TeachingEnglish | Lesson plans

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TeachingEnglish | Lesson plans

April Fool's Day
Topic: April Fool's

   - To develop reading and speaking skills
   - To introduce students to April Fool's Day in the UK

Level: Intermediate+

Introduction: This lesson gives students the opportunity to find out about what
happens on April Fool's Day, April 1st, in the UK. It's the one day of the year
when it's acceptable to play jokes on your friends and colleagues. Many
countries have their own equivalent of April Fool's Day.


Show your students some of the websites about April Fool's day so they can
find out
more and get some ideas for their own trick:
http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/aprilfool/  Top 100 April Fool's hoaxes.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/April_fool%27s_day  Information about April Fool's
day from Wikipedia.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland/spring/april/index.shtml  more about the
stm  last year's hoax by Newsround, the brain band.

      April Fool! How better to introduce the topic than by playing a mini April
       Fool joke on your students? Before the class, think of an April fool style
       trick you can play on them. This will vary depending on their age and
       level. To give a silly example, tell them that you've just read on the
       Internet that scientists have invented a new English dictionary on a
       microchip that can be implanted into people to equip them with all the
       vocabulary they need in a foreign language. If you're good at telling
       stories you could really go to town and elaborate by telling students
       you're worried that English teachers will all lose their jobs. When you've
       let the trick go on long enough tell your students, "April Fool!" and explain
       that it was a trick. Explain the basic idea of April Fool's day.

      April Fool's Day. This activity is to introduce the concept of April Fool's
       Day. Discuss the questions with your students and use them as a chance
       to explain the idea of the day and to find out as much as you can about
       their country's version of April Fool's Day if they have one. This would be
       a good time to pre-teach useful vocabulary for the class such as:
       Practical jokes, play a trick, to fool somebody, a hoax, joker etc.

                                BBC | British Council 2010
                                                 TeachingEnglish | Lesson plans

        If you have a very big group, put students into groups of four or five and
        give each group a copy of worksheet A then have time for each group to
        feedback their ideas to the whole class.

A. April Fool's Day

1.   What do you know about April Fool's Day?
2.   Do you have a similar day in your country?
3.   Do you like practical jokes?
4.   Have you played a trick on anyone recently?
5.   Who's the joker in your class / family?

           Just Fooling Around.
            Put students into pairs and give each pair a copy of worksheet B.
            Ask them to read the text and discuss the questions as they read
            through. The text is adapted from a Trend UK article.
            Note this is an old plan, so the webpage it links to is no longer
            available. You can print out the texts from the worksheets below

                                BBC | British Council 2010
                                                  TeachingEnglish | Lesson plans

B. Just Fooling Around.

Read the text about April Fool's Day in the UK. When you reach a question
discuss it
with your partner.

Just Fooling Around
Alien invasion
Picture this - a UFO circling the skies over London watched by thousands of
astonished citizens. The police arrive at the scene expecting an alien invasion
and witness a silver suited person emerging from the craft!

       1. How would you feel if you saw the UFO over London?

Did you know that British scientists can control the weather? The invention of a
weather machine will enable the UK to have long hot summer days and ensure
that rain only falls at night. Better still, snow at Christmas time will always be

       2. Would you like the weather to be controlled?

Whistling carrots
Fancy something different for dinner? Have you ever tasted the genetically
modified whistling carrot? Specially engineered to grow with air holes in their
side, the carrots begin to whistle when they are fully cooked.

       3. Would you believe this story if you heard it on the news?

April Fool's
Unfortunately none of these stories are true, they are part of the tradition of April
Fool's Day. It is the custom in the UK to carry out a joke or trick upon someone
during the morning of 1 April. If the person falls for the joke then they are named
an April Fool.
It's an annual pastime of newspapers and television to take part in playing these
jokes and even millionaire entrepreneurs do it too. The UFO was in fact a hot-
air balloon in disguise flown by Richard Branson! April Fools Day will continue
so be on the look out this year for any hoaxes, there are bound to be some.
Maybe you could try some of your own?

Source of text: http://www.britishcouncil.org/japan-trenduk-april04-fooling.htm
Note this is an old plan, so the webpage it links to is no longer available.

      Message board  April Fool's Day  Do you Love it or Hate it?
       Tell students that an Internet site asked viewers whether or not they liked
       April Fool's Day. The replies are on worksheet C. Use them to give
       students an idea of what some people think about the day and to ask
       students what they think about April Fool's Day or a similar day they may
                                 BBC | British Council 2010
                                                   TeachingEnglish | Lesson plans

        have in their own country.
        Students could write their own opinion as an extension activity. You
        could give students one comment each to read and explain to the group.

C. Message board  April Fool's Day  Do you Love it or Hate it?
A website asked some British people the question "Do you love or hate April
Fool's Day?" Here's what they said. Read the messages on the message board.

Malisa "I love April Fool's Day. It can be really good fun. I love playing tricks on
people and I don't mind if people play tricks on me. It's one day of the year you
can be really silly and have a laugh and it's okay. You have to be quite sensible
for the other 364 days of the year, so I look forward to April 1st. "

Johnny "I don't like April Fool's Day. It makes me a bit nervous. I keep thinking
someone is about to play a trick on me. When twelve o'clock passes I feel quite
relieved that it's finished for another year!"

Phil "When I was at school April Fool's Day was always good fun. We played
tricks on each other and sometimes on the teacher. In fact, one year one of the
boys at school put a bucket of water on top of the door and when the chemistry
teacher came in he got very wet! It was funny, but the boy got in big trouble!"

Louise "April Fool's Day is a great idea. It's easy to forget the actual date and I
always believe everything I read in the newspapers or watch on the TV news. I
usually believe the big national hoaxes and it always makes me laugh
afterwards. It's good to remind us that maybe we shouldn't always believe
everything we hear in the news."

Clare "April Fool's Day is fun when you're young. I remember putting a plastic
fried egg on my Dad's plate for breakfast as a trick. He decided to cut it up and
pretend to eat it! Now I think some of the tricks are a bit silly and people can be
a bit cruel playing tricks on their `friends'!"

Mark "I hate April Fool's Day. Last year people at work changed the sugar for
salt so we all put salt in our coffee! Then some joker in the office decided he
wanted a day off and he did something to the computers so they wouldn't work.
It just wasn't funny! I had lots to do and we all had to stop working and solve the

1.   What would you say if you were asked the same question?
2.   Who do you think loves April Fool's Day most?
3.   Who do you think hates April Fool's Day most?
4.   Do you think any of the tricks the people mentioned are funny?

           Top Ten Tricks
            This activity is based on real April Fool's tricks from around the world.
            Make a copy of worksheet D and cut up the ten cards and give them
            out to your students. Each student (or pair) should read the trick and
            then explain it, in their own words, to the class. Then hold a class
                                  BBC | British Council 2010
                                                  TeachingEnglish | Lesson plans

           vote to rank the tricks from the best to the worst  1st to 10th.

D. Top Ten Tricks
Read an April Fool's trick and then explain it to your classmates.

   In 1998 Burger King published an advert in the magazine USA Today
    offering new `Left-handed Whoppas' for the 32 million left-handed
    Americans! Thousands of customers ordered the new burger in the
   A zoo in Japan said that they had a giant penguin that was 165cm tall and
    weighed 80 kilograms! In fact it was a man dressed up in a penguin suit.
   A British newspaper printed an article saying that the European Union had
    decided to ban April Fool's Day! It was only a hoax.
   In the night of March 31st 1989 hundreds of Londoners phoned the police to
    report an alien spacecraft they had seen in the sky. In fact it was a hoax and
    it was a hot air balloon that looked like a spacecraft.
   Last year in the UK a children's news programme said that scientists had
    invented a `Brain Band'. It was a coloured head band that you put on your
    head and it helped to make you more intelligent! On an on-line poll, 47% of
    the children who heard the news wanted to buy a `brain band'!
   In 1949 a radio presenter in New Zealand told listeners that there were
    millions of wasps coming to invade. He told viewers to wear their socks over
    their trousers and to put honey on their doors. Millions of listeners believed
   In 1957 a very serious documentary programme on the BBC reported on the
    spaghetti trees in Switzerland. They said it was an excellent place to grow
    spaghetti! Hundreds of viewers phoned the BBC to ask where they could
    buy spaghetti trees.
   In 1999 a music website claimed that Britney Spears had lied about her age.
    They said she was 28, not 17. Hundreds of people phoned her music label
    to ask how old Britney really was.
   In Sweden in 1962 they have one television channel and all TV was in black
    and white. A scientist told viewers that they would see the TV in colour is
    they put a nylon stocking over the screen.
   In 1976 a very famous British astronomer told radio listeners that at 9.47am
    the earth was going to experience a feeling of less gravity. He said that
    Jupiter and Pluto would cross and if listeners jumped in the air at exactly
    9.47am they would feel the sensation of having no gravity! Hundreds of
    listeners phoned the radio to say they had jumped and floated in the air!

       Make up your own April Fool's trick.
        This is an activity to finish the class with. Ask students to think of their
        own idea for an April Fool's trick. They can be as elaborate as they like. If
        you have looked at worksheet 4 they should have got lots of ideas
        already. If you want, hold a class vote to decide on the best trick.

        There isn't a worksheet for this activity, but if you feel your students need
        a structure, give them some headings as guidelines on the board. For
        example, My April Fool's Trick. I think it would fool people because...
                                 BBC | British Council 2010
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