Using animated VIDEO to present the PASSIVE VOICE in present continuous tense to young learners

30/05/2011 18:19


Images downloaded from Google.

 This lesson plan was presented at  the second English forum by Barbara Crespi.

Level: Suitable for 6thgrade primary school and A’ gymnasium classes.


Materials: Animated video called 'ELEPHANT GROWS THE FOREST' downloaded from YouTube .  See URL to convert to format for use without Internet connection.


Aims of  lesson:  To teach the use of passive voice to young children. The passive voice is taught in context of its use for describing scientific process. The use of animated video showing the digestive process of an elephant while it is happening sensitizes students to the continuous cycle of life in the forest. The video has a well known tune (Elephant walk) as background but no script.  It is both educational and humourous, therefore more likely to be remembered by young children.




Teacher talks about what she is doing at that moment to elicit the use of the present continuous tense for present temporary  activities. “I’m talking”, “I’m drawing on the blackboard”,‘I’m not eating a banana” etc., while demonstrating these activities.

Stage2 :  

The animated video is shown to students twice.   On second viewing, the teacher pauses (freezes) the video after each action and elicits what the elephant (the agent) is doing during the process of digestion.   She then writes these actions on the WB.

1.       The elephant (agent) is eating bananas.

2.       He is chewing the food.

3.       He is digesting the food.

4.       He is excreting the food.

Consequently, the trees are growing in the forest etc.

Stage 3: 

The teacher explains that this is a process and that some changes are taking place during the digestion of the elephant’s food intake.  She explains what is happening to the bananas (+mango!). The teacher shows the video again. She pauses (freezes) it at each action while she elicits the reason for why the passive voice is used and how it is formed, writing the structure on the white board (verb to be + past participle) in  a second column. At the same time, she is checking that the students remember both the regular and irregular forms of the 3rd part of the verb. It is emphasized that focus is on how the elephant is affected during the process of digestion, not what  the elephant is actively doing.

 Thus, what is happening during the process of digestion is the following:

1.       The bananas are being eaten by the elephant (agent).

2.       The bananas are being chewed  (by the elephant).

3.       Acid is being added to the mixture by the elephant’s digestive system.

4.       The food is being mixed up in the elephant’s stomach.

5.        It is being pushed along its intestines (by the elephant’s digestive system).

6.        The food is being excreted. (by the elephant)

The video can be shown as many times as the students  need to understand the use of the passive, as it's only 1 and 1/2  minutes long.

Stage 4: 

Students are organised in groups to make a poster by drawing  the elephant  outline, the parts of its digestive system in the above context and  labels for the parts (trunk, mouth, stomach, gland, intestines/ bowel, tail). The aim is  to blutack it onto the classroom wall for revision at the next lesson(s). This may be done in  a second lesson if necessary.