Author: Zamalotshwa Florence Thembisile Thusi (South Africa) | Published on 1 October 2022


Read what a teacher says about this activity:

This lesson will help students identify the use of gender-specific pronouns, ‘he’ and ‘she’ by using a robot (traffic light). For correct responses, students will say ‘GREEN — ‘good to go’ and for incorrect responses they will say ‘RED — ‘for danger’. This activity is a good way to make the pronouns stick in their minds.

Stage 1: Prepare 

  • Get your class to think about the colours of the robot and what each colour means.
  • Allow your learners to get into a discussion about ‘green’ meaning ‘good to go’ and ‘red’ meaning ‘do not go’ or ‘danger’. 

Stage 2: Reading 

  • Have your students read a passage. 
  • Have them stop and identify any references made to either male or female. 
  • Ask them to replace the male/ female subject or name with ‘he’ or ‘she’. 
  • If they are right, have the group shout ‘green — good to go’ and for incorrect responses have them shout ‘red for danger’.  

Stage 3: Consolidation Activity / Practice

  • Have your students cut out the letters of ‘she’ and ‘he’ and have 4 students of different genders go to the front and paste the correct letters onto the correct gender. 
  • For correct pasting have the group shout ‘green — good to go’ or ‘red for danger’ for incorrect pasting. 

This activity can be used for both young learners and adults. The discussion about the robot is meant to teach them about the robot as some may still not know what it means. The same format can be used to introduce ‘him’ and ‘her’ / ’his’ and ‘hers’. Learners will always connect the correct gender to the colours of the robot. 

Not only will the adults grasp this difficult concept but will have fun doing it. 

Stage 4: Extend 

  • Have learners create red and green cards
  • Have learners hold these up to tell you how they experienced any lesson
  • Green for easy and red for difficult.


Robot: a traffic light commonly known as the robot in South Africa

Pronoun: a word that can be used to replace a noun

Circulate: move around the classroom

Monitor: keep an eye on individuals or groups to see how well they are dealing with a task.

Consolidation: an activity that brings together earlier learning