Flashcards for Sicknesses and Injuries

Welcome to our second Flashcard Friday post where we’ll give you ideas and invite suggestions for using flashcards in the classroom. As all teachers know, there is more to using flashcards than flashing pictures before your students’ eyes.

Flashcards related to Sicknesses and Injuries

chillsIt’s officially flu season again! Are your low level students having trouble describing their aches and pains? Are they visiting the doctor or missing class due to runny noses and congestion? Why not give them the language they need to express themselves at the doctor’s office when they aren’t well? This will also help them when they visit a pharmacy in an English speaking country. Images in our Sickness and Injuries collection include words like crampsnauseous, fever, and chills.  Here are some activities you can do with our collection. You may want to print the cards out with and without the words on the bottom so that you can try some of the different suggestions.

(Watch the Flashcard Library demo for printing and organization options.)

Health History

If you’re introducing new words, have students make these words memorable by sharing stories about their own (or a friend/family member’s) health history. (Make sure students know they can invent information. It doesn’t have to be true or personal. Give them a fake persona if you think they’ll be uncomfortable.) Give each student a card and set them loose around the classroom. If the word does not apply to the student she can say something like, “I’ve never had a nosebleed, have you?” The student she meets can say, “Yes I have had a nosebleed. I had one when I was in grade four. I had to go home from school.” OR “My sister once got a stomachache because she ate a whole bag of chips.” They can then trade cards. After a few minutes, ask the class to share some of the stories that were heard.

Group the flashcards

Place all of the flashcards on a large surface, such as a table or floor. Have students group them into related words. Which words go together and why? As students sort the images, try to come up with categories for the groupings, such as Sports Injuries / Cold and Flu / Accidents. If you have a large group you may want to use more than one set of flashcards for this activity.

Correct the Flashcards

The ESL-Library system allows you to change the default type that appears under the flashcards. (see demo) You can make a set with all of the wrong words. Then have your students cut the words off (or cross the words out) and write the correct word. Or, have students practise making corrections out loud. They can say, “This card says it is a sprain, but it is actually a cavity. A sprain would show a picture of a sore ankle or wrist.”


Pass out the cards so that each student has one. Students take turns acting out their symptoms and injuries.


Invite a pair of students to come to the front of the classroom. One student is the hypochondriac (teach your students this word) and the other is the doctor. The front of the class is a walk-in-clinic. On the board write a sign that says “One health problem per visit, please!”. Tell the doctor to say to the patient something like, “What seems to be the problem today?”. Then pass the patient one of the cards. The patient will describe the problem. Then pass the patient another card. The patient will describe the second problem. Continue to pass out a few cards (5 or so). The doctor will get annoyed and remind the patient that he/she can only bring one problem per visit. The doctor can try to solve one of the problems by suggesting a remedy or offering a health tip. The class can help the doctor if necessary. Focus on getting the students to describe the symptoms with the correct verbs, such as “have + stomachache” and “feel + nauseous” .

Missing Symptoms and Injuries

The ESL-Library collection needs more flashcards! Make a large list on the board of words that should be added to this collection. Make sure each student contributes at least one word. If you teach young learners, you could also have them draw an additional flashcard for the collection. The others guess will guess what it is.

What’s my Illness?

Give each student a card and have them think of a related illness. For example, if they get the word “congested” their illness is a “cold”. If they get the word “swollen” their injury could be a “swollen ankle”. They should write down the illness or injury they are thinking of. Students then have to describe how they feel. The rest of the class has to guess their injury or sickness. The first person to guess correctly gets a point.

Hot Seat

Set up two seats facing away from the board. Divide the class into two teams. Put one person from each team in the hot seat. Write one of the symptoms or illnesses on the board. Students from both teams have to get the person in the hot seat to say the word. They cannot use the word or any other form of it or they lose a point. The person who guesses first gets to stand up and another person from his team goes in the hot seat for the next word. The person who didn’t guess has to stay in the hot seat until he wins a round.

Related Body Parts

You’ll need to print out the related flashcard set “The Body” to do this activity. Spread out the two flashcard sets in different parts of the room. Have students race to try to find a body part that goes with an injury or illness. For example, if they pick up “congested” they have to try to find “nose”. If someone else has already grabbed the “nose” students can form groups. When the movement has stopped around the room have students explain why they matched up the body parts with the illnesses and symptoms. For example: “I matched swollen with ankle because when you hurt yourself playing soccer you sometimes get a swollen ankle.”

Medical Treatment and Medical Workers

Print out the related flashcards sets from the Body, Health, and Medical section called Medical Treatment and Medicine. Place the three sets in different places. Have students grab a symptom or illness from the first set. Then they must find a medical worker and/or treatment to make themselves better. They can check with the teacher to see if their cards match. Then they can sit down. The students who don’t get treatment in a set amount of time (such as two minutes) have to go to the emergency (front of the room). Students then discuss which medical worker or treatment is needed to cure each student.

Roll the Die

This game is useful for small groups. You’ll need a die and a set of flashcards for each grouping if you have a large class. Place the flashcards face down. Students take turns picking a card and rolling the die. They get a point if they can provide the correct spelling, wordform etc. If they roll a 6 they get a point without doing anything.
diceRoll a 1: Spell the word.
Roll a 2: Pronounce the word properly (word stress and intonation)
Roll a 3: Use the word in a sentence.
Roll a 4: Name the part of speech.
Roll a 5: Tell a related story.
Roll a 6: Pass the word to someone else.

About ESL-Library Flashcards

The ESL-Library flashcards can be printed with or without words. You can also print them in different sizes and in colour or black and white. If you have young learners, print them in black and white and have them colour the flashcards. Watch a demo of the ESL-Library’s Flashcard Library. If you haven’t seen our flashcards, be sure to check them out! Our flashcards are drawn by professional artists who have worked with our team for many years. The flashcards are available in English, French, and Spanish. If there is a flashcard set you need that is not in our library, please contact us.

Related in the ESL-Library
The Body (Flashcards)
Medicine (Flashcards)
Medical Treatment (Flashcards)
At the Doctor’s
Making a Doctor’s Appointment
Flu Shots
Health Matters Lesson section

Please share your own ideas, lessons, and activities for teaching about sicknesses, injuries, and symptoms.

1 comment

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  1. info@gotravelenglish.com'

    Skype English Lessons says:

    Oct 11, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Very useful…Thanks!


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