“Please Prove You’re Not a Robot”

“When science fiction writers first imagined robot invasions, the idea was that bots would become smart and powerful enough to take over the world by force, whether on their own or as directed by some evildoer. In reality, something only slightly less scary is happening. Robots are getting better, every day, at impersonating humans.”  T. WU, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Living a Dream – blogger

 

Excerpt:  Please Prove You’re Not a Robot By  Tim Wu

“Robots posing as people have become a menace. For popular Broadway shows (need we say “Hamilton”?), it is actually bots, not humans, who do much and maybe most of the ticket buying. Shows sell out immediately, and the middlemen (quite literally, evil robot masters) reap millions in ill-gotten gains.

Philip Howard, who runs the Computational Propaganda Research Project at Oxford, studied the deployment of propaganda bots during voting on Brexit, and the recent American and French presidential elections. Twitter is particularly distorted by its millions of robot accounts; during the French election, it was principally Twitter robots who were trying to make #MacronLeaks into a scandal.

Image-me.me

Facebook has admitted it was essentially hacked during the American election in November. In Michigan, Mr. Howard notes, ‘junk news was shared just as widely as professional news in the days leading up to the election.’

Impossible CAPTCHA – It Doesn’t Really matter if you’re human or not. image. SEO Smarty

To be sure, today’s impersonation-bots are different from the robots imagined in science fiction: They aren’t sentient, don’t carry weapons and don’t have physical bodies. Instead, fake humans just have whatever is necessary to make them seem human enough to ‘pass’: a name, perhaps a virtual appearance, a credit-card number and, if necessary, a profession, birthday and home address.

They are brought to life by programs or scripts that give one person the power to imitate thousands.

In film Wearable ‘Anti AI AI’ detects fake voices. Daily Mail

The problem is almost certain to get worse, spreading to even more areas of life as bots are trained to become better at mimicking humans.

mage- The Daily Star

In coming years, campaign finance limits will be (and maybe already are) evaded by robot armies posing as ‘small’ donors. And actual voting is another obvious target — perhaps the ultimate target.

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

Stimulating background knowledge: Brainstorming

Directions: Place students in groups, ask students to think about what they already know about  the topic.  Next, have students look at the picture(s) in the text and generate ideas or words that may be connected to the article. Debrief as a class and list these ideas on the board. Students can use a brainstorming chart for assistance.

G. Cluster Brainstorming-workshopexercises

G. Cluster Brainstorming-workshopexercises

 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. Many opportunists use robots.
  2. Robots posing as people have become a menace.
  3. Oxford students  studied the deployment of propaganda bots.
  4. Facebook has admitted it was hacked.
  5. Today’s impersonation-bots are different.
  6. One person the power to imitate thousands.
  7. It is actually bots, not humans, who do much and maybe most of the ticket buying.
  8. Defenses such as  Captchas are built.
  9. Improved robot detection might help us find the robot masters.
  10. Automated processes should be required to state, ‘I am a robot.

Reading Comprehension

Fill-ins

Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentences  taken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.

Robots are also being used to___the ___features of the ___state. This spring, the Federal Communications Commission put its proposed ___of net___up for public comment. In___years such proceedings___ millions of (human) commentators. This time, someone with an ___but no actual public support unleashed___who ___ (via stolen identities) hundreds of thousands of people, flooding the system with___ comments against federal net neutrality rules.

 

WORD LIST: agenda, fake, democratic, attack, previous, impersonated,  neutrality, administrative,  revocation, robots,   attracted,

Grammar Focus Word -Recognition

Directions: Students choose the correct word to complete the sentences taken from the article. They are to choose from the options presented.

When directed/dictated by opportunists, mathematicians/malefactors and sometimes even nation-states, they pose/prose a particular threat/thread to democratic societies, which are promised/premised on being open to the people.

Robots posing as people have become a menace/mention. For popular Broadway shows (need we say “Hamilton”?), it is actually bots, not humanoids/humans, who do much and maybe most of the ticket buying.

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups Have each group list 3  questions they would like to ask any person mentioned in the article. Groups share questions as a class.

1-Minute Free Writing Exercise

Directions: Allow students 1 minute to write down one new idea they’ve learned from the reading. Ask them to write down one thing they did not understand in the reading.  Review the responses as a class. Note: For the lower levels allow more time for this writing activity.

 

ANSWER KEY

Category: Technology

Dear Roswell Aliens: Please, Please Abduct Me!

“William Brazel strolled through the grassy pasture toward his flock of sheep. A July thunderstorm had swept across the desert the evening before not an uncommon occurrence in that part of New Mexico, near Roswell…an unfamiliar sight caught his eye: Debris lay strewn about the land in front of him. The year was 1947. A few days later, on July 8, a surreal headline appeared on the front page of The Roswell Daily newspaper. It said the military had captured a ‘flying saucer’ on a ranch outside of town. The next day the Army corrected its news release. A weather balloon had crashed, not a flying disc. No longer would the sleepy little town of Roswell be known simply as the dairy capital of the Southwest.” L. Sharrett, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

close encounters of the third kind

 

Excerpt: Roswell’s Mysteries Are Life’s Mysteries By Luke Sharrett, The New York Times

 

“Since the early ’90s a steady stream of tourists have passed through Roswell in search of the truth and souvenirs. Most locals would agree that government cover-ups are very good for business. Downtown Roswell is now home to half a dozen alien-themed souvenir shops located a stone’s throw from the International U.F.O. Museum and Research Center.

The longer one is in Roswell, the harder it becomes to avoid trying to answer the question, Did an alien spacecraft really crash to earth 70 years ago? Are we all alone in the universe? Does any of this even matter?

Perhaps the more meaningful question is deeper and more pressing. In Roswell, some of humanity’s foundational yearnings hide in plain sight. Look no farther than the tourist-trap T-shirt rack: ‘The truth is out there.’  ‘I want to believe.’ ‘Aliens please abduct me.’

Roswell T-shirt

 

Absolute truth exists. Our souls long for something to believe in. Things here on earth are not as they should be. The T-shirts know. We are desperate to find meaning in our lives. We search for answers to the tough questions. Who are we? Why are we here? Who will heal our messed-up world?

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions:  Have students  examine the titles of the post and of the actual article. After they examine the photos, ask students to create a list of  words and  ideas  that they think might be related to this article. 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. Debris lay strewn everywhere.
  2. Many people have claimed to have seen  flying saucers.
  3. Others claim they are just weather balloons.
  4. A stream of tourists have passed through Roswell.
  5. Some claim that an alien spacecraft crash to earth.
  6. The government cover-ups are very good.
  7. Many people try to avoid the subject of Aliens.
  8. Are we all alone in the universe?
  9. Our souls long for something to believe in.
  10. We need to find meaning in our lives.

 

Reading Comprehension

Fill-ins

Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentences  taken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.

The longer one is in___, the ___it becomes to___ trying to answer the question, Did an___ spacecraft really___to earth 70 years ago? Are we all ___in the universe? Does any of this ___matter?

WORD LIST:   even alone, alien,    crash, harder, avoid, Roswell,

 

Grammar Focus

Word -Recognition

Directions: Students choose the correct word to complete the sentences taken from the article. They are to choose from the options presented.

Absolute truth/trust exists. Our songs/souls long for something to belief/believe in. Things here/hare on earth are not as their/they should be. The T-shirts know. We are desperate to find meaning/mourning in our lives. We search for answers to the though/tough questions. Who are we? Why are we here? Who will heal/heel our messed-up world?

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Group Debates

Directions: Place students in two groups and assign each group one side of the following argument.  Allow groups to develop their arguments and conclude with a class debate. Both teams can use the article  as their source of information or sources from the Web.

Team A will list five reasons for the existence of Aliens.

Team B will list  five reasons against the existence of Aliens.

Each team will have time to state their points of view,  and the teacher decides which team made their points.  

For organization, have students use this great Pros and Cons Scale organizer  from Freeology

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down three new ideas they’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things they did not understand in the reading, and one thing they would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.

ANSWER KEY

Category: Technology

“Amelia Earhart’s Disappearance Still Captivates, 80 Years Later”

“They are at it again. And this time they have a photo. Since Amelia Earhart, the famous American aviator, and Fred Noonan, her navigator, disappeared somewhere over the Pacific Ocean during a 1937 attempt to circumnavigate the globe, groups of researchers and historians have argued over their fate. Did they land, or did they crash?…Did their twin-engine Lockheed Electra plunge into the ocean, never to be seen again? Or was it found — and even photographed — on Japanese territory in the years leading up to the United States’ 1941 declaration of war on Japan?” J. Fortin, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

A newly discovered photo shows a woman who resembles Amelia Earhart and a man who appears to be her navigator, Fred Noonan. NBC News

Excerpt: Did Amelia Earhart Survive? A Found Photo Offers a Theory, but No Proof By Jacey Fortin The New York Times

“Sunday was the 80th anniversary of the disappearance of Ms. Earhart and Mr. Noonan. So it is perhaps no surprise that National Geographic recently announced that a team of forensic dogs was being dispatched to a remote atoll to search for the duo’s remains. And now History — formerly ‘The History Channel… is debuting a documentary on Sunday about how Ms. Earhart may have ended up in Japanese custody and imprisoned on the island of Saipan. Various forms of this theory have been tossed around for decades, but a newly discovered photograph is breathing new life into the idea.

Pilot Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, with a map of the Pacific that shows the planned route of their last flight.

The photo, which History said was found in the National Archives by a retired federal agent named Les Kinney, appears to show a tall, trousers-wearing, short-haired woman seated on a dock in Jaluit, an atoll in the Marshall Islands, with her back to the camera. It also appears to show Mr. Noonan and maybe even the Electra itself, on a barge off in the distance.

Shawn Henry, a former F.B.I. executive assistant director who has been working with History to investigate the photo for about a year, said facial identification experts called it likely that the photos showed Ms. Earhart and Mr. Noonan.

He said the Marshall Islands theory is supported by other evidence, too: pieces of metal that were found in the area and could have come from the Electra; an interview Mr. Henry conducted with an islander who claims to have seen Ms. Earhart around the time of her disappearance; and government records citing reports about Ms. Earhart being imprisoned by the Japanese, though the reports mentioned have not been found. He sounded confident — just as confident, in fact, as Ric Gillespie, who may be the best-known proponent of another, entirely different theory.

Francisco Chronicle July 3, 1937,

Mr. Gillespie is the executive director of The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, a nonprofit that has spent decades searching for Ms. Earhart. He thinks the aviator landed her plane on an atoll (then called Gardner Island, now Nikumaroro) that is more than a thousand miles away from the Marshall Islands. This week, researchers from that organization are on their 12th mission to Nikumaroro in search of the aviator’s remains.

This headline, from the July 1, 1960 San Mateo Times, was ignored.

‘There is such a public desire for an answer to this mystery,’ Mr. Gillespie said. ‘Because it is such a complex and multidisciplinary effort to investigate it, I see it as a wonderful opportunity to explore and demonstrate and teach how we go about figuring out what is true.’

Mr. Henry said that while the crash-and-sink theory holds weight in the popular imagination, ‘there’s not one shred of evidence that she crashed into the ocean.’ Millions of dollars have been spent to explore ocean floor around Howland Island, and no airplane has turned up yet.”

 

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

KWL Chart

Directions: Have students use the KWL chart to list the information they already know about  Amelia Earhart.  Later in the Post- Reading segment of the lesson, students can fill in what they’ve learned about the topic.

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. Amelia Earhart attempted to circumnavigate the globe.
  2. Scientists used a team of forensic dogs to search for any remains.
  3. Ric Gillespie is a  proponent of another, entirely different theory.
  4. Researchers hunt for the aviator’s remains.
  5. Some think there is a photo of  the plane on a barge off in the distance.
  6. Researchers claim there is other evidence.
  7. Some claim that Ms. Earhart was imprisoned by the Japanese.
  8. Many nonprofit organizations have searched for the aviator.
  9. Many enthusiasts refuse to believe that  Earhart could have disappeared without a trace.
  10. Mr. Henry said that not one shred of evidence can be found.

ELLteaching 2.0 vocabualry chart

 

Reading Comprehension

Fill-ins

Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentences  taken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.

Mr. Gillespie is the executive ___of The International Group for Historic ___Recovery, a ___that has spent___searching for Ms. Earhart. He thinks the___landed her plane on an ___(then called Gardner Island, now Nikumaroro) that is more than a___miles away from the Marshall Islands.

WORD LIST: thousand, nonprofit, Aircraft, director, decades, aviator, atoll,

Grammar Focus:  Word -Recognition

Directions: Students choose the correct word to complete the sentences taken from the article. They are to choose from the options presented.

The voyage/voter  is the one being supplied/supported, in part, by National Geographic and four dogsThe organization’s/organizer’s  previous missions/misses have found promises/promising artifacts/artificial, like pieces/pies of what could be airplane metal/meals and parts of jars/jugs manufactured by American companies during the 1930s — including one used for a fickle/freckle ointment for women, which wouldn’t have been out of place among the possessions of the freckled female aviator.

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

KWL Chart

Directions:  Have students  fill in the last column of the KWL chart if they used one in the pre-reading segment of this lesson.

Discussion for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups Have each group list 3  questions they would like to ask any person mentioned in the article. Groups share questions as a class.

Extra: Web Search

Directions: In groups/partners have students search the web for additional information about Amelia Earhart.  Students can either have further discussions or write an essay about the  material they have found.

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down three new ideas they’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things they did not understand in the reading, and one thing they would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.

ANSWER KEY

Category: Culture, History | Tags:

The Philippines: Living With The Dead To Survive

“Manila North Cemetery, opened in 1904, is one of the oldest and largest in the Philippines. Its elaborate mausoleums and endless rows of humble, stacked tombs are home to an estimated one million of the dead —  the cemetery is also inhabited by some of Manila’s poorest people. Many live in the crypts and mausoleums of wealthy families, who pay them a stipend to clean and watch over them.” A. Dean, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Noemi Canilang, 41, resting in a family mausoleum with her 8-month-old grandchild. She has cared for the mausoleum for 25 years. Credit Adam Dean, NYT

 

Excerpt: Hard Life Among the Dead in the Philippines, By Adam Dean, The New York Times

“Others find different ways to engage the economy of death and burial. ‘There is really no work here inside the cemetery, so I taught myself how to do this in 2007,’ Ferdinand Zapata, 39, said as he chiseled the name of a dead man into an ornate marble headstone. As many as a quarter of Manila’s 12 million people are informal settlers. Those in the cemetery prefer its relative quiet and safety to the city’s dangerous shantytowns. The resourcefulness needed to live a life of such insecurity is on full display here.

Sitting on a tomb, Lorgen Lozano, 14, watches a soap opera in the mausoleum where her family lives. She sleeps on the tomb at night. Credit Adam Dean, NYT

In mausoleums, and in makeshift structures built over tombs, families go about their days. They chat, play cards and watch soap operas on TVs mounted near headstones or ornamental crosses. At night, people sleep on the tombs. The thought of that may be jarring, but for the residents it is a practical choice. And many in this devoutly religious country see the boundary between the living and the dead as porous. Electricity in these converted homes is jury-rigged, and most residents don’t have running water. At the few public wells, people line up with carts loaded with empty water bottles, waiting to fill them up.

A family eating lunch in Manila North Cemetery, where they live among the tombs. Credit Adam Dean NYT

Children played in a pool on a tomb. Credit Adam Dean NYT

Amid all of this, the normal business of a cemetery goes on. On a busy day there can be as many as 80 funerals.

[Funeral] Family and friends paid their respects to Glen Baleña, 26. Credit Adam Dean NYT

Residents say drug use and crime have been on the rise in recent years; Mr. Zapata, the headstone carver, dated it to roughly 2000, when slum clearance nearby led to a wave of new residents. President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody crackdown on drug dealers and addicts has also been felt at Manila North. In September, three men were killed here in what the police called an antidrug sting operation; they were said to have been trying to sell $10 worth of shabu [methamphetamine]…As the heat of the day dies away, boys and young men play basketball on improvised courts, or a version of billiards that’s popular in the slums of the Philippines.

Residents playing a version of billiards.Credit Adam Dean NYT

Night often finds Mr. Gonzalez, the 74-year-old who was working on a crossword in his family crypt, sleeping there. But he is not a resident — he owns a condominium in Manila. His neighborhood, though, is more dangerous than the cemetery. As he put it, ‘The dead can’t harm you.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.

Objective: Students will read and discuss the article with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions:  Have students  examine the titles of the post and of the actual article. After they examine the photos, ask students to create a list of  words and  ideas  that they think might be related to this article. 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. The cemetery has many elaborate mausoleums.
  2. The residents watch soap operas on TVs mounted near headstones.
  3. The thought of sleeping on a tomb that may be jarring.
  4. This is a devoutly religious country.
  5. Electricity in these converted homes is jury-rigged.
  6. The cemetery is dense with tombs and crypts.
  7. President Duterte led a  bloody crackdown on drug dealers and addicts.
  8. During the day, new homes are built from modest tombs.
  9. Workers add makeshift roofs of corrugated iron, often scavenged from somewhere else.
  10. The cemetery’s many children play among the tombs, and are unconcerned about ghosts.

Reading Comprehension

True /False/NA-Statements

Directions: Review the following statements from the reading.  If  a statement is true they mark it T. If the statement is  not applicable, they mark it NA. If the statement is false they  mark  it F and provide the correct answer. 

  1. Manila North Cemetery opened in 2004.
  2. As many as a quarter of Manila’s 12 million people are informal settlers in the cemetery.
  3. In mausoleums, and in makeshift structures built over tombs, families remain quiet out of respect for the dead.
  4. They have electricity and running water.
  5. At night, people sleep on the tombs.
  6. Electricity in these converted homes is jury-rigged.
  7. Amid all of this, the normal business of a cemetery goes on.
  8. Tombs are generally  bought for five years.
  9. People leave offerings of snacks, drinks and sometimes cigarettes at their relatives’ gravesides.
  10. Residents say drug use and crime have gone down in recent years.

Grammar 

Using Adjectives  to describe pictures    

Directions: Have students choose a picture from the article  and write a descriptive paragraph using adjectives.

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion for Comprehension /Writing

Directions:  Place students in groups and have each group list 3  questions they would like to pursue in relation to  the article. Have groups exchange questions. Each group tries to answer the questions listed. All responses are shared as a class.

1-Minute Free Writing Exercise

Directions: Allow students 1 minute to write down one new idea they’ve learned from the reading. Ask them to write down one thing they did not understand in the reading.  Review the responses as a class. 

ANSWER KEY

Category: Culture | Tags:

Kids Learn How to Code Using Sony’s Building Blocks

“Forget everything you think you know about programming: the long hours behind a screen, the lines of code stacking up, all that time spent debugging someone else’s mess. Koov makes learning to code—the basics, at least—as easy as playing with building blocks.” L. Stinson, Wired

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key!

Sony’s KOOV building blocks get your kids coding and building robots in no time

Excerpt: Get Your Kids Coding With Sony’s Clever Building Blocks, by Liz Stinson, WIRED

“The candy-colored blocks snap together like Legos to create interactive robot penguins, trucks, and other cool things. Blueprints guide kids through the process, but as with all the best toys, the real learning comes when the imagination runs wild. ‘These robot recipes are something we see as more of an inspiration,’ says Tim McGregor, a senior marketing manager at Sony Global Education. ‘[We] want to give them skills to build their own unique robots.’ Sony introduced the blocks in Japan last year.

Sony’s programing kit allows children to build what they want.

A companion app teaches programming concepts like looping and  “if-then” logic. (Sony developed the app’s curriculum using MIT’s drag-and-drop Scratch programing language.)

The Koov app includes an educational track explaining how to use the seven different blocks to create all sorts of objects.

‘We teach them techniques to make shapes out of their imagination,’ McGregor says. ‘You have to have a creative mind to be able to do some of these things.” 

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions:  Have students  examine the titles of the post and of the actual article. After they examine the photos, ask students to create a list of  words and  ideas  that they think might be related to this article. 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. Koov blurs the line between learning and playing.
  2. There is an  educational app for the Koov block set.
  3. Koov is a highly marketable toy.
  4. Companies are placing  computing in an environment for kids.
  5. Kids can create interactive robot penguins, and other toys.
  6. Blueprints guide kids through the process.
  7. A companion app teaches concepts like looping and  f-then logic.
  8. Kids can build their own unique robots.
  9. These robot recipes are an inspiration.
  10. The real learning comes when the imagination runs wild.

Reading Comprehension

Fill-ins

Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentences  taken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.

The candy-colored___ snap together like___ to___interactive robot penguins, trucks, and other cool things. Blueprints ___kids ___the process, but as with all the best toys, the real ___comes when the runs wild. These___recipes are something we ___as more of an inspiration.

WORD LIST:  see, create,  robot, blocks, Legos, guide, through, learning, imagination,

 Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical  error. Students are to identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.

I

  1. A companion app teach programming.
  2. Blueprints guide kids through the process.
  3. Sony introduced the blocks in Japan last year.

II

 

  1. Kids want to build his own unique robots.
  2. Creating is as easy as playing with building blocks.
  3. The real learning comes  with the imagination.

III

  1. Kids can build a glowing lantern that turns  in and off.
  2. An advanced lesson include a dancing, singing penguin.
  3. The trick is translating abstract into tangible objects.

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups  and  have each group compose a letter or note to a  person mentioned in the article telling her/him their thoughts on the topic. Share the letters as a class.

1-Minute Free Writing Exercise

Directions: Allow students 1 minute to write down one new idea they’ve learned from the reading. Ask them to write down one thing they did not understand in the reading.  Review the responses as a class. Note: For the lower levels allow more time for this writing activity.

ANSWER KEY

Category: Education, Technology