Phrasal verbs about food: writing activity

PHRASALVERBSABOUTFOODThis writing activity helps students learn and practice different phrasal verbs about food. It is a perfect fit for classes about nutrition, diets, health, and fitness. It might be used with groups and individual students, levels intermediate and higher.

The Task

Step 1

Show your students the Phrasal verbs about food visual and go through the form, meaning, and accompanying questions to show how the verbs work in practice. If you feel like your students could use some more practice and drilling, see this post where I described 8 different ways of teaching phrasal verbs.

Step 2

Students work individually or in pairs.

They draw a piece of paper with a character’s description written on it.

Their task is to come up with a short paragraph describing the character’s usual day, with the stress on their eating / cooking habits / anything to do with food.

They need to use at least 2 phrasal verbs from the list and can’t mention anything specific about the character they are writing about nor give their writing a title.

Character’s relationship to eating/cooking should be the only disclosed info.

Ask students to sign their work.

Example: a stressed law student cramming for exams

I have been very busy recently and I have been studying a lot. I don’t have time to cook so I whip up some eggs or pasta from time to time. My friends told me snacking on fruit and vegetables helps you study so I tried it. Unfortunately, I got really stressed last night and I pigged out on a Big Mac and extra large fries.

Step 3

Students swap their writings (make sure  students who wrote about the same character don’t exchange their work). Display the list of characters on the board. Students read their classmates’ writings and their task is to guess who’s described in the text. Ask students to share their opinion and justify it. Then, ask author(s) of the text to confirm / reveal the true protagonist.

Step 4

Ask your students whether they have recognized themselves in any of the characters. Do they often have enough time only to whip something up really quickly at home? Do they promise themselves to snack only on nuts and dried fruit but end up eating chips and candy? Do they sometimes pig out on food that they know is bad for them?

Personal Experience

This activity worked especially well with teenage students who had fun inventing short stories and adding some twists making these stories hard to link to any particular character. With some more advanced groups I played a game where a student draws the character from the pile and has to say 3 sentences about them using 2 phrasal verbs for the rest of the group to guess who the character is (with the list visible on the board).

In this activity, students are first forced to use the phrasal verbs to talk about fictional characters and then they move on to talking about themselves. Having hopefully gained some more confidence in using the phrasal verbs in the context of a fictional story, they will feel more comfortable risking using his vocabulary to talk about their won lives.

A lot of my students noted how easy it was to imagine these phrasal verbs as pictures/symbols so I played a game of Pictionary (given there were only 4 items here to learn) with some groups the following week to revise the material.

For more ideas on teaching phrasal verbs, check out these sets about money, relationships, education, and sport.


Phrasal verbs about food characters




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