a project on Present Perfect Continuous
In this project, students will create a scenario in which a cute but giant creature is unintentionally terrorizing a fictional city. They’ll then need to report on what the creature has been doing, how the people have been reacting, and other happenings throughout that chaotic day.
Brainstorm with your students a list of adorable animals, perhaps twenty or so. Then break your students into groups of three, and ask each group to choose one adorable animal. No two groups should have the same animal, but groups are allowed to select an animal that was not previously brainstormed.
Each group should then write down four activities that their animal does on a regular basis. At least one of those activities should be specific to that animal, but the more non-generic activities, the better. (For example, ‘sleeping’ and ‘eating’ are not specific, but ‘eating carrots and cabbages’ is specific for a rabbit.) You may choose to give your students time to research this for homework.
Next, tell your students to set aside their animals and prepare for a different task. Each group needs to come up with the name of a fictional city, then decide its geological location (is it on the coast? in the mountains? on the plains?) Then shift gears again, and tell each group to think of a supernatural ability, such as flight, invisibility, frost breath, or whatever they like.
The real project begins when they pool all these things together.
Tell the students that this morning, in their fictional cities, their cute creature grew to 50 meters and developed a superpower. Perhaps Janiceburg now has a giant telekinetic koala, or maybe Cooltown has a giant butterfly that shoots lasers from its eyes. Whatever the case, the creatures otherwise remain the same; they may be massive, but they’re still cute.
While the animals exhibit fairly normal behavior, they can’t help but cause panic and perhaps a bit of accidental destruction. Your groups now need to think of the four activities they noted before, and decide how those activities are now a little different. Maybe a giant penguin is sitting on a house because he thinks it’s an egg. Maybe a giant rabbit is eating a school bus because she thinks it’s a carrot. Maybe a giant squirrel is burrowing a massive hole in the downtown park.
After that, your students need to decide how the citizens are responding to each of the four activities, as well as other effects of the rampage (like downed power lines, burst water mains, etc.).
Live on Scene
For the final phase of this project, your students will act as reporters, and groups will take turns enacting their special reports for the rest of the class.
For each group of three, one student will be a new anchors, and two will be out in the field. The news anchor will ask one reporter what’s currently happening where they are, and the reporter will explain the current state of chaos in their area, which are the effects of creature’s activities. When the anchor asks why these things are happening, the reporter explains one of the creature’s direct activities. Here’s an example:
Anchor: What’s happening there in the Southeast District?
Reporter: Cars have been crashing into each other here and for the next six blocks over. Luckily, no one is severely injured, but traffic is no at a standstill.
Anchor: Could you tell us why all those crashes occurred?
Reporter: Well, the giant faun has been eating all the stop signs. I guess she thought they were flowers.
After that, the news anchor switches to the second reporter in another part of town, then continues to alternate until all the activities have been covered.
During the reporting, these journalists should express the animal’s activities in the Present Perfect Continuous tense, since they have been going on for perhaps hours now and has either only recently finished or has not finished yet. In any case, the results of those activities are still very evident.
To view all of our content for Present Perfect Continuous, check out its page of the Tenses series available through Insider Access. The content is centered around a video in which we share innovative teaching methods to make it easier for students to understand and remember grammar points. But it doesn’t stop there!