ESL Survival Task

This is a fun activity for a conversation or speaking class. It usually takes about an hour. The task is for students to work in teams to create the best winter survival plan.  

Students are divided into 2 or 3 teams. The teacher explains the survival situation, which is listed below.These activities follow the introduction:

1.  Teams rank items in order of importance for survival.

2.  Teams choose items from the list one by one. Each time an item is chosen, it is removed from the list and unavailable to other teams.  

3.  After the items are all chosen, teams create a survival plan.

4.  Teams present their plans to the group.

5.  Other teams are allowed to ask questions and raise problems with the plan.

6.  After all groups have presented, teacher chooses the group most likely to survive.


You are on a plane that crashes in Northern Ontario more than 300 km from civilization. Luckily, you and your friends all survive but now face the challenge of getting out of the forest and into safety. Considering the location, the temperature is well below freezing and there is a large amount of snow. After you look through the plane you compile a list of all the supplies that are still available. The list is as follows:

Large tarp
Survival meal replacement bars
An axe
Snow shoes
Pots and pans
3 winter jackets
First aid kit
Bottles of water
Metal siding from the plane
A sled
A rifle

You and your group must first decide what will be your plan of action. Will you try and travel to safety or wait to be rescued? Consider this before you decide which of the resources you will choose. Rank the objects in order of importance from 1 to 21.

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