Practice the Present Progressive with the “Mannequin Challenge”

The Mannequin Challenge is the latest social media trend to go viral this season. To do the challenge, a number of people remain frozen in a scene while someone takes a video. With so many interesting videos going around the Internet, this is the perfect opportunity to practice the present progressive tense with your students.

Step 1

Explain the concept of the Mannequin Challenge.

Step 2

Select a Mannequin Challenge video from the Internet.

TIME has a list of the Top 23 Mannequin Challenges, but you might want to find your own. Here is a fun Mannequin Challenge from Election Day.

Step 3

Show the video and ask questions about the scene.

  • What is the girl with the glasses doing?
    She is looking in a pizza box. / She is holding a bunch of pizza boxes.
  • What are the men in suits doing?
    They are giving each other high fives.
  • What is the lady in the maroon jacket doing?
    She is checking the time. / She is looking at her watch.
  • What is Hillary Clinton doing?
    She is listening to Jon Bon Jovi.

Step 4

Create your own tableaux.

Now put students in small groups and have them do their own Mannequin Challenge. You can assign the scenes or settings or have them come up with their own. Then have students take turns performing their tableaux. While the performers remain frozen, ask the other students questions that will require them to answer in the present progressive tense. Which group can freeze for the longest?

Step 5

Help the Mannequin Challenge go viral.

Record a video of your class doing a Mannequin Challenge. (You may want to play some background music.) Then send the video to another class or school. Challenge the other students to describe the scene using the present progressive tense. They can then make their own scene and challenge another class or school!

Here is an example of English learners doing a Mannequin Challenge.

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