Passive Income (Upper-Intermediate Lesson)

ESL/EFL Level: Upper-Intermediate (B2/C1)
Lesson Topics: passive income, financial gurus, finance
Skill Focus: Speaking, Reading, Listening, Vocabulary
Approximate Class Time: 1.75 hours
Lesson Plan Download: passive-income-upper-intermediate-lesson-102023.docx
Lesson Overview:

  • After warm-up questions, students read a 338-word passage about passive income. The passage presents four passive income streams and a summary of The Plain Bagel's view that many passive income strategies promoted online are not as easy as they seem. After a read-and-recall activity, students answer comprehension questions, do a vocabulary-matching activity, and then create questions using the new vocabulary.
  • For speaking activities, first there are two roleplays. The first pertains to an owner convincing the Home Owners' Association of her building to allow short-term rentals (Airbnb). The second roleplay has one student try to sell an online course to another. The final speaking activity is somewhat of a shark-tank scenario where teams try to pitch the best passive income plan to a client.
  • As a bonus, the lesson has a short 90-second YouTube clip of Charlie Munger giving his views of (some) modern-day financial gurus.
  • Next, students discuss a funny social media post by the "Side Hustle King" and some famous quotes.
  • After a final vocabulary review, the lesson closes with final discussion questions and a review of collocations.

A man with a video camera in front of a laptop

UPPER-INTERMEDIATE (B2/C1) Lesson Plan on Passive Income

Warm-up Questions

  1. How do you get money to live? If you needed an extra $100 a week, how would you get it?
  2. What is passive income? How does it differ from income earned by working at a company?
  3. How many ways to make passive income can you think of? Make a list with your partner.

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-- Lesson plan on passive income written by Matthew Barton of (copyright). ChatGPT was used to check passages for errors and generate answer keys. Site members may photocopy and edit the file for their classes. Permission is not given to rebrand the lesson, redistribute it on another platform, or sell it as part of commercial course curriculum. For questions, contact the author.

Possible answers to follow-up questions:

  1. The means buying shares in companies that give part of their profits, called dividends, to shareholders. An investor gets paid the dividend for each share he owns of the company.
  2. Online Businesses
  3. True
  4. He thinks it’s unrealistic for many people because it requires starting off with a large sum of money.
  5. There can be hidden costs like the costs of maintenance. Also, interest rates could change, making mortgage payments more difficult.
  6. Markets become oversupplied with many people selling similar items.
  7. It is humorous, or ironic, because, if the most popular type of passive income is indeed selling passive income course, then it suggests that the market is mostly about hype and has little substance.
  8. The passage discusses various passive income strategies and critiques them, emphasizing that some may not be as profitable as they seem.

Charlie Munger video

  • Trading stocks can be addictive and very destructive to one’s (financial) health. It is essentially gambling. This is why it is akin to doing heroin. It is dangerous.
  • He finds it funny because these people have no other product other than selling hype around their image. The Plain Bagel would laugh as well, as this was the same idea mentioned in the reading passage’s last line.

 Vocabulary Answers: 1-b, 2-a, 3-f, 4-e, 5-k, 6-j, 7-c, 8-i, 9-g, 10-d, 11-h

Vocabulary Review Answers: See original passage

Collocation Answers: 1-b, 2-f, 3-a, 4-d, 5-e, 6-c


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