Number one for English language teachers

Mobile English: Ideal phone

Level: Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced

Level: Elementary (A2) +
Interaction: pairs, groups of three, whole class
Aim: To introduce the topic of mobile devices (mobile phones); to practise speaking.
Language focus: present simple to describe ability and actions (It can …, It makes …, It washes …, etc.)
Technology: none

Before the class

Print out the images of the old-fashioned mobile phone and modern smartphone located in the file under Related resources at the bottom of the page. Alternatively, you can find Creative Commons licensed images by searching in Flickr.


1. Show the class the images of the two phones. Put students in pairs and ask them to brainstorm the functions of each phone. After a few minutes, ask for feedback and put their ideas on the board.

2. Tell students that they are going to design their own ideal mobile phones. They can add any functions they like to this phone and the functions should be fun, e.g. it makes your coffee and toast in the morning; it sends your granny/mother a birthday present on her birthday; it washes the dog … Put the students in groups of 3 (A+B+C) and give them five to ten minutes to brainstorm and make a list of their ideal phone functions.

Include sentences with present simple 3rd person singular verbs (e.g. makes, sends, takes) and with can + infinitive to review this language area with students if necessary.

3. Regroup the students so that they are sitting with somebody new (e.g. As together, Bs together, Cs together). Students describe their ideal mobile phones to their new group members. Each person in the group must decide which new mobile phone they would buy and why.

4. Conduct class feedback. Ask students: Which phone sold the most? Which phones had the most unusual or interesting features? Tell us about these features. For lower level students, this provides another opportunity to produce sentences with the verb + ‘s’ and/or sentences with can.

Follow up

Students individually create a short text with images as an advertisement for their ideal mobile phone, on paper. If your students have access to computers, they can do this with digital images and text, e.g. in a PowerPoint slide. Share the advertisements with the class. You can ask students to vote on which advertisement is the most persuasive and why.


Instead of listing their ideal phone functions in Step 2, students (especially younger learners) can be encouraged to draw their phone and label the functions, on paper, or in a drawing program on tablet. These drawings can then be included in the follow up activity.

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Readers' comments (3)

  • Refreshing approach. A good way to engage teenage learners with relevant subject. Teachers that like this lesson may also like lessons related to text messaging. CUL8TR :)

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  • Easy to carry on.

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  • Interesting

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