Sunday 12 February 2012

Accidental Inventions and Hidden Heroes

You are going to
  • practise past simple and past continuous
  • watch a video about inventions and do a matching exercise 
  • watch a video about a science exhibition and do a quiz
  • listen to a radio interview about what motivates inventors and do a gap-fill
  • read an interview with inventor Mark Champkins
  • discuss and describe inventions
  • write about an invention

1) Video 1 - Discuss
  • What are the most useful inventions that we use today?
  • What couldn't you live without?
  • Is it a simple everyday object like a pen or a paper clip or something more complex?

You are going to watch a video called "10 Accidental Inventions"
  • What inventions do you think they are?
  • Why do you think they are called "accidental"?

Watch and find out

2) Matching exercise
Match the beginnings of the sentences with the ends. Watch the video again if you need to.

3) Grammar
Look at the sentences again. How many tenses are there?
Which phrases are Past Simple?
Which are Past Continuous?
What's the difference between the Past Simple and Continuous?
Not sure? Look here

4) Video 2 - Discuss
You are going to watch a clip about an exhibition called the "Hidden Heroes Exhibition."
  • Who do you think are the "Hidden Heroes?
  • Why do you think they have called them "hidden"?
  • What kind of objects do you think are in the exhibition?
Watch the clip

Now answer these questions. Watch the video again if you need to.

5) Discuss - Listen
Rawlplugs and screws
  • Do you agree that the objects in the Hidden Heroes exhibition are very important?
  • Why do inventors invent things?
  • What do you think is the main motivation for inventing? 
Listen to an interview with inventor Mark Champkins on BBC World Tonight and find out.

Who invented the paper clip & the rubber band? (mp3)

Fill in the gaps in the summary with the verbs from the list. Choose them from the drop-down menu.

Printable version available here

6) Reading
Interview with Mark Champkins. Look at the questions.
  • What inspired you to become an inventor?
  • What is your favourite invention ever?
  • What invention could you not live without?
  • Which object in the museum is the most inspirational or influenced your time here so far?
Go here to read Mark's answers

7) Discuss
  • What would you invent if you could?
  • What inventions does the world need now? Why?

8) Writing / Discussion
What invention couldn't you live without?

Describe it.
  • Is it a simple everyday object or something more complex?
  • What's it for?
  • What kind of design has it got?
  • Has the design changed much since it was invented?

Look on the internet. Find out some history
  • Who invented it?
  • Where was it invented?
  • Was it invented by accident?
  • Why and how was it invented?
  • What were they trying to do when they invented it (what else were they working on)?

What do you think about it?
  • Why is it important?
  • What did it change or make better for people?
  • What couldn't we do without it?
  • Why couldn't you live without it?

Write about your invention
Write it using 3 - 4 paragraphs (see above)
Don't forget to have an introduction (say what it is and why you are choosing it)
and a conclusion (your opinion of it / why couldn't you live without it and why you think it's important)

More practice
More reading

More past continuous and past simple

More inventions

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