Teaching the five W's - Who, What, Where, Why, When

Summary: A short lesson plan on teaching students interrogative pronouns

What are interrogative words? An interrogative word is used to ask questions. Wh-questions are used to ask for information about an event or a situation. A wh-question consists of an interrogative word i.e. who, what, where, when, why followed by a verb and a noun complement. Word order is subject-verb-object.

For example:

  • "What's the date?"
  • "Where are you?"
  • "Who is he?"
  • "When is it?"
  • "What's the time?"

Here's a simple activity that I've used in class to teach the five w's to my students.

Mickey Mouse is having a birthday party!
You're invited.

Date: Sunday, June 1st, 2006

Place: Mickey Mouse House, Tokyo Disneyland
Chiba Prefecture, Urayasu City

Time: at 2 o'clock in the afternoon.

See you at my party!

Question: What's this?
Answer: This is an invitation

Question: Who is Mickey Mouse?
Answer: Mickey Mouse is my friend./He's a cartoon./He's a mouse.

Question: Where is the party?
Answer: At Mickey Mouse House, Tokyo Disneyland, Chiba Prefecture, Urayasu City

Question: When is the party?
Answer: On Sunday, June 1st, 2006

Question: Why is Mickey Mouse having a party?
Answer: It's his birthday.

I review the grammar points in class and then distribute the invitation handout to the students. Write the questions on the board and/or prepare a handout with the questions to give out. Have the students work in pairs or in small groups to come up with the answers. Take up the questions in class. Students correct their answers. If time permits, have the students practice in pairs asking and answering the questions.

I hope this lesson plan sparks ideas for preparing your own lesson on teaching students interrogative pronouns.

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