Sunday 17 March 2013

What is the most important innovation of the last 100 years?

You are going to
  • discuss innovation and invention
  • listen to descriptions of 3 inventions
  • do some comprehension exercises based on the clips
  • do a presentation on your choice for the most important innovation of the last 100 years / take part in a balloon debate

1) Discuss
What do you think are the most important innovations or inventions of the last 100 years?
Make a list and choose 3.
  • Why are they important?
  • Who invented them?
  • What would life be like without them?

2) Listen
You are going to listen to three people talk about the innovation they think is the the most important of the last 100 years.
The choices are taken from

Tim Berners-Lee
1) Brian Eno talks about the World Wide Web

Brian Eno is a musician.
Why does he think the world wide web is important?

Click play below to listen

Now do the gap-fill exercise

Read more

Alexander Flemming
2) Sir Paul Nurse talks about Penicillin

Sir Paul Nurse is President of the Royal Society (the UK’s national academy of science) and also a Nobel Laureate.

Why does he think penicillin is important?

Click play below to listen

Now do the sentence matching exercises below.

Read more



3) Georgina Ferry talks about LEO 
(the first business computer)

Georgina Ferry is a science writer.
Why does she think LEO is important?

Click play below to listen

Now answer the questions below.

Read more

Printable worksheets here

3) Read
Read and vote for the top British Innovation here
Top British Innovations A - Z


4) Speak
Activity - Balloon debate. The most important innovation of the last 100 years.
Choose an invention that you think is the most important and present your argument to the class.
The class votes for the best one.
  • Introduce yourself
  • Introduce the innovation / invention
  • Give some background detail - Why was the invention needed?
  • Who invented it? How? When? Where?
  • What  effect has it had on modern life?
  • What would life be today without it?
  • Why should your classmates vote for it? 
You can find some help on presentations here Presentations: How to Present Yourself

Now try these posts
Accidental Inventions and Hidden Heroes  FCE, Intermediate, Inventions, Inventors, Listening, Past Continuous, Past Simple, Science, Tenses Review, Upper Intermediate 

Looking to the Future - Activities and Achievements, Discussion Activities, Future, Future Continuous, Future Perfect, Intermediate, Predictions, Targets, Technology, Upper Intermediate


  1. I love the topic. Thanks! Will definitely vote :)

    1. Thanks for posting Mary. Glad you like it!