Chomsky's Language Acquisition Device Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has an Masters of Science in Mathematics and a Masters in Education

This lesson plan can be used to teach students how children acquire language. Students will watch a lesson video, debate Chomsky's theory of language development, take a quiz and do a project focusing on language acquisition.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define 'language acquisition'
  • describe Noam Chomsky's idea of language acquisition device and debate its validity
  • observe children in varying stages of language development and draw conclusions in relation to Chomsky's LAD


1 - 1.5 hours for core lesson, plus time for additional research and presentations

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.11-12.7

Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., quantitative data, video, multimedia) in order to address a question or solve a problem.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.6

Evaluate authors' differing points of view on the same historical event or issue by assessing the authors' claims, reasoning, and evidence.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1

Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11-12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.


Key Vocabulary

  • Noam Chomsky
  • Language acquisition device, or LAD
  • Language acquisition
  • Universal grammar
  • Poverty stimulus

Warm-Up and Preparation

  • Start the video lesson Chomsky's Language Acquisition Device: Definition & Explanation and pause at 1:36.
  • Define 'language acquisition,' then break students into small groups of three or four and have them discuss:
    • What do you understand about Chomsky's LAD?
    • What are your experiences with young children and their rapid language acquisition?
    • What are your initial thoughts on Chomsky's LAD?
  • After groups finish with these questions, have them share what their group discussed as a whole class.

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