Autonomous flying taxis

How would you feel about travelling in an autonomous flying taxi by yourself?

Rodin Lyasoff talks about this idea on TED Talks. Listen to the talk and take notes as you listen.


Listen for a second time and use your notes to help you create comprehension questions based on this talk. Write the questions including the answer. Check through the transcript if you need extra help with this task. Try to make at least 6 comprehension questions.


Find images related to the topic of autonomous vehicles – cars and flying taxis. Look for a variety of images including graphs, photo’s or infographics. Try to gather at least 4 images to share with other students.

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Autonomous cars

Autonomous cars are being developed and trialed at a rapid pace. It will soon be quite normal to see cars driving on the road without a human driver.

  • What do you think of this idea?
  • Would you like to travel in an autonomous car?
  • What do you think the advantages would be of an autonomous car?
  • What do you think the disadvantages would be of an autonomous car?

Read this article from The Conversation titled We asked people if they would trust driverless cars.


While you read through the article highlight any words that you don’t understand or that show an interesting use of language. Make a list of this vocabulary and use your English-English dictionary to find the definitions to add into your list.


After you have read the article do some more research on the topic of autonomous cars. Take notes on your findings.

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Reflection on second language learning

Over this month you have read about learning a second language, listened to students express their opinions on the topic and discussed your own opinions as well. Now it’s time to write a reflection.


Look back at the texts, the Exploration, Vocabulary, Comprehension, Images and Opinion tasks and use the information to write a reflection on the topic of learning a second language. Think about what you have learned, what was interesting, and what your overall response is.

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Discussion on learning a second language

For this discussion use the reading from this month Younger is not always better when it comes to learning a second language and the listening from this month Why should you learn a second language?


According to the article:

  1. What is the ideal way for young children to learn a language?
  2. What skills do adolescents need to learn a new language?
  3. Someone who chooses to study a second language by themselves is usually in what age group?


Click on the links to look at these images relating to the topic of learning a second language.

The most spoken languages worldwide

These languages have the most speakers

Linguistic diversity around the world


  1. Discuss the 3 images in detail.
  2. When did you first start learning a second language?
  3. What age do you think is best to start learning another language?
  4. Why did you start learning a second language?
  5. Do you think everyone should learn a second language?
  6. What do you think the advantages and disadvantages are of learning in a classroom compared to learning online?
Answers to the Comprehension Questions:
1. Living, learning and playing in a second language environment
2. Meta-cognitive skills
3. Adult

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Learning a Second Language

When is the right time to learn a second language? As a young child learning two languages at the same time, or as a teenager where it is a compulsory subject at school, or when you are an adult when you have the time and dedication to spend on learning a new language. What do you think?

Warren Midgley has written an article in The Conversation titled Younger is not always better when it comes to learning a second language.


To understand more about an article research is required to explore some of the ideas raised and who the author is. Read through these 3 explorations to give more insight into the article.

  1. Theory of universal grammar – this theory suggests that humans learn to speak their native language by imitating what they hear and repeating it. In other words, we are all genetically programmed to learn and understand our first language naturally.
  2. Critical period hypothesis – this hypothesis suggests that there is a particular period in the first few years of a human’s life where language is learned if there is sufficient exposure to the language. If this does not happen for someone within this critical period of time then learning that language is so much more difficult, particularly grammar.
  3. Warren Midgley is the author of this article. He works as an Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics at the University of Southern Queensland. His fields of research are Education and Linguistics and his work has been published in many academic books and journals.


Now match these words from the article to the definitions.

WORD                                                              DEFINITION

1. second language

a) a language that is learned, not someone’s native language

2. first language b) wanting very much to have something that someone else has
3. fluency c) challenge an action or theory as not being correct
4. envy d) to have a strong effect on something
5. phenomenon e) the skills of understanding thought processes in learning
6. instinctive knowledge f) someone’s native language or mother tongue
7. exposure g) the age between being a child and an adult, usually the teenage years
8. posits h) being in the same place as someone else and interacting in person
9. contested i) a situation that exists
10. influential j) able to listen, read, speak and write coherently in a language
11. immersion k) learning online with people from all around the world
12. meta-cognitive skills l) following one after another in an order
13. adolescence m) having regular contact with something
14. consecutive n) a suggestion of something being true
15. face-to-face o) the level of ability someone has in a language
16. virtual conversation classes p) to be entirely involved in something
17. language proficiency q) a natural response or behavior
Answers: 1a, 2f, 3j, 4b, 5i, 6q, 7m, 8n, 9c, 10d, 11p, 12e, 13g, 14l, 15h, 16k, 17o.

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Spoken Presentation on Plastic Pollution

From this month’s activities you have listened to a lecture and read an article about the problem of ocean plastic pollution. You have then done further research and written a report on plastic pollution. Now it’s time to use all this information to prepare a spoken presentation on plastic pollution.

Explain in your presentation:

  • What is plastic pollution?
  • What are the problems?
  • What are possible solutions?

Include visual aids and use palm cards with keywords to help you remember your speech. Practise your talk before your final presentation to improve your confidence!

Remember this is a spoken presentation….DON’T read from a script…….DON’T memorise a script……..DO speak naturally and…….DO video yourself to assess your own presentation techniques.

For more activities on spoken presentations go to Unit 8 Biography.

Writing a Report on Plastic Pollution

After listening to the TED Talk on The Surprising Solution to Ocean Pollution and the ABC News article on Plastic and how it affects our ocean it’s your turn to do some more research on the topic of plastic pollution to prepare a report on.

Choose a country to focus your research on to find out more about the problem of plastic pollution in that country and any things they have done to solve the problem.

  1. Find at least three different resources about plastic pollution in your chosen country.
  2. What are the problems?
  3. What are the solutions?
  4. Prepare your report with:
    • a cover page that includes the title of the report, the date and your name
    • a contents page that lists what is included in the report in order of page numbers
    • an introduction to outline the topic and purpose of the report
    • a body that is divided into headings and sub-headings
    • maps, charts or diagrams where appropriate
    • a conclusion that sums up the main ideas of the report and offers your own conclusions or opinion on the topic
    • the reference list

For more information on how to write a report go to Unit 13 Report Writing.

Plastic Waste

This month is highlighting the awareness of living Plastic Free, trying to reduce our use of plastic and to recycle as much as possible.

Read this article from ABC news titled Plastic and how it affects our oceans.

Write a short summary for each of these questions.

  1. How much plastic goes into the ocean?
  2. How long does plastic last in the ocean?
  3. What is plastic made from?
  4. Where does the plastic go?
  5. What impact does plastic have on marine animals?
  6. So what can we do about it?

For a class divide the class into 6 groups and have each group read and summarise one section to then share with students from other groups.

For more activities on summarizing go to Unit 12 Summarising.

Ocean Plastic

What do you know about plastic waste and the impact on the ocean?

Listen to this TED Talks by David Katz titled The Surprising Solution to Ocean Plastic and take notes the first time you listen.

Listen for a second time and answer these comprehension questions:

  1. According to David Katz, what is the last thing we need to do?
  2. How much plastic is produced each year?
  3. Where is 80% of ocean plastic coming from?
  4. Plastic Bank encourages recycling by offering trade with plastic bags for what type of things?
  5. What do Plastic Bank do with the plastic they get?
  6. What does plastic neutrality invest in?
  7. What are the advantages of social plastic?
  8. Complete this phrase: We ……. all be a ……. of the ……..  and ……. the ………


Answers: 1. clean the ocean 2. over 300 million ton 3.  countries with extreme poverty 4. school tuition, medical insurance, Wi-Fi, cell phone minutes, power, sustainable cooking fuel, high efficiency stoves 5.  the plastic is sold to suppliers for manufacturing 6. recycling infrastructure 7. social plastic is a tradable currency that alleviates poverty and cleans the environment 8. We can all be a part of the solution and not the pollution

For more note-taking activities go to Unit 6 Scanning, Skimming and Note-taking.