Do IQ tests measure our intelligence?

Lesson plan overview

This ESL lesson plan for upper-intermediate and advanced students explores the topic of intelligence, and whether IQ tests are a good tool to measure it. Students learn useful vocabulary to talk about intelligence and the phrases they need in order to talk about talents and skills with plenty of opportunities for discussion and speaking practice.

Vocabulary: After an initial discussion about students’ personal experience with IQ tests, students learn important adjectives to describe intelligent people (e.g. wise, sharp, gifted) by looking at and talking about the meaning of a few quotes.

Functional language: Students learn a few useful phrases they can use to talk about their skills and talents (e.g. to have an eye for, to be hopeless at, to have a gift for) and then change the sentences in order to make them true for them.

Video: Students predict the answers of 7 multiple-choice questions and then watch a video “The dark history of IQ tests” to check their answers. Discussion is encouraged after watching the video. The lesson concludes with a speaking practice exercise where students use the questions given to start a conversation on the topic of intelligence.

Homework: 3 research topics are suggested which aim to develop the topic further. The topics, combined with the additional resources provided on provide plenty of extra opportunities for contact with topic-related vocabulary in order to reinforce and enrich it

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Teacher’s lesson plan

Student’s worksheet

Student’s interactive PDF

Conversation cards PDF

Pre-class activities

To send the pre-class activities to your students, copy the link below.

Vocabulary matching


The first time you watch the video, pay special attention to the correct pronunciation of the following words:

1.throughout    2.ranked    3.require    4.neurodiversity   5.society    6.autistic   7.comparable

Comprehension questions

In-class activities

Teacher’s lesson plan
Student’s worksheet

Conversation cards PDF

Student’s interactive PDF

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