Why do we laugh?

Lesson plan overview

This ESL lesson plan for upper-intermediate and advanced students is all about the useful vocabulary students need to talk about laughter. Students have plenty of opportunities to practise the target vocabulary and to talk about their personal experiences. You can combine it with the lessons: “Self-care“, “Phrasal verbs: happiness and well-being“, and “Idioms: positivity, optimism and hope“.

Vocabulary: The lesson starts with a few expressions (make a joke, pull a prank, tickle) students need to match to the photos given. Students practise theses phrases by completing questions and answering the questions. After that they work on a vocabulary exercise which introduces different synonyms of laugh and funny (hilarious, amusing, crack me up). Activity 1 and 2 also serve as a pre-listening exercises to teach the more difficult vocabulary students will hear when they watch the video.
Listening: Students watch a video “Why do humans laugh”, which is divided into 3 parts, taking into account that the video is almost 6 min long. In the first listening activity students put in order the reasons why we laugh according to what they hear. The second activity is a multiple-choice exercise. Before students watch the last part, they talk about the benefits of laughter (the pre-class video gives plenty of information on the topic). Then they take notes and answer in their own words what the benefits of laughter are.

Speaking: There are 4 different speaking activities in this lesson which will ensure students talk about the topic of laughter at length and practice the vocabulary from the lesson. The last speaking exercise which wraps up the lesson deals with questions related to cultural differences in terms of sense of humor, how our sense of humor changes as we get older and more.

Homework: 3 research suggestions are given which, together with the additional videos and articles provided on theenglishflows.com will ensure students learn and practise the topic-related vocabulary and will be able to use the most important words from this lesson in the future.

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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. humanity  2.laugh  3.muscles  4.relaxed   5.aching  6.strengthen  5.humor   6.blood   7.character

Comprehension questions

In-class activities

Teacher’s lesson plan
Student’s worksheet

Conversation cards PDF

Student’s interactive PDF

Additional resources

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