ESL Teaching Activity – the Past Tense
Teaching Grammar to English as a Second Language students can be a deadly bore. We’ve seen student sigh and shut their eyes at the thought of it. We know that in many countries it’s considered a necessary part of learning a language. When we tried to teach English to adults, without introducing grammar, we almost had a rebellion! So, whether we agree or disagree about teaching grammar doesn’t matter. Teachers need to understand the needs of the students.
Perhaps the solution is to make grammar as interesting as possible. This blog will provide a short explanation of how the past tense is used plus two sets of practice questions. It’s all about an amazing true story.
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Past Tense Practice
Regular verbs form the past tense by adding “ed” to the root verb
EXAMPLE: to like
Past Tense: Andrée liked balloons in 1897.
Choose the sentence with the past tense verb.
1. Andrée is at the North Pole.
Andrée will go to the North Pole.
Andrée attempted to go to the North Pole.
2. Andrée is going to reach the North Pole.
Andrée reached the North Pole.
Andrée will be at the North Pole.
3. Andrée waited for the balloon to take off.
Andrée is in the balloon.
Andrée is waiting for the balloon to take off.
4. The whole world greeted Andrée’s plan.
The whole world greets Andrée’s plan.
The whole world will greet Andrée’s plan.
5. Andrée’s balloon floats above the ocean.
Andrée balloon floated above the ocean.
Andrée balloon can float above the ocean.
Write the correct form of the past tense on the lines.
Now, that wasn’t very exciting so let’s get questions about Andrée’s expedition.
In 1897, Andrée, who (to live) __________________ in Sweden, (to attempt) ________________ to reach the North Pole in a balloon. He (to want) ______________ to be the first to fly to the Pole. The whole world (to greet) _______________ his plan with excitement.
Andrée (to travel) _______________ with two friends. The ropes holding his balloon were cut and the balloon rose up. At once he had a problem. The balloon (to float) ___________
too close to the water. To solve the problem he (to dump) _____________ many kilograms of the sand that gave the balloon ballast. Now it (to tip) _______________ from side to side as it rose above the water.
In this way the balloon became an ordinary hydrogen balloon. It (to start) _________________ to lose its hydrogen as it went higher. The explorers no longer (to control) _______________ their destination. What could they do? Where would they land?