Construisez la pyramide du développement durable! - An Online Game on Sustainable Development

This page authored by Laura Franklin, Northern Virginia Community College, based on an original activity by Agir 21, a website of an environmental organization in Geneva, Switzerland.

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This material was originally developed through Merlot
as part of its collaboration with the SERC Pedagogic Service.

Initial Publication Date: August 27, 2010


In this lab experience, students work in teams of two or more to test their knowledge of sustainable development. They take an online quiz written in French and each time they answer a question correctly, they gain a point and one brick for their pyramid. If they miss two consecutive questions, they lose the game. If they get through the test, they get to see the percentage of questions they needed to complete their pyramid. The pair that constructs their pyramid with the fewest number of questions wins the game. By taking the test, students enlarge their French vocabulary on the topic of sustainable development.

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Learning Goals

Students will improve reading comprehension and vocabulary acquisition in French while learning the content on sustainable development.

In the process of answering the quiz questions, students will learn facts that could be useful in subsequent class discussions, allowing the students to reuse thematic vocabulary.

Context for Use

This activity is appropriate as a supplemental activity in an intermediate-level French language class, in a unit that treats sustainable development and the environment. The purpose of the quiz would be to support the students' ability to discuss the environment in French. It would also impart the cultural lesson that the environment is a global concern. Students could do the online Agir 21 quiz within thirty minutes in or outside class. A follow-up discussion could take place during class time or in a discussion board in a learning management system.

Description and Teaching Materials

The pyramid of sustainable development game is available at the Agir 21 website, an environmental organization based in Geneva Switzerland (no longer available).

At the same website, students can find a variety of external links and .pdf files that provide an excellent source for French terminology on environmental topics. This vocabulary would serve the student well in subsequent class discussions.

Teaching Notes and Tips

The quiz comes in two levels, easy and difficult. The instructor should try both quizzes to gauge which might be most appropriate for his/her class.

Taking notes on the types of questions on the test will help the instructor pinpoint the vocabulary to pre-teach.

The instructor might begin by teaching a basic list of vocabulary pertaining to the environment. Most current intermediate-level French language textbooks contain a chapter on the environment. The vocabulary should be placed in a context, but should not include the actual quiz questions.

The post-quiz discussion might include questions about what surprised the students most about the questions that they missed and what were the topics that they would like to know more about. These reflective questions could be reserved for a homework assignment in a learning management system discussion board.


  • The instructor could develop a speaking or writing rubric that would measure the number of new environmental terms the students could use effectively in an appropriate context.
  • A writing question on sustainable development on a mid-term or a final exam could measure the student's ability to truly integrate the newly acquired vocabulary.

References and Resources

Agir 21- the website that contains the online game: (no longer available).

The website of the World Wildlife Association of France (related pedagogical resources).