I few months ago, I was sitting with my Director of Studies and some teachers and we were discussing of ways to engage some Colombian young learners with material in relation to cars. One idea that was thought up was the old TV series, “Wacky Races”. I sat down for a half a week and created a lesson around this TV series. If you have never watched “Wacky Races” before, I would definitely recommend watching the following clip below. It is funny to know that the TV series was first shown on TV in 1968. Some of the best TV series never get old.

The introduction to ‘Wacky Races’

Anyhow, I would like to share some of the material and staging for this lesson so you could try it out with your young learners.

Lesson Staging

  1. First introduce the topic of cars with hangman and afterwards tell the students that they will be learning more about different cars in today’s lesson. Ask students to name various parts of a car. You could draw up a car on the whiteboard.
  2. Show students the Matching Worksheet and tell them that they need to match the names of the cars to the pictures. Give them a few minutes in small groups.
  3. Once students have finished, elicit from students the possible answers and then tell them that they will watch the initial intro from ‘Wacky Races’. Show them the intro and they listen to the names of each of the race cars and check their
  4. Check the answers with the whole class after students watch the intro video (above) twice.
  5. Tell students that they will now be learning more about a popular TV series which was all about race cars, called ‘Wacky Races’. Write up some of the key language and tell students that they need to find the definitions in a dictionary in small groups.
  6. Tell the students to guess what the words might be in their own language, but they must not use any translation tools just yet. Once they have guessed the equivalent words in their own language, then they can check on their smartphone or translation dictionary to see if they are correct.
  7. Once students have finished looking at the key vocabulary, tell them that they will be reading a bit more about the cars from ‘Wacky Races’.
  8. Demonstrate the reading relay and get students into pairs. One student is to read a question, run to the reading and then find the answer, run back to their partner and dictate the answer. The students then swap roles and continue until all questions have been answered.
  9. Monitor students and assist where necessary. Once students have finished the reading relay, check answers with the whole class.
  10. After checking answers with students, hand them all a table to complete for races. They must look at the reading again and complete the table with those that racers which finished first, second and third with the number of times in each part. Monitor and assist if required.
  11. Check with the class that they have finished the grid and review answers.
  12. The final task is for students to create the 12th racer for Wacky Racers. Students work together in small groups.

Key Vocabulary

  • Accelerate (v)
  • Axe (n)
  • Boulder (n)
  • Buzzsaw (n)
  • Cannon (n)
  • Contestant (n)
  • Creepy (adj)
  • Gangster (n)
  • Have a crush on someone (phr)
  • Machine gun (n)
  • Snigger (v)
  • Steamroller (n)
  • Steer (v)
  • Trap (n)
  • Thruster (n)
  • Villain (n)
  • Wacky (adj.)
  • Weapon (n)

Lesson Material