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Will Your Students Steal A Car?: ESL/EFL Simulation Activity

esl simulation activity

This activity is for a group of four students, B1-B2 level, 15+ age.  

I find it’s best to use this activity after teaching crime vocabulary, and after teaching some basic concepts of peer pressure, argumentation, and manipulation. What I like about this activity is that the character cards don’t tell the students what decisions they should make, it’s purely their choice.


Four friends are hanging out after school. One of them wants to steal a car but he/she can only steal it if EVERYONE agrees. Will he/she be successful? If yes, there is the second part of the story which you will tell them( or show on a slip of paper, so they can read it)

  1. Let the students draw their characters, Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter.
  2. Explain to them they will play 4 friends hanging out and chatting in a simulation about friendship and that they will find some basic information about their characters but the rest and they will have to fill themselves as well as any further moves and decisions.
  3. Give them the character cards and tell them to think about their characters a bit and prepare topics to talk about.
  4. After they read their cards you shouldn’t answer any further questions.

Student  Winter:  You are a good kid. You’ve never stolen anything, you think cheating is wrong and you would never lie to your parents. Also, it is hard for you to find new friends and you’ve recently moved into a new town, you are the new kid in school and you want to find new friends and keep them. One day after school, you’re hanging out in the shopping mall, drinking bubble tea and getting to know your friends. You like student Summer, don’t know Student Autumn much and are afraid of Student Spring.

Student Summer: You are a good kid. You’ve never stolen anything but a couple of coins from your mum’s purse but that is not stealing anyway. Or the cigarettes you took at the supermarket. You just want to try new things and have some fun. That never hurt anyone. Also, you have a very strict father who you are afraid of. Student Spring is your best friend and you admire him/her.  Student Winter is the new kid and you like them and you are jealous of Student Autumn. One day after school, you’re hanging out in the shopping mall, drinking bubble tea and chatting with your friends.

Student Spring: You are a good kid. You like to have fun and party a bit. You are a bit more mature than your friends. You like stealing beer and snacks at the local supermarket. Today you would like to have some fun with your friends. You’ve noticed an old car parked outside. It is easy to break into the car and jump start it and you know how to do that because your cousin taught you. You want to go for a ride around the block with your friends and after that, you just leave the car parked somewhere. You wouldn’t be even stealing the car, besides, joyriding isn’t even a crime in some countries. You need to persuade your friends to do it with you and you can only do it if EVERYONE agrees. Student Summer is your best friend, Student Winter is the new kid and you want to impress Student Autumn. One day after school, you’re hanging out in the shopping mall, drinking bubble tea and chatting with your friends.

Student Autumn: You are a good kid. You like to have fun. Sometimes you do some harmless drugs, sometimes you have a couple of drinks. You hang out with Summer and Spring because they are younger and sometimes pay you to buy them beer. Sometimes you steal some money from them and they don’t even notice, but ‘drugs’ are expensive and you like it too much. You were arrested once but it was no big deal, your father paid the bail and made it go away. Right now you would like to earn some quick money, best by stealing something, you have friends who could sell everything. One day after school, you’re hanging out in the shopping mall, drinking bubble tea and chatting with your friends. You don’t know Winter, the new kid.


IF the students don’t agree on stealing the car, have the feedback discussion(you can find the questions below) with them.

IF all 4 four students agree on stealing the car, give them this:


During your joy ride, you hit something in a dark back alley. The car stops and you start to think. It might have been a human. It made a sound like a human.

What do you do?


After the students finish the activity, have a feedback discussion with them.

How did they relate to their characters?

Did they imagine any other details about their characters?

Why did they decide the way they did?

Did they feel pressured into their decisions?

Have they ever been pressured into any decisions in real life?




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