Lesson:Past perfect (continuous) flip prompts

From Teflpedia

This flip prompt activity provides rapid (semi)controlled practice of the past simple, past continuous, past perfect simple and past perfect continuous.


  • Students will need two sheets of (scrap) A4 paper and a pen(cil)


  • Students cut/tear up each sheet of A4 into eight small squares.
  • On eight of the squares, they should write an activity, the more unusual the better e.g. "running barefoot", "arguing with a police officer", "riding an elephant" etc.
  • On the other eight squares, students should write the names of eight places; again the more offbeat the better e.g. "on the roof of a house", "by the park fountain", "in the Amazon rainforest" etc.
  • Once ready, the teacher collects the tabs and shuffles them, keeping them in two separate piles.
  • Pairs are formed, and sixteen of each prompt (unusual activity/unusual place) are given to each.
  • Pairs place their two piles face down in front of them and, each taking turns, they flip over one prompt from the top of each pile.
  • They then ask their partner a question beginning with "Why" in the past continuous using the prompts and an agreed time phrase, such as "last night". For example, on flipping over "arguing with a police officer" and "on the roof of a house", a student may ask their partner "Why were you arguing with a police officer on the roof of your house last night?".
  • Their partner must then, using the past perfect simple and/or the past perfect continuous, provide a reason/excuse which explains the cause(s) which led to that consequence e.g. "I was arguing with the police officer because I had been watching the night sky from my roof and he had tried to arrest me because he had thought I was a burglar"
  • Errors are corrected immediately and/or delayed until the end of the activity.