In this speaking activity students have to look at how to encourage migration to an imaginary city. They look at a number of projects to help support this and have to agree how to allocate a budget. The activity is based on themes from the British Council OPENCities project

Download a copy of the budget worksheet for each student. You can download this below as a PDF document.


  • Ask students which they think is better, living in the countryside or living in a city.
  • Put them in pairs to discuss the 'pros' and 'cons' of each. You can use images from Flickriver to help stimulate conversation and brainstorm some vocabulary. Click on this link to see urban images: and this one for rural images:
  • Once they have had some time to discuss, elicit some feedback on the problems of cities and some of the good things.
  • Now tell them that they are going try to govern a small city. Give them the first part of the worksheet with the scenario on and ask them to read it. Check that they understand it and help with vocabulary.
  • Next put the students into groups. Give some of the students roles within the group. Make one student (choose one of the stronger speakers) the chair person and tell the students to make sure everyone has a chance to share their opinion. Also make one student responsible for taking notes on the final budget.
  • Now tell them to read through the problems and discuss them together, then decide on how much of the budget they will give to each project. To make this more challenging you could also tell them that they can only fund 6 of the 8 projects and two will have to be stopped.
  • Give each group time to work at their budget. Once the groups have finished their discussion, tell them that they need to present their budget and the rationality for it. Give them some time to prepare a short presentation, then regroup the students so that they are with people from a different group and ask them to compare budgets.
  • You could follow this up with a written task getting students to write up a draft proposal of their budget and the justification for their spending.

An alternative approach to this discussion is to have groups of 8 people and make one person responsible for each project. They then have to argue for a percentage of the budget and convince others in the group that their project should be funded.

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