With a grammar focus on using "have to" or "don't have to", this activity compares things we have to do in different countries. It challenges students' listening skills and then gives them a chance to compose some English.

Basic Info

Time: 20 mins
Level: Junior high grade 2
Works with: have to / don't have to
Class size: Medium to large

You will need:

  • nothing


  1. Students move their desks into groups.
  2. Tell the students about some things that have to be done in your country.
    e.g. "We have to arrive at school before 8.15am."
  3. Next, ask the students about Japan.
    "How about Japan?"
  4. Students spend some time discussing then write their answers (in the notebook).
  5. Finally, ask students to share their answers.


  • When explaining the activity, tell the students what they will have to do.
    1. Listen
    2. Talk
    3. Write
    As you explain each step, write the key action the students will take. "First, I'll tell you about my country, so please..." (...take a moment time to write the first point) "listen". Next, explain they should think about Japan and discuss it in their groups (a.k.a. Talk). Finally, they should write their answers down (third point).
  • When talking about the differences, it helps if it's something that students have knowledge about and that they can relate to. It might seem boring but school life is a good one.
  • Some examples of things to compare:
    Note: You can go outside the grammar focus point and add extra info to make it interesting and build students listening skills.
    • You have to arrive at school before 8.15am. (Optional: You can walk, ride a bike, or catch a bus.)
    • You don't have to change shoes when you go inside.
    • You have to bring your own lunch to school.
    • You have to eat in the lunch room (with the whole school).
    • School finishes at 3.10pm. You don't have to stay at school. Most people go home.
  • For about 20 minutes of activity, select two things you want to talk about.


This activity worked really well after having warmed up with the janken losers (have to...) game as part of Sunshine 2 Program 3 Section 2.

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