Vol. 10, Issue 4, May 2010

Ready-to-Go Lesson Plan
Linda Pratt



Kind of activity: Health Care for US families

Preparation time:  30 minutes

Intended student population:  advanced

Lesson goals and objectives: to understand health care coverage in the US and how it is affected by life situations

Time limit: 30-45mins

Materials: Conversation and Culture (3rd Edition) by Genzel and Cummings Chapter 9 (for reference), calculators (optional), handout to keep track of expenses,  4 sets of cards in different colors with the following information:

  • family composition.  (4-5 cards)
  • typical monthly expenses for that family, which differs slightly from group to group.  (4-5 cards)
  • the health care plan the family has, including such items as prescription plans, deductibles, co-pays, and general and specialist coverage (4-5 cards)
  • Descriptions of life experiences that would affect how well a family could still afford health care.  The cards contained situations as ‘new baby’, ‘spouse in car accident’, ‘lost job’ and ‘child needs braces for teeth (I explain this) $___’ (16-20 cards). (If the instructor is familiar with the board game The Game of Life s/he can borrow from some of those experiences for the cards)

Activity instructions:
Review chapter 9 in text on US health care.
Assign students into groups to be a ‘family.’
Give each ‘family’ a card indicating their family composition, and then another card listing typical monthly expenses for that family (e.g. mortgage payment, utility bills, cable/internet service, groceries).  I explain some of the vocabulary in case the students are unfamiliar with these terms.

Then give each family a card describing the health care plan the family has. After receiving that set of cards, I asked the students if they needed to make adjustments to their monthly family budget to receive health care, which some did. 

Then distribute life experience cards to each group, and have the groups make adjustments to their family budgets to continue to afford health care.  Distribute a minimum of 3 life experience cards to each ‘family,’ allowing time between each round for the groups to assess their budgets.

At the end of the lesson I asked the students how it felt to be a family going through these situations, and discussed US health care to that of their countries.  One could follow up with online/print articles about US health care to refer to this lesson.  (The idea for this was activity was inspired by www.MoneyInstructor.com).

See attached for helpful information. PDF


(Photo Linda) Linda D. Pratt is a speech-language pathologist who is currently an adjunct instructor in the English Language Center at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY.  She has taught Pronunciation, different levels of Conversation, and Conversation and Culture.  She is also a certified trainer in the Compton P-ESL accent modification program.

If you'd like to share your lesson plan, please send it to us at: dialogue@nystesol.org.