Danger! Pyramid schemes

Title separator
  • C1
  • C2
  • Business

Vocabulary: synonyms and phrasal verbs

worksheet for advanced English students


This worksheet for advanced English students deals with pyramid schemes. Throughout the lesson, students will learn a lot of vocabulary and express their opinions on ‘get-rich-quick’ schemes.

C1 / Advanced
C2 / Proficiency
45 minFlipped LessonUnlimited Plan

This is a Flipped Classroom lesson plan. In a nutshell, it means that first part of the lesson needs to be done by students at home. Learn more about flipped classroom and how we implement it in those lesson plans in our post.


The pre‐class worksheet consists of four activities on vocabulary. First, students learn a few synonyms by replacing them in the provided sentences. Next, they work on six phrasal verbs and need to choose correct prepositions that go with them. The task includes the following phrasal verbs: bring in, pay in, buy in, lose out, capitalise on, take on. After acquiring new vocabulary, students move to two exercise and practise all the synonyms and phrasal verbs. Now, they read a few sentences. In each case, they have to say which two sentences use the word correctly and which sentence is incorrect. E.g. in what cases we can use the word solicit and in which approach. The last task in this part is based on the phrasal verbs. Students just complete the gapped sentences with correct phrasal verbs.



The in‐class part starts with a short discussion. Students read a definition of a pyramid scheme and discuss questions concerning the term. Next, they move to two listening comprehension tasks. First, they watch the first minute of a video and say what a few numbers refer to. After that, they watch the rest of the video and do a multiple choice task.


Finally, this lesson plan for advanced English students ends with 12 questions to discuss. You can organise students into small groups and allocate four to six questions to each group. You can also invite students to choose six questions to discuss in groups or pairs. At the end of the discussion, ask one student from each group or pair to share one piece of interesting information from their discussion with the rest of the class. The questions include the phrasal verbs and synonyms that students learnt in the pre‐class worksheet.



Title separator

Leave a Reply

  1. ChocolateCake

    Slide 5 sentence 2 has two twin options


    1. Stan

      Oh, that wasn’t intentional. We’ve just fixed that to avoid confusion.


  2. Tamiris R. Lara

    Thank you for your amazing lessons. I have a question:

    I am not sure about what would be the difference between 1st and second sentence on ex 3C:

    c) hazy
    • I’m still hazy about what is expected of me.
    • The manager is hazy about what was agreed in last month’s meeting, so can you
    send him the minutes?

    Thank you,


    1. Katherine

      Well spotted Tamiris!
      Thank you for commenting. We’ve changed this now so that the example is obviously incorrect.


Browse other materials recommended for you

Title separator
the history of the hoodie
B2 / Upper Intermediate/ C1 / Advanced Standard Lesson 60 min

The humble hoodie

Design & Art General

In this lesson about the history of the hoodie, your students will discover the origins of this iconic garment (and some others) and learn several adjectives for talking about clothes.

lesson plan on LinkedIn
C1 / Advanced Standard Lesson 60 min

Make the most of your LinkedIn profile


In this lesson plan on LinkedIn students discover how to create a successful professional profile, practise their listening skills and write a LinkedIn profile summary.

language for presentations
C1 / Advanced Standard Lesson 75 min

The city of the future is here


With this lesson plan based on a video about Toyota’s city of the future students learn some useful language for presentations and then practise their presentation skills.

Show more lessons


Title separator

Is there a minimum subscription period if I choose a monthly subscription?

No, there’s no minimum required number of subscription months. You can cancel any time you want. Basically, you can sign up and then cancel your subscription the next day, which will mean you have access for 1 month and won’t be charged again.

What currencies can I pay in for my subscription?

Our default currency is USD (American dollar), but you can also pay in EUR (euro), GBP (British pound sterling) or PLN (Polish zloty). You can change the currency you want to pay in at the Pricing page before selecting a subscription plan.

How can I edit an e-lesson plan?

You can get your own editable copy of an e-lesson plan and make changes to it. To do so, either (1) make a copy of it on your Google Drive (preferable method) or (2) download it in a Powerpoint format (but formatting might be a bit off so we can’t guarantee that it will work well).

Read more FAQ
Title separator

ESL Brains

Forgot password?
or continue with