Crime, Law and Punishment Worksheets, ESL Activities and Games 

Judgement Day

ESL Crime, Law and Punishment Activity - Writing, Listening and Speaking - Intermediate (B1) - 45 minutes

In this creative crime, law and punishment role-play activity, students invent a theft, and present the evidence and suspects to a jury, who try to identify the perpetrator of the crime. Divide the class into an even number of groups of three or four and give each group a copy of the two-page worksheet. On the first page of the worksheet, each group invents a theft and writes down the facts about the crime. First, the groups write what was stolen and where it was stolen from. Next, they create three suspects, one is guilty of the crime and the other two are innocent. For each character, the students explain the suspect's means, motive, and opportunity for committing the crime. For the innocent characters, the students also explain why they are innocent, even though it might appear that they committed the crime. On the second page, the groups provide evidence, which they present to another group acting as a jury, including what was stolen from where, information about the characters, and additional clues. In order to make it an interesting challenge for the jury, the groups make the innocent characters seem guilty, except for two small facts. Next, each group pairs up with another group. The groups then take it in turns to explain their crime to the other group, who acts as a jury. The jury listens and decides who is most likely to be guilty. They should ask questions and discuss with each other before making a final decision. Once the jury has guessed, students reveal the correct answer and show the true story to the other group.
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The Prison Cell

ESL Crime Vocabulary Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Intermediate (A2-B1) - 35 minutes

This crime vocabulary role-play and worksheet activity helps students learn and practice the names of crimes. Divide the students into groups of 12. Give each student in the group a character card and a copy of the two-page worksheet. The students take on the role of the criminal on their card. Their task is to find out why the other people in their group are in prison by asking questions and completing a chart with the information. Draw the students' attention to the chart on the first page of the worksheet and elicit the questions the students need to ask to find out the information. Next, the students go around their group, asking and answering the questions and noting down the information in their charts. When the students have finished, they move on to the second page of the worksheet and match each crime from a box with its definition. Finally, students write the name of the crime each person committed.
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Crime and Punishment Vocabulary

ESL Crime and Punishment Worksheet - Reading, Matching and Writing Activity - Upper-intermediate (B2) - 25 minutes

This crime and punishment vocabulary worksheet helps students to learn and practice words related to crime and criminal trials. This worksheet can be used in conjunction with the mock criminal trial role-play. Give each student a copy of the two-page worksheet. Students begin by reading a passage about a crime and underlining all the crime and punishment vocabulary. The students then use the context clues from the text to match words to their definitions. Next, students use a dictionary to write definitions of the noun forms 'convict' and 'suspect'. Students also write an example sentence for each one. After that, students read sentences and complete gaps with the crime and punishment vocabulary. As an extension, students may do the mock criminal trial role-play.
Crime and Punishment Vocabulary Worksheet Preview

Interactive Version - Here is a crime and punishment vocabulary interactive worksheet to help teach students words related to criminal trials and crimes.


Mock Criminal Trial Role-Play

ESL Criminal Trial Role-Play - Writing, Listening and Speaking Activity - Upper-intermediate (B2) - 40 minutes

In this free criminal trial role-play activity, students take part in a mock criminal trial in order to practice vocabulary related to crime, law and punishment. Give each student a copy of the role-play worksheet. Explain that the students are going to plan and conduct a mock criminal trial to determine if a suspect is innocent or guilty of stealing vegetables from a neighbour's garden. Have the students choose which role they would like to play in the trial. Once the roles have been assigned, go through the guidelines with the class, so everyone understands the reason for the trial, the roles they will play, and the basic facts. Next, read through the procedure as a class and have the students prepare for the role-play. When everyone is ready, start the trial.
Mock Criminal Trial Role-Play Preview

60 Second Jail Talk

ESL Crime Vocabulary Game - Speaking Activity - Upper-intermediate (B2) - 30 minutes

In this crime vocabulary activity, students play a game where they talk about crime-related words for one minute. The activity covers types of crime, criminals and punishments. Divide the students into pairs (A and B) and give each student a corresponding worksheet. The students begin by adding five crime-related words of their own to their grid on the worksheet. Students then take turns calling out coordinates for their partner's grid at the bottom of the worksheet, e.g. A5. The opposing student tells them the corresponding crime-related word for that square and starts timing one minute. The other student then talks about the word for one minute, without stopping. If the student successfully talks about the word for one minute, they write the word in their partner's grid on the worksheet, and the other student crosses the word off their grid. If the student is unsuccessful, they can choose the same word again or choose another grid reference on their next turn. The students then swap roles and continue the game. The first student to get five words in a row horizontally, vertically or diagonally wins the game.
60 Second Jail Talk Preview

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