City life (traffic)

Subject: Language classes
Summary: Students prepare for a city council meeting to discuss the proposal of implementing a congestion tax for cars. Students work in groups to represent different interest groups and analyze different points of views in s city council simulation.
Activity length: Duration is 45 minutes.
  • Students will expand their vocabulary and develop listening and speaking skills. Students practice discussion language.
  • Students must differentiate between different sides of the issue.

Teacher prepares the simulation description on handouts. Teacher divides the class to different interest groups.


Part 1: Teacher announces the topic and objectives of the lesson. Teacher explains the rules of the simulation and the narrative.

You live in the capital city of your country. The city’s population has grown rapidly during the recent years and traffic in the city center is getting worse and worse. The Mayor of the city wants to introduce a congestion fee for cars during the day on weekdays. The city has a good bus service, but busses are often delayed because of traffic. There’s also a train service, but the trains are often crowded, particularly at rush hour. There’s a public meeting today to discuss the Mayor’s proposal.

Part 2: The class is divided into two teams (A and B) to prepare their arguments for and against the proposal. The students of both teams are divided into subgroups according to the social group of people they represent (the Mayor, environmentalists, local business people, local residents, tourists, etc.) Note that both teams may have a representative of the same social group of people but supporting a different point of view (e.g. a local resident)

Students A – affirmative team

Students B – negative team

Students can use any accessible sources (computers, printed materials, smartphones etc.).

Part 3: The students of both teams present their arguments from the point of view of different people. Encourage the students to use discussion language.

Part 4: Students are asked to write affirmative (Students A) and negative (Students B) speeches which are to be presented next lesson. The topic: The congestion charge should be introduced in capital cities


Teacher analyses the debate and gives feedback on the logic of arguments and rebuttals.

Teacher can hold a vote whether there should be a congestion tax on cars or not.