The Last Days of Pompeii ESL Lesson Plan [Free PDF]


The Last Days of Pompeii ESL Lesson Plan introduces students to the fascinating history and tragic events surrounding the ancient city of Pompeii. This lesson plan provides a unique opportunity for ESL learners to explore historical vocabulary, practice reading and comprehension skills, and engage in discussions about historical events. By delving into this captivating topic, students can expand their knowledge of history while improving their English language abilities. The lesson encourages critical thinking, cultural awareness, and language development as students immerse themselves in the engaging story of Pompeii’s final days.

Vocabulary Building


A sudden and violent outburst of a volcano, releasing lava, ash, and gases.
Covered in or resembling ashes; pale or drained of color.
The remains of a building, city, or other structure that has been destroyed or decayed over time.
An event causing great suffering, destruction, and distress.
Maintained in its original state; kept intact from harm or decay.

Contextual Usage

1. The eruption of Mount Vesuvius buried the city of Pompeii under a thick layer of ash.
2. The ashen remains of the ancient city were preserved for centuries before being excavated.
3. Walking through the ruins of Pompeii gives visitors a haunting glimpse into the tragedy that befell its inhabitants.
4. Many artifacts in Pompeii have been remarkably preserved despite the catastrophic events.

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ESL Warm-up Activity

To set the stage for the lesson on the last days of Pompeii, start with a dramatic reading or video re-enactment of eyewitness accounts or historical descriptions of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and its impact on Pompeii and its residents. This will not only captivate students’ attention but also introduce them to key language elements related to the lesson such as “eruption,” “ruins,” “tragedy” among others, effectively immersing them in the topic from the outset.

Main ESL Lesson Activities

Vocabulary Activity

To reinforce the vocabulary related to the ancient city of Pompeii, create a worksheet with word definitions for terms like “eruption,” “ruins,” and “preserved.” In pairs, students can match these words to their appropriate descriptions. Afterward, engage the class in a discussion about how these terms are interconnected with the history of Pompeii.

Reading and Writing Activity

Provide students with excerpts from historical accounts of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and its impact on Pompeii. Ask them to write a short narrative from the perspective of someone living through this event. This exercise not only improves reading comprehension but also encourages creative writing skills.

Roleplay Activity

Divide students into groups and assign them roles such as residents of Pompeii, historians, or archaeologists. Have them engage in role-playing discussions about life before, during, and after the eruption. This interactive activity promotes speaking and listening skills while delving into the historical context.

Listening Activity

Play audio recordings or videos describing archeological discoveries in Pompeii. Afterward, organize a group discussion where students share their thoughts on what they heard. This activity enhances listening skills while encouraging students to express their opinions and interpretations collaboratively.

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ESL Homework Assignment

To reinforce the lesson content on the last days of Pompeii, assign the following homework tasks:

Research Assignment

Task students with researching and writing a short report on the archaeological discoveries in Pompeii. They can include details about preserved artifacts, structures, or any recent findings to gain a deeper understanding of how history is uncovered.

Creative Writing

Encourage students to write a creative story set during the last days of Pompeii. This assignment allows them to apply their knowledge while engaging in imaginative storytelling, fostering both language skills and historical comprehension.



The Last Days of Pompeii ESL Lesson Plan immerses students in the historical events surrounding the city’s tragic fate due to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Through engaging activities, students explore vocabulary related to the topic, delve into historical accounts, and develop language skills while gaining insights into ancient history.

Reflective Learning

As students reflect on this lesson, they can recognize how language learning extends beyond grammar and vocabulary acquisition. Immersing themselves in historical topics like Pompeii allows them to enhance their language development through cultural understanding, critical thinking, and storytelling. This lesson fosters a deeper connection between language acquisition and broader academic disciplines.

Why this topic is great for ESL learning

Cultural Immersion

The Last Days of Pompeii ESL Lesson Plan offers students a unique opportunity to delve into ancient history while expanding their language skills. By exploring the story of Pompeii, students can gain valuable cultural insights and historical knowledge, creating a rich and engaging learning experience that goes beyond language acquisition.

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Interdisciplinary Learning

This topic bridges language learning with other academic disciplines such as history and archaeology, offering a holistic approach to education. Students can develop critical thinking skills through analyzing historical events and enhancing their linguistic abilities simultaneously.

Vocabulary Enrichment

Studying the last days of Pompeii introduces students to a host of relevant vocabulary which they may not typically encounter in everyday English lessons. This widens their lexical range and allows for more diverse and nuanced expression in English.