Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

In the BrainPOP ELL movie, If We Lived There (L3U5L2), Ben and Moby take their minds off shoveling snow by imagining what life would be like if they lived on a tropical island. If only it weren’t a dream! In this lesson plan, adaptable for grades 3-8, students use the second conditional as they discuss imaginary conditions.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Ask and answer questions using the second conditional.
  2. Discuss unreal or imaginary conditions.
  3. Use the second conditional to describe a picture or a situation.
  4. Construct a shared story.


condition, conditional, second conditional, result, main clause, if clause


For Activity 4, What if?, write statements on slips of paper and fold them up. Some examples include:

What if you found a bag filled with money? What would you do?
What if you could travel anywhere in the world? Where would you go?
What if you were President of the United States and you could change one thing? What would you do?
What if you were invited to your friend’s house for dinner, and they served something you don’t like to eat? What would you do?
What if you could meet any person in history? Who would you meet?

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Conditional Questions. To provide students with opportunities to use the target grammar in relevant activities, begin each day with a different second conditional question on the board. Students can also submit questions for you to use. For example:
    If you were a teacher, what would you teach?
    If you could live anywhere, where would you live?
    If you could meet anyone, who would you meet?
    If you had one wish, what would it be?
  2. Change It Up. During a repeat viewing of If We Lived There (L3U5L2), turn off the closed captions, and pause the movie each time you hear an if-clause, but before the result is spoken. Students should complete the conditional statement with their own ideas. Encourage students to be creative. For example, when Ben says If we lived on a tropical island… a response could be, I would sleep all day in a hammock.
  3. Creating Conditions. Distribute an index card to each student and instruct them to write one adjective on the card. If they need help thinking of adjectives, brainstorm as a class. Or they can go through the BrainPOP ELL Word List to find adjectives they know. When everyone has written down an adjective, collect the index cards and mix them up. Then re-distribute them, but make sure you don’t give students their own cards. Students are to construct a sentence using the second conditional and the adjective on the card. For example: If I were lost, I would look at a map. Students share their sentences with the class.
    To make this a Memory Chain activity, students must remember the previous sentences, and then add their own. They can hold up their adjective cards as prompts.
  4. If I Lived on An Island… To practice second conditional sentences, project the If You Lived There image, or make copies for students to talk about in pairs. Prompt students to talk about or write down what they would do if they lived on an island. For example, If I lived on an island, I would swim with dolphins. Pairs practice by explaining to each other what their island lives would be like.
  5. What If? Fold up “What if” prompts (see Preparation) and put them in a bag. Have each student pull a prompt from the bag. Allow time for them to consider their prompts. Then using the second conditional, each student presents to the whole class, or in a small group, what they would do if they were in the situation they selected.
  6. Chain Story. Create a Roundrobin chain story with the class. To construct the story, students use the second part, or main clause, of the previous student’s sentence to begin their sentence with an if-clause in the second conditional. For example:
    If we had no school today, I would go to the beach.
    If I went to the beach, I would fall asleep in the sand.
    If I fell asleep in the sand, I would get a sunburn….

    You may also do this activity as a Roundtable exercise. Students pass a paper around, adding their sentences. When they have finished, they read their stories to the class to select the best one.