Problem solving speaking activity

PROBLEM-SOLVING-SPEAKING-ACTIVITYThe aim of this speaking activity is to practice problem-solving in English and brainstorm solutions to five different problems. It is perfect for conversation classes, bigger and smaller groups, levels intermediate and above.

The Task

Students work in pairs or small groups trying to find solutions to 5 different problems. It is a good opportunity to practice the second conditional (I would…, If I were in this situation…), modal verbs    (should, might, mustn’t etc.) and negotiating (agreeing/disagreeing/expressing your opinion/asking about your partner’s opinion).

To practice agreeing and disagreeing please see Problem Solving Part 2School ProblemsMoral Dilemmas, Workplace Dilemmas and Parental Decisions activities.

Personal Experience

I have used this activity both with adult and teenage students, levels intermediate – advanced. It works well as a warm-up (giving the students just one problem) to a regular class, and may also be used during conversation classes (takes around 20 mins.) Make sure to allow some time for the groups to present and compare their ideas at the end of class.


Problem Solving


  1. I am teaching a fifth semester, Modern Languages Program, course at the university level and I found these activities are excellent to have my students speak more and more fluently. Thanks so much for posting them.

    • Wonderful news, Jhon! I’m so glad to hear my ideas worked out with your students as well.

  2. I would like to take the time and THANK YOU for the ideas and for sharing this material. I am going to use it for sure. I work with teenagers who need to practice the language a lot and when given the proper topic, get engaged in a good discussion. I find your material very useful. Thanks!

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