“P” Is for Peril ESL Lesson Plan [Free PDF]


The “P” Is for Peril ESL Lesson Plan is designed to engage students in a dynamic and interactive learning experience. This topic not only provides an opportunity for language practice but also allows students to explore themes such as mystery and detective work, making the lesson both fun and relevant. This lesson plan aims to improve students’ English language skills through vocabulary building, critical thinking, and engaging activities related to the theme of mystery and investigation in Sue Grafton’s novel “P” Is for Peril.

Vocabulary Building


Serious and immediate danger
The action of examining something in order to reveal the truth or solve a mystery
A person, especially a police officer, whose occupation is to investigate and solve crimes.
(in a detective story) a piece of evidence or information used in the detection of a crime or solving of a mystery.
A person thought to be guilty of committing a crime or offense.

Contextual Usage

1. The hikers found themselves in great peril when they got lost in the deep forest.
2. The investigation uncovered new evidence that led to the arrest of the suspect.
3. The detective carefully examined the clues left at the crime scene.
4. The suspect denied any involvement in the theft, despite strong evidence against them.
5. The mysterious letter provided an important clue for solving the case.

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ESL Warm-up Activity

To set the tone for the “P” Is for Peril lesson, begin with an engaging warm-up activity. Create a series of detective riddles related to vocabulary and themes from the novel. For example, present riddles such as “I have keys but no locks. I have space but no room. You can enter, but can’t go outside. What am I?” This encourages students to think critically while introducing them to key terms and concepts from the lesson in an entertaining manner. Students can work individually or in groups to solve these riddles, promoting collaboration and a sense of mystery right from the start.

Main ESL Lesson Activities

Vocabulary Activity: Mystery Word Wall

Create a word wall with mystery-related vocabulary from the novel. Divide the class into small groups and provide each group with different words related to investigation, crime, or mystery. Instruct the students to create visual representations of their assigned words and present them to the class, explaining their chosen imagery.

Listening Activity: Detective Podcast

Play an investigative podcast episode related to crime or mystery for the class. Provide a listening guide with questions about key details from the podcast. After listening, encourage group discussions where students share their interpretations of the story and answer questions based on what they heard.

Roleplay Activity: Suspect Interrogations

Assign roles such as detective, suspect, witness, and lawyer to different students. Provide a scenario based on an excerpt from “P” Is for Peril and have students conduct roleplay interrogations using language relevant to each character’s role. This activity promotes language practice in a real-world context.

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Reading and Writing Activity: Case File Creation

Divide the class into pairs and provide each pair with an excerpt from the novel featuring a case or investigation. Instruct them to create a case file including evidence summaries, suspect profiles, and their own analysis of the situation. This hands-on exercise encourages comprehension through critical thinking and writing practice while reinforcing vocabulary from the lesson.

ESL Homework Assignment

Ask students to write a short crime or mystery story using at least five of the vocabulary words learned in class. Encourage them to incorporate elements of investigation and suspense into their narratives. This task reinforces the lesson content while allowing students to exercise their creativity and language skills at home.



Throughout the “P” Is for Peril ESL Lesson Plan, students have engaged with mystery and detective-themed vocabulary, activities, and discussions. They have explored essential language skills in the context of investigation and crime-solving.


Reflect on how learning about mysteries and investigations has expanded your English language abilities. Consider how the vocabulary and activities can be applied to real-life situations or other English learning contexts to further develop your language skills.

Why this topic is great for ESL learning

The “P” Is for Peril ESL Lesson Plan is an excellent topic for ESL learning due to its engaging and relevant nature. This lesson plan allows students to explore vocabulary and concepts related to mystery, investigation, and crime-solving. By incorporating elements of suspense and critical thinking, students are motivated to actively participate in activities that enhance their language skills. The theme of mystery captures students’ attention, making the learning experience enjoyable while reinforcing their understanding of English vocabulary and grammar in a practical context. Additionally, this lesson plan encourages collaboration through group discussions and role-playing activities, fostering effective communication among students. Overall, the “P” Is for Peril ESL Lesson Plan provides a dynamic approach to language learning that keeps students engaged while expanding their linguistic abilities.

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