This is a quick lesson, including a couple of games, to practise and revise collocations with ‘make’ and ‘do’. There’s very little preparation required and it’s highly adaptable for use with other lexis or grammar points. The example below is with a group of intermediate teenagers, some stages could be skipped or extended depending on your students’ level and the support they need.


Before the lesson, or while my students are working on something else, I write the following on the board:


Students work in pairs to review the words on the board and make short sentences using them (just speaking, no writing at this stage). If there are any words a pair doesn’t know or understand, they should walk to the board and underline them. After the task, ask students to share their sentences for the words that have been underlined. This helps students who have forgotten some of the phrases or perhaps missed a previous lesson.

Team Game

I write ‘make’ and ‘do’ on the board and circle them using different coloured pens. board2makedo.jpg

Students have two minutes to work in pairs and decide whether ‘make’ or ‘do’ goes before each word. For example do you ‘make a decision’ or ‘do a decision’? Then divide the class into two teams. Give one team the green ‘make’ pen and the other the red ‘do’ pen. Each team has to circle the words that match their colour.

For a bigger class you could have four teams and four colours, so there would be two ‘make’ teams and two ‘do’ teams.

Set a two minute time limit and explain that only one person from each team can be standing at a time. Once a student has drawn a circle they sit down and pass the pen to the next person on their team. They can remove their own circles if they think someone on their team has made a mistake, but they can’t change the other team’s circle. One point per correct circle.


When both teams have finished (giving extra time if they need it) students sit back down in their original pairs and review the board, checking both teams’ answers. In our example both teams have done well, but there are two mistakes. The red ‘do’ team got six points but missed ‘the right thing’ and the green ‘make’ team got seven points but lose a point for circling ‘research’ (so it ends 6-6). We correct the board so we can use it as a reference point later.

Practice and production

I give each student a worksheet and ask them to complete the first part without looking up at the board. You can download the worksheet by clicking here.

worksheetpic - make do.png

If a student looks up I ask them to point out which word they need to check. This can feed into my review at the end of the lesson. Students can check once they’ve finished.

For the second part students work in pairs to make sentences, leaving a gap for the words in the box and writing the answer at the end.
Example: It’s hard to make ___________ when I’m choosing what to eat at a restaurant.
(Answer: a decision).
Monitor and assist students as necessary.

When every pair has at least five sentences I ask them to stop. I want them to listen to a sentence twice and think about what words are missing (but not to shout out). I read the following sentence aloud twice, clapping to represent the gap:
“I made __*clap*__ when I dropped my dinner on the living room floor.”

After giving students a moment to think I ask them for the answer (a mess). Students then mingle using their sentences in the same way, listening carefully. After they’ve spoken to a few partners I wipe the board and students fold their worksheet in half so they can’t see the words (this adds a little extra challenge).

Reflection and review

After the mingle students sit down in pairs and unfold their worksheet. They work together to think of one sentence for each of the words on the page that another pair said. If any of the words have caused problems throughout the various stages I ask students to write sentences in their notebooks for those words.

This recalling and recycling of personalised sentences will help students make meaningful connections to the language and help them to learn and use these structures over time. This lesson plan works well for grammar items that don’t have rules to follow, like whether a verb is followed by the gerund (-ing) or to + infinitive.

Click here to download a Powerpoint version of the worksheet that you can adapt for your lesson.


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