Ordering a Baby – An ESL Discussion Activity

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I recently was able to recover one of my old hard drives, and it was filled with a treasure trove of ideas and activities. This was a favorite that really created a lot of buzz in the class and was always a success. You’re going to want to break students into groups of three to four.

With the advent of genetic testing and the ability to splice and manipulate our DNA, this can be dropped into a class that is already learning this vocabulary. Or you can also find supplemental articles that support this exercise as well. The article I linked goes along perfectly with the discussion questions that I have at the end of the following ESL activity.

Ordering a Baby


Designer babies ESL ActivityThe year is 2222. Your family group has decided to have A new child. Since the 20th century, the method of having children has radically changed. Instead of the old way, now each family group decides on the characteristics it wants its child to have and orders the child from the local factory. Fill out the following application forms for your new baby.


1. Racial characteristics (skin color, etc.) are not a primary consideration since they will be determined primarily by the characteristics of the family group.

2. In terms of IQ, 100-120 is considered “normal”; 140 or above is considered “genius”; around 250 is the highest ever calculated for anyone.

3. ____________ : indicates a different choice of your own.


Names of group applying: ______________________________________________

Characteristics (please circle your choice):

1. Sex: male, female

2. Color of eyes: red, yellow (blonde), green, brown, black, turquoise, blue, tan, white, ________________________

3. Color of hair: red, yellow (blonde), green, brown, black, turquoise, blue, tan, white, ________________

4. Type of hair: straight, curly, wavy, ___________

5. Future height (feet/inches): Shortest-________ Tallest -_________

6. Future weight (pounds): Heaviest-_________ Lightest -_________

7. Future IQ (100-200): Lowest-__________ Highest -____________

8. Coordination: right-handed, left-handed, ambidextrous. (means they can use both hands just as well)
9. Personality (unlimited choices):

friendly   shy    quiet   talkative

unemotional      emotional      optimistic      pessimistic

passive     aggressive      idealistic        realistic

10. Areas to excel in (choose three): sports; music; art; dance; science; humanities (language, economics, social sciences); hand work (plumbing, etc.); _________,_________,__________

11. Future profession possibilities (choose five): poet, musician, artist, writer, plumber, electrician, carpenter, research scientist, professor, doctor, lawyer, real estate agent, police officer, firefighter, salesperson, forest ranger, sportsman, pilot, military person, secretary, computer programmer, technician, religious person, chef (cook), ________, __________,__________

12. Please explain in 50 words or fewer why we should process your order (why you want a baby).





Discussion Questions

  1. What do you feel about people screening the embryo for possible defects?
  2. Should couples be allowed to know the sex ahead of time? Pick the sex ahead of time?
  3. If you had a baby and you could determine its I.Q. or other traits, would you?
  4. Would you rather have a boy or a girl? How do you think your choices in the above exercise should have changed based on the sex of your child?
  5. Would you ever like to design your baby to be genetically superior? Should other people be allowed to do this?


This Can Actually Be a Two-Day Class

The article from slate that I linked at the beginning of this page was originally meant to go along with the discussion questions I added at the end. I normally give students the time to create the perfect baby and then present it to class. With allowing time for questions and correction that will probably fill up a whole 45 or 50 minute class period.

Feel free to try out what works best for you and your class level. I hope you have an awesome and as always fun class!

This post was proofread by Grammarly

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