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Posted on October 10, 2015 by kierandonaghy


This EFL lesson is designed around a short film by The Mercadantes titled Five and the theme of religion. Students research five major religions and compare them, watch a short film of five children praying and then discuss religions.



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Language level: Intermediate (B1) – Upper Intermediate (B2)

Learner type: Teens and adults

Time: 60 minutes

Activity: Talking about and comparing religions and watching a short film,

Topic: Religions

Language: Vocabulary related to religion

Materials: Short film and discussion questions

Downloadable materials: five lesson instructions     religion discussion questions


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Step 1

Write “religion” on the board and ask your students to name as many religions as they can in two minutes in pairs.


Step 2

Write up the names of the religions on the board and practise their pronunciation.


Step 3

Clean the board and write up the following box.

Islam Judaism Buddhism Hinduism Christianity

Religion Person Building
Christianity Christian Church


Ask your students to copy the table. Go through the example of Christianity where you have already given the person and the building. Ask them to complete the others. Go through with the whole class.

Step 4

Put your students into groups if five. Give each group one of the five religions and ask them to tell each other what they already know about the religion and to research things they don’t know on the Internet by using their mobile phones. They should find out information about the following categories: origins; beliefs; customs; ceremonies and rituals; and religious holidays.

Give them 15 minutes to find out as much as they can about their religion.


Step 5

Create new groups so that you have 5 students who have all researched a different religion. Ask each student to tell the others what they have found out about their religion.


Step 6

After each member of the group has described the religion he/she has researched, they should talk about what the different religions have in common and how they are different.


Step 7

Hold a plenary session on the similarities and differences between the 5 religions.


Step 8

Ask your students if they know how the people in the 5 religions pray.


Step 9

Tell your students they are going to watch a short film in which they see 5 children from the 5 religions they have looked at. As they watch they should try to notice any similarities and differences between the children and the religious rituals they see in the film.

Show the film.


Five from The Mercadantes on Vimeo.


Step 10

Get feedback from the whole class.


Step 11

Put your students into pairs and give them the religion discussion questions. Ask them to choose the 5 questions which they find most interesting. They discuss the questions.


Step 12

Hold a plenary session based on the questions.



Give your students this link to a TED talk on the 5 religions they have talked about in class.


Their homework is to watch the talk and then answer the Think multiple choice questions, read the Dig Deeper section, and reflect on the Discuss questions beside the video. In the following class go through their answers to the Think questions, and get them to talk about the Discuss questions in small groups.

I hope you enjoy this ESL lesson.


Support Film English

Film English remains ad-free and takes many hours a month to research and write, and hundreds of dollars to sustain. If you find any joy or value in it, please consider supporting Film English with a monthly subscription, or by contributing a one-off payment.

Monthly subscription

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16 thoughts on “Five

  1. Great lesson. You’ve surpassed yourself with this one. I really enjoyed it and can’t wait to try it out.I don’t know whether you mentioned this…can’t go back to check at this moment, but once they’ve discussed in the 5 groups I’d create buzz groups by recreating new groups with one from each previous group. All the As, all the Bs etc. Student feedback rather than feedback to teacher. Loved it Thank you

    • Hi Jean,
      Thanks for commenting and for the kind words. I’m really happy you like the lesson so much. Good ideas for the class!
      All the best,

  2. Hello,guys! You are doing great job here! I love your idea and everything)) But learning lesson by lesson I started wondering: almost every lesson plan is for Inter/Upper-Inter levels. What about newbies? They can watch videos and studying too, besides there are lot’s of people who dont know English and would like to learn it as a foreign language from scratch! We would be grateful (pupils with Beginner/Elementary) to get lessons for us)) Thx

      • btw, it’d be very convenient if you made a contents table with an alphabetical list of titles and separately with levels or just with levels

        • Hi Nastia,
          If you look on the right hand side of each page you will find that there is already a box titled “Lesson Levels and Themes” where, as the title suggests, you find all the lessons categorised by level and theme. I would suggest using that.

  3. Hi Kieran
    Thanks for posting details to another interesting topic (the video’s great!). I really appreciate all the work you’ve put into your lessons – they are a great foundation for my conversation classes here in China. I often make use of your thoughtful discussion questions, they stimulate a lot of great conversation amongst my students.
    Kind regards

    • Hi Amanda,
      Thanks very much for the kind comments which I really appreciate. I’m very happy you and your students get so much from the lessons.
      All the best,

  4. Great lesson to use this week, after the Paris attacks. It can lead to a very interesting debate.

  5. And thank you very much for your wonderful web. I just teach a few private lessons, but your web is a great source of inspiration. Your lessons always go beyond a simple English language activity.

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