Conditions of application

  1. You agree to repair the buildings to a minimal safe condition.
  2. The government will provide 1 million Euros to be used towards the restoration of this village.
  3. You must present a project proposal to the local government representative, outlining the restoration plan, and showing how you can turn this into a profitable investment.
  4. You guarantee all current employees of the lavender farm will retain their current positions for at least one calendar year from the date of the transfer of ownership.
  5. You agree to log or clear no more than 25% of the mixed forest section.
  6. You agree to not grow gene modified crops on any of the land included in this prize.
  7. You agree to follow the local building codes, and not use the land or buildings for any illegal activity.

    Your proposal

    • With your group members, brainstorm ideas for making this town and surrounding land into a profitable business.
    • Take some notes of the best ideas that you all agree on.
    • Present your ideas to the class and vote on which group has the best suggestions.

If you or your class enjoyed this exercise, please share it!

This handout is freely available as a PDF from my Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/posts/27818355

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Categories | TEACHING
Tags | group projects, conversation, teaching, language learning
14 Apr 2014