Use this lesson in face-to-face or online lessons with your primary learners to discuss the concept of poverty.


This lesson plan is based on an activity from the British Council publication Integrating global issues in the creative English language classroom, which provides innovative ideas for teaching while raising awareness of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

In this lesson, which supports Goal 1: No poverty, learners look at images contrasting wealth and poverty and think about what it means to be rich, poor or to have enough. They consider non-material needs, such as access to education and services, as well as material needs, then they make their own decisions in groups about what they think would be fair for everybody to have, using language for agreeing and disagreeing. Finally, they work together to create a poster with their ideas.


  • To raise awareness of the issue of poverty
  • To consider what poverty means
  • To review and learn vocabulary for material and non-material needs and possessions
  • To practise language for agreeing and disagreeing
  • To promote group work and collaboration skills

Age and level:

Primary learners aged 9–11 years at CEFR level B1 and above


60–90 minutes approximately or two shorter lessons


The lesson plan and student material can be downloaded below in PDF format. In addition, you will need:

  • an image of Mahatma Gandhi
  • a selection of images that contrast wealth and poverty in different contexts

Important - please read:

Included in the downloads or teacher notes for each lesson, you will find:

  • Guidance and advice on managing group and pair work activities in face-to-face classrooms with physical distancing protocols.
  • Guidance and advice for what teachers need to know and do before and at the beginning of an online class. Please read the lesson instructions carefully before using them. They are for guidance only, and designed to be used with the most common online platforms. You may need to adapt the lesson to the format and online platform you are working with.

A combination of the lesson plan for online teaching and the lesson plan for face-to-face teaching can be used in 'hybrid' situations, where some students in the class are studying from home and others are physically in the classroom. Classroom material for the online lesson is provided as a PowerPoint presentation and a PDF.

Language Level

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