Would you like to take your class on a field trip to London? What about a virtual trip to 19th century London? Our virtual trip was inspired by the 2014 Sherlock Holmes 'The Man Who Never Lived and Will Never Die' Exhibition in the Museum of London. The idea of trip to London with Sherlock Holmes will appeal to your students and you can easily inspire them to do some research projects and read some stories outside the classroom. Follow the steps below and use our resources for a whole series of adventurous lessons, and develop your students language and detective skills at the same time.
Age and language level
- Age: 14+
- Elementary - Pre-intermediate, CEF A1, A2, B1
1 How well do you know Sherlock Holmes?
- What do you know about Sherlock Holmes? What do you think of when you hear the name 'Sherlock Holmes'?
- Write down five words to describe him.
2 Now look at this image of Sherlock Holmes.
- Describe his clothes and his physical appearance.
3 The Sherlock Holmes Museum: 221B Baker Street
- How well do you know London? Go on Google Maps or any map you like, and look for all the museums in London. How many can you find?
- Now look for the The Sherlock Holmes Museum, the imaginary home and office of Sherlock Holmes on the map. Where is it located?
- Go on to the Transport for London (TFL) website and imagine that you are travelling to the Museum of London from a well-known location, let's say Trafalgar Square or Charing Cross.
- How can you get there?
- How long does it take?
- How long does it take to walk there?
- What is the address of the museum?
- Go on Google Street View and see what the museum looks like.
4 The Sherlock Holmes Exhibition
In 2014, a fascinating exhibition took place in The Museum of London. Although this exhibition is closed now, you can watch a 40-second trailer about it to learn more about Sherlock Holmes. This fast-paced video contains a lot of exciting information to start a dialogue about the famous detective.
- As you are watching the video, memorize the names of as many things as possible even if you do not know the words in English.
- You can form groups in class and see which one remembers the most words.
- Which things would a modern detective or police officer own?
- Which things belong to Sherlock Holmes?
- What does a 'forensic scientist' do?
5 Forensic Science?
- Do you know any TV series about modern detectives? How are they similar to or different from Sherlock Holmes?
- Do some research to find out more about forensic science and modern detective strategies.
Reading tip for teachers: 'Sherlock Holmes's CSI influence on modern forensics' on The Conversation website
6 Sherlock Holmes and the Art of Victorian London
- If you are more interested in art and architecture, you can visit the Museum of London's YouTube channel, and watch the video 'Sherlock Holmes and the Art of Victorian London'
- Watch the 3-minute video. What kind of paintings and photographs can you see?
- Describe the city through the images.
- Listen carefully to the video presenters, and note down any words or phrases you understand. For example 'thick fog' is a phrase they use to describe the city.
- Is there a painting you really like?
- Find images of Victorian London on the internet.
7 Take a walk with Sherlock Holmes through London
This detailed map created by Bruce Wheeler on Google Maps lets you follow the steps of Sherlock Holmes.
When you have read a story, click on a route and then explore the city via Google Maps. You can also try Google Street View to see what these places look like today.
8 Read and talk
There are four adapted Sherlock Holmes stories in the Helbling Readers Red series, actually five as Sherlock Holmes and the Stolen Jewels contains two stories. Click on the links to read the blurbs of the books, and then ask your students to decide which one they would like to read.
- The Red-headed League
- The Boscombe Valley Mystery
- The Hound of the Baskervilles
- Sherlock Holmes and the Stolen Jewels
9 When you have read the stories, do our quiz about the characters.
- Download the quiz: Are you Sherlock Holmes or Dr Watson?
10 Detective Thinking Skills
- Improve your problem solving and critical thinking skills by doing puzzles.
- Here are some lateral thinking puzzles that will help you improve your detective skills!
Sample pages from Thinking in the EFL Class by Tessa Woodward
More for teachers
Would you like to find out more about detective stories? Read this article on our Blog with resources and links to interesting articles plus an interview with Richard MacAndrew, an author of original detective stories.
Would you like to read more detective stories? Browse our collection of classic and original titles for elementary and pre-intermediate level students.