These are activities for upper intermediate students to introduce and practise idioms and phrases relating to change. Students match the sentence halves; complete the sentences with the missing expressions and do a role play.

Level: B2 +

Time: 60 minutes


  1. To match sentence halves to make idioms and phrases relating to change.
  2. To do a role play activity to practise the new vocabulary in a new, playful context.


  1. ‘Nothing changes if nothing changes phrases and fortune teller cards, one set of phrases per small group of three or four, cut up and shuffled and one set of fortune teller cards per pair, cut up, and shuffled.
  2. Nothing changes if nothing changes worksheet, one per student.


  1. Write the following questions on the board and ask students to briefly answer them in pairs:
  • Have you made any recent changes in your life?
  • If you could change anything in your life, what would it be?
  • Do you think it is easy for people to change?
  1. Hand students ‘Nothing changes if nothing changes’ idioms and phrases.
  2. In small groups, students match the sentence halves.
  3. Monitor and encourage students to guess some of the answers, before asking them to compare with the other groups.
  4. Check the answers as a class – you can make this more competitive by asking each team for their answer and awarding a point for the correct answer.
  5. Give students ‘Nothing changes if nothing changes’ worksheet and ask them to complete the sentences with the missing phrases individually before they compare them with their partner.
  6. Check the answers as a class.
  7. Ask students to think of their love life, health, work/school and money, and very briefly describe what stage they are at in these. Tell them they can be creative and invent it, even pretending to be a celebrity, if they don’t feel comfortable sharing their personal information.
  8. Put the students into pairs and give one student a set of ‘Nothing changes if nothing changes’ fortune teller cards.
  9. One student is a fortune teller and the other is a client who is looking for advice.
  10. Once the client has explained their situation, the fortune teller draws one of the cards and offers advice using all three expressions on the cards, e.g. Unfortunately, the project you have been working on is not going anywhere. You will have to go back to square one and start again.
  11. Once the client has asked for 2 pieces of advice, students switch roles and continue with the next card.
  12. Then, mix the students into fresh pairs, shuffle the cards and continue.
  13. Role plays continue until each client has spoken to at least 3 fortune tellers.
  14. At the end ask the students which fortune player seemed the most convincing and which piece of advice in particular they found the most useful.

Fast finishers:

Unscramble the following idioms and write your own definitions of each one:

  1. Clean break to a make
  2. Breath fresh air of a
  3. To change times with the
  4. To doors open new

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