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Planes, Trains, and Automobiles: Say It in Spanish!

written by: Audrey Alleyne • edited by: Tricia Goss • updated: 2/10/2015

Using vocabulary and grammar in dialogs is an ideal way to aid in memorizing vocabulary. Build interesting themes around transportation activities and practice Spanish in a conversational way. The earlier students get involved in exercises like these, the better their fluency.

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    Vocabulary Ideas

    The first thing the teacher should do is present the vocabulary for each transportation activity. In order for students to memorize Student and Car vocabulary easily, prepare quizzes, word searches and multiple choice games around the different means of transportation, like traveling by air, car, boat or train, walking and roller-skating.

    Here are some basic vocabulary words that can be used for these activities:

    • Airplane – avión
    • Train – tren
    • Car – coche/carro
    • Bus – autobús
    • Taxi – taxi
    • On foot – a pie
    • Bicycle – la bicicleta
    • Boat – boat
    • Ship – barco
    • Roller skate – patín de ruedas
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    Create a Theme

    You can also create a theme around each word and have students interact in a role play. Here is an example of a theme created around vocabulary for air transportation: Create an airport-like environment where students arrive at the airport in Spain. Indicate that a section of the classroom is the airport by putting up a sign "El Aeropuerto de Barcelona," for example. Prepare the blackboard to represent an airport board, from which students will read flight departures and arrivals. They can also rent a car from a car rental company at the airport. You can prepare your board like this:



    OA – 204 – ATENAS – 1510 – 1600

    IB – 185 – LISBOA – 1520 – 2

    IB – 248 – LONDRES – 1600 – 1

    SR – 547 – ZURICH – 1640 – 1705

    OA – 103 – DUBLIN – 1705 – 3

    Students will study the board and learn how to read flights in Spanish. To reinforce this, they can work in pairs to do a little role playing where two young passengers converse while waiting at the car rental company office at the airport:

    A. Hola.

    B. Hola. Adónde vas?

    A. Voy a Toledo. Acaba de llegar de Lisboa. Y tú?

    B. Acaba de llegar de Londres. Voy a Madrid.

    A. No prefiere va en tren?

    B. No. Quiero conducir y parar cuando quiero.

    A. Yo también. Me gusta conducir cuando estoy visitando un páis.

    B. Buen viaje.

    A. Igualmente.

    Now two other students can practice renting a car:

    A. En qué puedo servirle?

    B. He reservado un coche/carro aquí.

    A. Muy bien, señor. Qué nombre, por favor?

    B. El nombre de Parker.

    A. Un momento, por favor. Ah sí, aquí esta. El señor Parker de Londres.

    B. Eso es.

    A. Tiene el recibo ?

    B. Si, lo tengo. Aquí está, señor.

    A. Gracias señor. Le puedo ofrecer un Renault. Le vale?

    B. Claro que sí.

    A. Dónde está el coche?

    B. Aquí tiene las llaves y los documentos de coche. El coche está en el aparcamiento por la puerta de la derecha.

    A. Muchas gracias señor.

    B. A usted señor, y buen viaje. Adios.

    A. Adiós.

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    Real Life Flavor

    These exercises will put a real-life flavor into your Spanish transportation lesson and often, real-life exercises help students learn faster.