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TV dinner served up as key invention

Lesson plan to accompany the August 2002 Newsletter

For a RTF version of  both the plan & the texts


To see the materials used in the plan

Preliminary information

Time: 60-75 minutes??

Level: Upper Intermediate/Advanced

To give extensive & intensive reading
To give freer speaking practice
See each stage for possibilities of language practice aims.

That the stds will be interested in the theme of 'inventions
That the language in the text will not be too difficult.

Anticipated Problems and Solutions:
Some of the vocabulary may be challenging >> pre-teach essential items when setting up the prediction task in stage 2.
Some of the 'inventions' may be unknown >> check them out & be prepared to give a very general explanation of them.

TV dinner served up as key invention by Tania Branigan Wednesday July 17, 2002 The Guardian
Brainwaves that rocked the world Wednesday July 17, 2002 The Guardian


Stage 1 - Intro/Sinking in to theme of inventions

10 mins tch<>stds, std<>std, tch<>stds

1. Elicit the word family of inventions - inventor, inventive, to invent - you could extend this & brainstorm all words connected etc..
1. In pairs ask stds to think of five important inventions
3. Task
4. Ask stds to put them in order of importance & think of when they happened
5. Feedback - elicit inventions for the past 50 years & most important in the last 50 years - class discussion.
6. Give out list of 10 inventions & ask them to match up with their dates.

1952   Barcodes on supermarket products
1954   Compact discs on sale
1955   Home kidney dialysis
1961   The Pill goes on the market in the UK
1964   Pocket calculator
1969   Moon landing
1972   First fare paying passengers in a jet airliner
1973   TV dinner
1974   Non-stick saucepan
1981   Cars with airbags

7. Stds in pairs match.
8. Feedback - give answers - see full list for answers - & discuss whether consider them all 'inventions' & whether they think they are important or not.

Stage 2 - Intro to the reading task & extensive read

10-15 mins tch<>stds, std<>std, tch<>stds

1. Put the title of the article on the board: 'TV dinner served up as key invention'
2. Elicit possible content of the article - collate the ideas on the board.
Instructions for quick overview reading - read quickly to see which of their ideas approximates the article.
3. Handout & stds read - give time limit - 1 minute - encourage general gist reading & not to worry about unknown words - stds read.
4. Stds compare ideas in pairs.
5. Feedback - elicit which idea the article is nearest to, if any & anything else they gleaned about the article.

Stage 3 - More intensive reading

10 mins tch<>stds, std<>std, tch<>stds

1. Stds answer following comprehension questions - handout questions, instructions:

Comprehension check

1. How many different inventions are mentioned in the article?

2. Where & when is the exhibition taking place?

3. Why are the inventions of the last 50 years considered to be so important?

4. Which inventions are a surprise to be included in the list?

5. Which inventions mentioned never made a commercial success?

2. Stds answer questions individually.
3. Stds check answers in pairs.
4. General feedback
5. Response to the text - would they like to go to the exhibition? Was there anything surprising in the article?

Have a look at the text & see if there is any language area you could focus on here.

Stage 4 - Discussion - 'Brainwaves that rocked the world' text

20 mins tch<>stds, stds<>stds, tch<>stds

1. Instructions - stds look at list - discuss any inventions they are not clear about with their partners - handout texts.
2. Read & discuss - get around helping out & explaining. Could relate this activity to the language of supposition or that language of explanation.
3. When all OK on the inventions - ask them to choose the top 5 inventions & the bottom 5 inventions - ones they think shouldn't be in the list. Also ask them to think & discuss any other inventions they think should be included.
4. Stds discuss - get around helping out. This could be done in groups of four.
5. If in groups - ask a member from each group to visit each of the other groups & then report back to the original group the findings of the others - & then reassess their top & bottom 5.
5. General feedback - discuss lists & see if any inventions in common - ask for justification of choices.

Follow up activities :

stds are given on of the fifty inventions & they have to justify why they should be in the list. Maybe use the bottom 5 inventions they have decided on above.

• stds 'invent' a labour-saving device aka Inspector Gadget/Wallace & Grumit (if you have it, you could show the scene when Wallace wakes up in 'The Wrong Trousers')

• future inventions - stds discuss what might happen in the next 50 years - poss. practice for future supposition, future perfect/continuous.


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