Crime, Law and Punishment ESL Role-Plays, Worksheets, Activities and Games

Stop Thief!

ESL Crime Worksheet - Vocabulary and Grammar Exercises: Gap-fill, Identifying, Unscrambling, Matching, Writing Questions - Speaking Activity: Role-Play - Pair Work - Intermediate (B1) - 30 minutes

In this crime worksheet, students practice crime vocabulary and take on the role of detectives, making past and present simple questions relating to a crime. Students begin with a gap-fill exercise where they complete questions about a robbery with words from a box, indicating whether the questions are in the past or present simple. Next, students unscramble answers and match them to the questions. Students then move on to complete witness questions with three words using the witness's answers to help them. Afterwards, students write five past or present simple questions of their own to ask the accused thief. Students then practice their questions with a partner by taking it in turns to be the detective and the thief. Finally, students role-play their questions and answers to the class.
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Crime and Punishment Vocabulary

ESL Crime and Punishment Worksheet - Reading and Vocabulary Exercises: Identifying, Matching, Dictionary Work, Gap-fill - Upper-intermediate (B2) - 25 minutes

This free crime and punishment worksheet helps students to learn and practice words related to crime and criminal trials. This worksheet can be used in conjunction with the mock criminal trial role-play. To begin, students read a passage about a crime and underline all the crime and punishment vocabulary. Students then use the context clues from the text to match words to their definitions. Next, students use a dictionary to write definitions of the noun forms 'convict' and 'suspect'. Students also write an example sentence for each one. After that, students read sentences and complete gaps with the crime and punishment vocabulary. As an extension, students may do the mock criminal trial role-play.
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Judgement Day

ESL Crime, Law and Punishment Activity - Speaking: Form Completion, Presenting Information, Guided Discussion, Freer Practice - Group Work - Upper-intermediate (B2) - 45 minutes

In this crime, law and punishment role-play, students invent a theft and present the evidence and suspects to a jury, who try to identify the perpetrator of the crime. In groups, students invent a theft and write down the facts about the crime, including what was stolen and where. Next, they create three suspects, one is guilty of the crime and the other two are innocent. For each character, students explain the suspect's means, motive and opportunity for committing the crime. For the innocent characters, students also explain why they are innocent even though it might appear that they committed the crime. Groups then provide evidence, including what was stolen from where, information about the characters, and additional clues. Groups also make the innocent characters seem guilty, except for two small facts. Next, each group explains their crime to another group who acts as a jury. The jury listens and decides who is most likely to be guilty, asking questions and discussing before making a final decision. Once the jury has guessed, students reveal the correct answer.
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Mock Criminal Trial Role-Play

ESL Criminal Trial Role-Play - Speaking Activity: Free Practice - Upper-intermediate (B2) - 40 minutes

In this criminal trial role-play activity, students take part in a mock criminal trial in order to practice vocabulary related to crime, law and punishment. Explain that the students are going to plan and conduct a mock criminal trial to determine if a suspect is innocent or guilty of stealing vegetables from a neighbour's garden. Have the students choose which role they would like to play in the trial. Once the roles have been assigned, go through the guidelines with the class, so everyone understands the reason for the trial, the roles they will play, and the basic facts. Next, read through the procedure as a class and have the students prepare for the role-play. When everyone is ready, start the trial.
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The Prison Cell

ESL Crime Role-Play - Vocabulary and Speaking: Role-Play, Asking and Answering Questions, Table Completion, Matching, Gap-fill - Group Work - Upper-intermediate (B2) - 35 minutes

This crime role-play and worksheet helps students learn and practice the names of crimes. In groups, students take on the role of the criminal on their card. Their task is to find out why the other people in their group are in prison by asking questions and completing a chart with the information. Students go around their group, asking and answering the questions and noting down the information. Next, students match each crime from a box with its definition. Finally, students write the name of the crime each person committed from the information they gathered.
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30 Second Jail Talk

ESL Crime Vocabulary Game - Speaking and Vocabulary: Impromtu Speech - Pair Work - Advanced (C1) - 30 minutes

In this crime vocabulary game, students talk about crime-related words for one minute. The activity covers types of crime, criminals and punishments. In pairs, students begin by adding five crime-related words of their own to their grid on the worksheet. Students then take turns calling out coordinates for their partner's grid. Their partner tells them the corresponding crime-related word for that square and starts timing one minute. The student then talks about the word for one minute, without stopping. If the student is successful, they write the word in their partner's grid and their partner crosses the word off their grid. If the student is unsuccessful, they can choose the same word again or choose another grid reference on their next turn. The first student to get five words in a row wins the game.
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