Welcome to our seventh Flashcard Friday post where we’ll give you ideas and invite suggestions for using flashcards in the classroom. As all teachers know, there is more to using flashcards than flashing pictures before your students’ eyes.

Flashcards for Transportation

Transportation FlashcardsAre you going to be doing a unit on Transportation with your beginner level English learners? Our Types of Transportation set goes beyond the usual car, bus, and boat images! This set includes words and images such as “hovercraft”, “hang glider”, “bullet train” and “blimp”. We also have a related set of Types of Cars. This set includes flashcards for “sedan”, “station wagon” and “convertible”. Below you will find some ideas for using our Transportation Flashcards collection. You may want to print the cards with and without the words on the bottom so that you can try some of the different suggestions. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the page for related lesson content on the subject of transportation. And, if you teach young learners, don’t miss our video tip of the week (scroll down).

(Watch the Flashcard Library demo for printing and organization options.) Not an ESL-Library member? Join today!

Car Shopping


Print out the Types of Cars set. Choose a small number of students to be the car salesmen. Hand out the flashcards to your other students (shoppers). They will walk around the room (car shop) pretending to shop for the car picture they received. The car salesmen will ask the students what they are looking for. The shoppers must describe the type of car, but not say the word. The salesman will guess which car the shopper is looking for. The salesman gets a point for guessing correctly. Which car salesman gets the most points?
For example:
Shopper: I’m looking for a big car. I have a family of 7.
Salesman: Oh, so you’re looking for a station wagon.
Shopper: No, I like to sit up high when I drive.
Salesman: Oh, so you want to buy a minivan.
Shopper: Yes.

Mechanic

Give each student a flashcard and tell your students their vehicles need to be fixed. What could go wrong with these vehicles? Students take turns presenting their problems. The mechanics (the rest of the class ) ask questions and make suggestions. (This may get silly if you keep flashcards such as “tank” and “stroller” in the set! Have fun!)

For example:
A: My canoe is leaking.
B: Did you find the hole?
A: Yes, it’s at the bottom.
C: Did you patch it?
A: No, I don’t know how to patch it.
D: I think you need a new canoe.

Continue until all of the students have had a chance to find a fix for their broken vehicle. Sometimes there will be no fix. A mechanic will recommend purchasing a new vehicle. This may be the same type of vehicle or a different one.

Video Tip of the Week – For Teachers of Young Learners

embedded by Embedded Video

Where, When, Why?

Hold up the flashcards and invite students to shout out answers to these three questions.

1. Where would you see it?
2. When would you see it?
3. Why would someone be riding in or driving it?
For example: Stroller
1. At a park.
2. During the day.
3. To help the baby fall asleep.

Then change the questions to the negative form:
1. Where wouldn’t you see it?
2. When wouldn’t you see it?
3. Why would someone not ride in/drive this vehicle? Which vehicle would make more sense for this person.

1. At a nightclub.
2. In the middle of the night.
3. A child that has grown out of it. He or she may walk or ride a tricycle now.

Correct the Flashcards

The ESL-Library system allows you to change the default type that appears under the flashcards. (See a previous video tip.) You can make a set with all of the wrong words. Then have your students cut the words off (or cross the words out) and write the correct word. Or, have students practise making corrections out loud. For example: “This card says it is a blimp, but it is actually a parachute. A blimp is like a plane that looks like a balloon. People ride inside it. ” For higher level learners you can add an incorrect verb beside the word. For example: Type ride on under the “van” flashcard. Students correct the verb by changing “on” to “in” or “drive”. Keep in mind, you can type anything you want under the ESL-Library Flashcards including a gap-fill sentence. You can also leave the text area blank.

Let’s Take a Trip

Ask students to shout out different places on the board. These places can be near and far. Go through the list one at a time. Have one student come up and choose a flashcard. The flashcard will represent the best mode of transportation to get to the destination. The student will also choose a flashcard that could be used to travel around at the destination. Is there another mode of transportation (not in the flashcard set) that is required?
For example
Place from student generated list: Tropical Rainforest
Teacher: Which mode of transportation would you use to get to a tropical rainforest from here?
Student chooses “Airplane” flashcard and says: “I would take an airplane.”
Teacher: Great. What’s the best mode of transportation for traveling around when you reach the rain forest?
Student chooses something like a “canoe”.
Teacher: Why a canoe?
Student: Because there aren’t many roads in the rainforest.

Flashcard Field Trip

Take your class out for a walk. Hand out at least two or three flashcards to each student. Tell students they have to search for their vehicle. How does the true vehicle compare to the flashcard? Which other vehicles did they see? Back at the school, have students report back on what they saw using these questions.

1. Did you find your flashcard?
2. Where did you see your flashcard?
3. How does the real version compare to the flashcard version?
4. Which other vehicles did you see?
5. Did you find a vehicle that was not in the flashcard set? What is it used for? Who travels in this type of vehicle?

Future Vehicles

Invite your students to talk about how cars and vehicles have changed over the years. Help them use comparative adjectives:

  • bigger
  • smaller
  • faster
  • quieter
  • more comfortable

Hold up each flashcard and ask students if they think this vehicle will change in the future. What will be different about it? You could also put your students in groups and assign each group a future vehicle from the flashcard set, such as Future Bus, Future Helicopter, and Future Boat.

About ESL-Library Flashcards

The ESL-Library flashcards can be printed with or without words. You can also print them in different sizes and in colour or black and white. If you have young learners, print them in black and white and have them colour the flashcards. Watch a demo of the ESL-Library’s Flashcard Library. If you haven’t seen our flashcards, be sure to check them out! Our flashcards are drawn by professional artists who have worked with our team for many years. The flashcards are available in English, French, and Spanish. If there is a flashcard set you need that is not in our library, please contact us.

Related Transportation English Lessons and Activities in the ESL-Library
Discussion Starters: Road Rage
Discussion Starters: The New Moon Race
Everyday Dialogues: Taking the Bus
Everyday Dialogues: Hailing a Taxi
Living in English: Travel
Every Day is a Holiday: Walk to Work Day
Warm Up: Pit Stop (FREE on our blog)
Warm Up: Cabin Crew (FREE on our blog)

Please share your own ideas, lessons, and activities related to Transportation English.

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Tara Benwell

Tara Benwell is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in materials and articles for the ELT industry. She is the media director and head writer for ESL-Library. Her debut novel, The Proper Order of Things is available on Amazon and in the iBookstore.   Website: http://www.tarabenwell.com   Twitter: @tarabenwell