Extreme Sports? Extreme Insanity!

This is a lesson plan about extreme sports. The kind of sports where people risk their lives but do it for the thrill and excitement.

This lesson can be used in your English speaking class or a test-prep class such as IELTS or TOEFL. The lesson comes with a short article of just over 400 words followed by a list of essential vocabulary and then discussion questions. Finally there is a group exercise to do in class.

Feel free to use it in your own English classes. And let me know how it went in the comments below!


Introduction

What is an extreme sport?

Are there any extreme sports in your country? What do people think of them?

Do you think extreme sports should be allowed? Why/why not?

 

Reading

There was a time when extreme sports meant skiing or surfing. Maybe mountain climbing or white-water rafting.

But by today’s standards, those sports are considered tame.

These days more and more people are becoming addicted to the thrill of extreme danger.

Take the new sport of urban free climbing.

This is hugely popular in Russia where climbers find a high-rise building and climb it. There are countless videos you can see online of young daredevils getting to the top of a skyscraper and making a video of themselves as they climb the antenna at the very peak or skip along the edge of the building hundreds of metres in the air.

Using no safety equipment and no ropes these extreme climbers manage to get the top of many famous skyscrapers around the world.

They then upload their photographs and videos to social media websites for their thousands of followers.

Why do they do it?

For the sheer thrill of it. They live for danger.

While people in the past enjoyed playing football or a game of tennis, today’s sports enthusiasts want something with a lot more excitement. They need to feel the adrenaline rush of doing an activity that puts them in danger.

Another popular extreme sport is BASE jumping. This involves jumping from a fixed structure with either a parachute or a wingsuit and flying to the ground.

BASE stands for the four kinds of fixed objects that the person can jump from: building, antenna, span and earth (cliff).

It is extremely dangerous and people die from doing it. But that doesn’t seem to stop the rapid growth of the sport. In professional parachuting, it is advised to open the parachute from a minimum height of just over 900 metres.

But in BASE jumping that is not always possible.

Hence the danger.

Social media has played a big part in the popularity of extreme sports. We can see many videos on sites such as YouTube for example that show us the nerve-tingling situations that these enthusiasts get into.

There are even videos of people having serious accidents or falling to their deaths. Because of this, there is much debate over whether some of these extreme sports should be banned. Many of the urban free climbers and BASE jumpers are engaging in their chosen sports against the authorities.

With no safety regulations in place and no professional team to advise them, should these people be allowed to indulge in these activities?

 

Essential Vocabulary

 

skiing

surfing

white-water rafting

tame

addicted

thrill

urban

hugely popular

countless

daredevils

skyscraper

antenna

peak

skip along

upload

social media

followers

sheer thrill

adrenaline rush

fixed structure

parachute

wing suit

span

nerve-tingling

debate

banned

authorities

Exercise

Write down all the words and phrases in your vocabulary notebook. Look in your dictionary and find the meaning of each word. Write the definition next to each word.

Then make up your own sentences using each word or phrase.

For example:

Notebook—a small book with pages of blank paper that students use to make notes when studying.

“I left my notebook at home so I was unable to make any notes in my English class.”

 

Questions

    1. Look at the list of extreme sports below. Which ones would you like to try?

zorbing

scuba diving

blobbing

wakeboarding

parkour

abseiling

street luge

waterfall kayaking

    1. Do you think we should allow these extreme sports? Which ones are acceptable? Which ones unacceptable? Why do you think so?
    1. Have you seen any videos of extreme sports online? How do they make you feel?
    1. Why do people like to take part in extreme sports?
    1. Some people say that extreme sports are a good way to relieve stress. Do you agree with this statement?
    1. Are extreme sports a danger to other people? How so?
    1. What should the authorities do about extreme sports such as urban free climbers? Should they allow them to do it? Why/why not?

 

Group Exercise

Get into small groups.

Think of a new extreme sport.

    • What equipment does this sport require?
    • Where can people play/do this sport?
    • Is it legal/illegal? Is this part of the enjoyment of the sport?

Introduce this new extreme sport to the class.

 

Teachers Notes

Depending on which country you are in, many students may be unfamiliar with these sports. You may have to show pictures if you have access to a projector in your class. Videos would be great too. Especially of the Russian guys that climb to the top of skyscrapers.

The questions should be straightforward enough but you will have to monitor the group exercise. Make sure the students are thinking of an extreme sport that is new.

When presenting the new extreme sport make sure that each student in the group has a turn at speaking.

After each group presentation encourage questions and comments from the rest of the class.


What did you think of this lesson? Was it useful?

Let me know in the comments below!

2 thoughts on “Extreme Sports? Extreme Insanity!”

  1. It is a great topic for discussion as well as a reading and/or writing lesson. The topic is interesting even if you don’t do sports at all. I don’t do any sports but my niece and her husband jump from buildings with a parachute. They belong to a group that does it in different parts of the world. Go figure!

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