Category Archives: Technology

Found: Secret Farm in England Where Amazon Tests Its Drones

“After hours of searching, I pulled onto a dirt track here in the rolling hills of Cambridgeshire and spotted a small dot whirring across the blue sky, gently swaying in the breeze as it steadily flew about 200 feet above the ground. Jackpot: It was an Amazon drone. Amazon, the giant e-commerce company, began secretly testing unmanned aircraft this summer at an undisclosed location in Britain.  I set out to find the top secret site, wanting to see how we all may one day receive online deliveries.” M. Scott, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

photo-youtube

photo-youtube

Excerpt: A Peek at the Secret English Farm Where Amazon Tests Its Drones By Mark Scott, The New York Times

“In retrospect, signs of Amazon’s secret tests were hidden in plain sight. There was the warning to pilots that unmanned aircraft would be flying in the area, about an hour north of London, until early October; the uncharacteristically fast cellphone reception in such a remote area — a must when processing drone data; and the growing list of jobs and openings at Amazon’s research and development site in Cambridge related to Prime Air, the company’s ambitious plan to use drones for everyday deliveries.

amazon-patners-with-the-uk

amazon-patners-with-the-uk

In Britain, Amazon is working with local authorities to test several aspects of drone technology like piloting the machines beyond the line of sight of operators, a practice still outlawed in the United States. Regulators here first authorized the commercial use of drones in 2010 — years before the Federal Aviation Authority eased its restrictions on remotely piloted aircraft in June. Amazon settled on Britain after the United States initially denied it approval for such tests.

With competitors aplenty, it is not surprising that Amazon wants to hide efforts from prying eyes. In Fulbourn, the nearest village to the test site, where thatch-roofed houses and a centuries-old church stand guard over the quiet main street, few people even knew that the American technology giant had moved in down the road.

they-are-testing-those-drones-here-because-they-cant-do-it-in-america-said-julia-napier.

they-are-testing-those-drones-here-because-they-cant-do-it-in-america-said-julia-napier.

Some people in this rural area have had angry reactions. To Julia Napier, a co-founder of Friends of the Roman Road and Fleam Dyke, a local association that maintains public footpaths around the site, Amazon’s arrival is a potential threat to local wildlife and the wider countryside, something the company has denied.

A company employee called last week, Ms. Napier said, trying to persuade her that the local drone trials were safe and did not pose a risk to wildlife. She remains skeptical.

They are testing those drones here because they can’t do it in America, she said. Whatever the Americans don’t want, I don’t want it, either.”

REMEMBER TO VOTE

vote-hillary-clinton-2

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.

 Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

Directions:  Ask students to examine the title of the post and of the actual article they are about to read. Then, have them  examine the photos. Ask students to write a paragraph describing what they think this article will discuss. Students can use a Pre-reading organizer for assistance.

Pre-reading chart by J. Swann

Pre-reading chart by J. Swann

 

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. People wondered about the unmarked aircraft.
  2. A  large model plane, floated across a field.
  3. In retrospect, signs of Amazon’s secret tests were hidden in plain sight.
  4. There was the warning to pilots about unmanned aircraft.
  5. The company’s plans were  ambitious.
  6. In Britain, Amazon is working with local authorities.
  7. A company spokeswoman declined to comment.
  8. Amazon tried to persuade residents that the drone trials were safe.
  9. People remain skeptical.
  10. I was no closer to finding the elusive drone machines.

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. There was no  warning to pilots that unmanned aircraft would be flying north of London,
  2. Amazon is  as the only company to conduct drone trials.
  3. In New Zealand, Domino’s Pizza is testing drones to ferry fast food across the country.
  4. Google is offering  book orders delivered by drone in Virginia.
  5. Amazon wants to hide efforts from prying eyes to save money.
  6. Some people in this rural area have had angry reactions.
  7. Children also fly the drones.
  8. They are testing those drones here because they can’t do it in America.
  9. Some think that in sparsely populated areas drones could fill an underserved niche of people with limited access to stores.
  10. But in many built-up urban areas, the arrival of drone delivery could quickly become a logistical nightmare.

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.

For places like Worsted Lodge — a sparsely/sparse populated area where farm/fame animals easily outnumber reside/residents — drones could fill/fit an underserved niche/nice of people with limited accessible/access to stores. But in many built-up urban areas, the arrival of drain/drone delivery could quickly become a logistical nightmare/nighttime — something the tests in the Cambridgeshire countryside would not soon solve.

III. Post Reading Activities

Discussion/Writing

The article states, “Regulators here first authorized the commercial use of drones in 2010 — years before the Federal Aviation Authority eased its restrictions on remotely piloted aircraft in June. Amazon settled on Britain after the United States initially denied it approval for such tests.”

  1.  What are the current U.S.  air traffic laws concerning operating drones?
  2. Why do you think  Amazon wants to keep its drone testing a secret?
  3. What has been the reaction of the people to the drones in their area?
  4. In your opinion, is using drones for deliveries a good idea? Explain why or why not.
  5. Can you think of any other uses for drones? Create a list of ideas then share them with the 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 | Tags:

Are You Prepared to Die for a Trip to Mars?

“The first people who fly with SpaceX to Mars should be ok with the possibility that the decision could cost them their lives, company founder and CEO Elon Musk said…I think the first journeys to Mars are going to be really very dangerous. The risk of fatality will be high; there’s just no way around it…for this reason, he would not suggest sending children on these flights.” M. Wall, Space.com

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

elon-musk-are-you-prepared-to-die-for-mars

elon-musk-are-you-prepared-to-die-for-mars

Excerpt: 1st Mars Colonists Should Be Prepared to Die Elon Musk Says By Mike Wall, Space.com

SpaceX aims to ferry 1 million people to the Red Planet over the next 50 to 100 years using the Interplanetary Transport System (ITS), a rocket-spaceship combo that Musk unveiled Tuesday (Sept. 27) during a talk at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Guadalajara, Mexico. (Well, he unveiled the ITS in concept; neither vehicle has been built yet.)

musk-has-hopes-of-colonising-mars-image-getty

musk-has-hopes-of-colonising-mars-image-getty

Musk painted a picture of a not-too-distant future in which 1,000 or more ITS spaceships, each loaded up with 100 or 200 settlers, zoom off toward Mars simultaneously from Earth orbit.

za-architects-propose-an-underground-colony-on-mars

za-architects-propose-an-underground-colony-on-mars

But it’s naïve to expect that everything will work perfectly from the start, he said. Musk said he’d like to go to Mars, but it’s unclear if he’ll be among the Red Planet vanguard.

credit-nasa

credit-nasa

I would definitely need to have a very good succession plan, because the probability of death is quite high on the first mission, and I’d like to see my kids grow up and everything — so, some pros and cons there.”

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. SpaceX aims to ferry 1 million people to the Red Planet.
  2. Spaceships  will move toward Mars simultaneously from Earth.
  3. It’s naïve to expect that everything will work perfectly.
  4. The risk of fatality will be high.
  5. Musk spoke In a teleconference with reporters.
  6. Musk will not be among the Mars vanguard.
  7. SpaceX  was developed chiefly to help humanity colonize Mars.
  8. Musk reiterated his  argument during the IAC presentation.
  9. There is always a risk of humanity’s extinction.
  10. It would be an incredible adventure.

Reading Comprehension

Fill-ins

Directions: The following sentences are from the article. Choose the correct word for each blank space from the word list  or make up your own words.

Musk has long___ that he ___SpaceX in 2002 ___to help ___colonize Mars. Becoming a multiplanet___ would ___as an insurance policy, minimizing the___ of humanity’s ___should something___ happen on Earth.

WORD LIST: terrible, species, said, risk, humanity, founded, chiefly,  extinction,serve

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. The first journey to Mars will going to be really dangerous.
  2. The risk of fatality will be high.
  3. Setting up shop on Mars isn’t going to be a cakewalk.

II

  1. This is less about who goes there first.
  2. It’s worth the risk to become an multiplanetary species.
  3. Musk says the trip to Mars will be an incredible adventure.

III

  1. Life needs to be more  then just solving problems.
  2. It’s about protecting human life.
  3. This mission is also about having a tremendous sense of adventure.

 

Graphic Organizers: Finding the main idea

Directions: Students could use this  Topic/Concept/Theme organizer from Write Design to assist them with  discussing  or writing about  the main topic or theme of the article.

Advanced Spider map By writedesignonline

Create Questions

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.

Group Project: What Will Colonists Need on Mars?

Directions:  In groups make a list of the six most important items you think the first colonists on Mars would need to bring. The items should be necessary for survival.  The group can only choose six items! Get together as a class and create a new list of the six most important items.

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 | Tags:

New Wi-Fi Kiosks Attract Drinkers, Drug Users, and Porn Watchers!

“The Wi-Fi kiosks were designed to replace phone booths and allow users to consult maps, maybe check the weather or charge their phones. But they have also attracted people who linger for hours, sometimes drinking and doing drugs and, sometimes, boldly watching pornography on the sidewalks.” P. McGeehan, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

a-man-sings-and-dances-to-a-song-playing-on-a-linknyc-wi-fi-kiosk-on-wednesday-credit-bryan-thomas-for-the-new-york-times

a-man-sings-and-dances-to-a-song-playing-on-a-linknyc-wi-fi-kiosk-on-wednesday-credit-bryan-thomas-for-the-new-york-times

Excerpt: Wi-Fi Kiosks Will Lose Internet Browsers,  Patrick McGeehan, The New York Times

“Now, yielding to complaints, the operators of the kiosks, LinkNYC network, are shutting off their internet browsers.

The switch is an admission that in some neighborhoods, particularly in Midtown Manhattan, the kiosks have created more problems than benefits. Elected officials have demanded changes in the system, saying they were overwhelmed with complaints from residents and businesses about people spending hours entertaining themselves.

wi-fi-kiosks-have-become-living-rooms-for-vagrants-new-york-post

wi-fi-kiosks-have-become-living-rooms-for-vagrants-new-york-post

Mayor Bill de Blasio introduced the network with fanfare in February as a key plank of his promise to bridge the digital divide in the city. The kiosks were designed to replace more than 7,500 public pay phones and bring free Wi-Fi and phone service to every neighborhood.

Users were expected to make short stops at the kiosks. But they quickly attracted the homeless and other idle people who took full advantage of the unlimited access to the internet to watch movies and play music for hours…

a man gets comfy using one of the new wi-fi kiosks as a living room. NYPost

a man gets comfy using one of the new wi-fi kiosks as a living room. NYPost

In explaining the change, the operators of LinkNYC said that some users have been monopolizing the Link tablets and using them inappropriately, preventing others from being able to use them while frustrating the residents and businesses around them.

They said they would switch off the browsing functions on the computer tablets built into the kiosks as a temporary solution while they consider permanent changes, including limiting how long people can use the tablets.”

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.

 Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

Directions:  Ask students to examine the title of the post and of the actual article they are about to read. Then, have them  examine the photos. Ask students to write a paragraph describing what they think this article will discuss. Students can use a Pre-reading organizer for assistance.

Pre-reading chart by J. Swann

Pre-reading chart by J. Swann

 

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 Wi-Fi kiosks were designed to replace phone booths.
  2. Mayor Bill de Blasio introduced the network with fanfare in February.
  3. Elected officials were overwhelmed with complaints from residents.
  4. The Wi-Fi kiosks  were supposed to bridge the digital divide in the city.
  5. The kiosks quickly attracted the homeless and other idle people.
  6. These kiosks are often monopolized by individuals.
  7. Officials agreed to a moratorium on the installation of additional kiosks.
  8. Officials said they would switch off the browsing functions.
  9. Many people were using them inappropriately.
  10. Rude people have been  frustrating the residents and businesses around them.

Reading Comprehension

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

Now, yielding/yield to complaints, the operas/operators of the kiosks, LinkNYC network, are shutting off their/there internet browsers/brows. The switch is an admit/admission that in some neighborhoods/neighbor, particularly in Midtown Manhattan, the kiosks have created/create more problems than beneficial/benefits. Elected officials have demanded/demand changes in the system, saying they were overwhelmed with compliant/complaints from residents/residential and businesses about people spending/spend hours entertaining themselves.

 Grammar Focus

Using Adjectives  to describe pictures    

Directions: Have students choose a picture from the article  and write a descriptive paragraph using adjectives.  For a review of Adjectives visit ESL Voices Grammar

III. Post Reading Activities

Discussion/Writing Activities

Directions: Place students in groups and assign each group one side of the following argument.  Allow groups to develop their arguments and conclude with a class debate.

Argument: Wi-Fi Kiosks are a good idea/bad idea. Each group should provide support either from the article or other web resources.

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 | Tags:

The Power of Pokémon Go on Kids…and Adults

“It is strange to live in a place where the skeletons of Alaskan king salmon, loosed from bald eagles’ talons, sometimes plummet to the sidewalk. It is strange to live in a place where brown bears are so populous that hikers tie bells to their dogs and wrists. Where ravens as big as house cats caw and the sun barely sets into the ocean beside a dormant volcano. Stranger still, however, to see young people hold their phones to their faces and scan this landscape for an elusive Jigglypuff.”A. Butcher, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

image- serebii.net

image- serebii.net

Pikachu (Polygon)

Excerpt: Pokémon Go See the World in Its Splendor By Amy Butcher, The New York Times

“Bubble-gum pink, more cotton candy than animal, the Jigglypuff might lurk, my students tell me, in the woods among the scattered totem poles. Or perhaps along the harbor, where yachts and trolling boats rock between rows of barnacled piers.

Jigglypuff

Jigglypuff

The shells crunch beneath their feet as the kids lift their screens into the air, scanning sky and earth and sea, ignoring jellyfish and banana slugs, saying, quietly, It’s just another Rattata.

Rattata is a Normal type Pokémon.

I used to be obsessed with Pokémon. A middle schooler when the game was first released in the late ’90s… My companion of choice was Charmander, tiny and orange and adorable.

Charmander is a Fire type Pokémon.

Charmander is a Fire type Pokémon.

How easily my parents bribed me in return for buying booster packs. How many weeds I pulled in pursuit of a Mewtwo.

Mewtwo

Whole rooms were vacuumed of Ritz crackers and crayon tips because of the possibility of a bumbling Snorlax, a skin-shredding Dratini…But upon the release, early this month, of Pokémon Go — the long-awaited augmented-reality iPhone and Android counterpart to the original Game Boy series — I found I had evolved to the curmudgeonly attributes of the nearly 30.

Phones away! became my mantra. I said it dozens of times a day. I was teaching at a fine arts camp in Sitka, Alaska, when the game came out… They were enrolled in courses in juggling, sketch comedy and opera. They were practicing the ancient Japanese pottery-making technique of raku.

But they were also playing the great Japanese game Pokémon Go, like everyone else. The students pointed their cameras at the blackboard, bouncing digital Poké Balls to capture creatures, laughing when a wormy Weedle landed on another student or slithered across a desk.

More than anything, I couldn’t understand why my students — living in pristine, picturesque Alaska — were so enamored of the invented wilderness superimposed on their screens. The real thing was all around them.

Days later, upon return to my Ohio home, when I no longer felt I had to set an example, I downloaded the game myself.

My community came to life in vibrant shades of pastel blue and green, the grid of my neighborhood alive with magic… The whole idea of Pokémon Go is to visit where you have not been, to trace sites both new and foreign.”

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.

The UIE brainstorming chart (sample)

Brainstorming chart by UIE copy

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 kids lift their screens into the air scanning sky and earth.
  2. I used to be obsessed with Pokémon
  3. My companion of choice was Charmander.
  4. I liked  how the adolescent things gave way to jutting claws.
  5. How easily my parents bribed me.
  6. I was, in short, enraptured.
  7. I had evolved to the curmudgeonly attributes of the nearly 30.
  8. The game seemed an incredible nuisance in the classroom.
  9. The restaurants I most frequently patronize are a mile away.
  10. The game thrives most through collaboration.

Reading Comprehension

Fill-ins

Directions: The following sentences are from the article. Choose the correct word for each blank space from the word list  or make up your own words.

My___ came to life in___shades of___ blue and green, the grid of my___ alive with magic. I caught a Bulbasaur on my comforter. A fluffy ___lurked within the garden. In jest, my ___and I walked a block in pursuit of___ leaves that indicated an___not yet ___in our Pokédex. We caught him and___the block. Then another. We walked five miles.

WORD LIST: pastel, community, boyfriend, walked,

vibrant, neighborhood, Eevee, captured, rustling, animal.

 Grammar Focus

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/Writing Activities

Directions: Place students in groups and have them  discuss the following statements. Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the following  topics.

  1. “More than anything, I couldn’t understand why my students living in pristine, picturesque Alaska — were so enamored of the invented wilderness superimposed on their screens. The real thing was all around them.”
  2. “The game seemed an incredible nuisance in the classroom, but also in the cafeteria and the auditorium, at our nightly events and on the campus green… They were respectful when class started, or when the lights dimmed for a performance, but still I resented the game and its viral international reception.”
  3. Have you played the Pokémon Go game? If so describe your experince.
  4. Do you think that Pokémon Go is a good idea for children? What about adults? Provide reasons for your answers.

Additional Class Activities for Pokémon Go

“How can you utilize the game “Pokemon Go” into your classroom in a meaningful way? Harnessing student excitement of this game can easily be used to support all kinds of fun and pedagogically-sound lessons and activities.” Visit Discovery Education with Kathy’s Katch  August 2016: Pokémon Go in the classroom

ANSWER KEY

Category: Technology | Tags:

Shocking Bad Habits!

“Every January for the past decade, Jessica Irish of Saline, Mich., has made the same New Year’s Resolution: ‘to cut out late night snacking and lose 30 pounds’ Like millions of Americans, Ms. Irish, 31, usually makes it about two weeks. But this year is different. I’ve already lost 18 pounds and maintained my diet more consistently than ever….she uses the Pavlok to give herself a lightning-quick electric shock.” J. Jolly, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Image: The Daily Mail

Image: The Daily Mail

Excerpt: A Shocking Way (Really) to Break Bad Habits, J. Jolly, The New York Times

“Ms. Irish credits a new wearable device called Pavlok for doing what years of diets, weight-loss programs, expensive gyms and her own willpower could not…Every time I took a bite, I zapped myself, she said. I did it five times on the first night, two times on the second night, and by the third day I didn’t have any cravings anymore.

As the name suggests, the $199 Pavlok, worn on the wrist, uses the classic theory of Pavlovian conditioning to create a negative association with a specific action.

Next time you smoke, bite your nails or eat junk food, one tap of the device or a smartphone app will deliver a shock. The zap lasts only a fraction of a second, though the severity of the shock is up to you. It can be set between 50 volts, which feels like a strong vibration, and 450 volts, which feels like getting stung by a bee with a stinger the size of an ice pick.

You tube Pavlok Bracelet

You tube Pavlok Bracelet

By comparison, a police Taser typically releases about 50,000 volts…Set on low, it feels like a strong tickle. Set on high, it hurts. A lot… Bud Hennekes, 24, a blogger in St. Louis, said he had used Pavlok to kick a nearly two-pack-a-day cigarette habit…When I used Pavlok, the cravings completely went away. I don’t know if it’s science or a placebo effect or what, and I don’t really care because it worked.”

Related:

Assessing the Fitness of Wearable Tech

Apps to Improve Your Swing, Lift or Stride

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: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

Directions:  Ask students to examine the title of the post and of the actual article they are about to read. Then, have them  examine the photos. Ask students to write a paragraph describing what they think this article will discuss. Students can use a Pre-reading organizer for assistance.

Pre-reading chart by J. Swann

Pre-reading chart by J. Swann

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. For the past decade people have been trying to break bad habits.
  2. Pavlok   is a new wearable device.
  3. Pavlok gives out a lightning-quick electric shock.
  4. Some gadgets dabble in behavioral change.
  5. I wore it for a week, zapping myself every time I ate dessert.
  6. My goal was to curb my craving for sweets.
  7. Some people see this as an awful torture device.
  8. It’s not designed to be painful.
  9. Researchers have questioned the ethical nature of shock intervention.
  10. The practice of aversion therapy has been around for 80 years.

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.

Dr. Marc Potenza, a ___of ___at Yale, says___ have questioned the___ nature of shock intervention when more___options like ___behavioral therapies, pharmaceutical ___and 12-step programs are available.

Word List: psychiatry, professor, cognitive, researchers, ethical, comfortable, interventions,

Grammar: Identifying Articles

Directions: Have students choose the correct articles to fill in the blanks.

English Articles:  A, An, The

As___name suggests,___$199 Pavlok, worn on___wrist, uses ___classic theory of Pavlovian conditioning to create ___negative association with___ specific action. Next time you smoke, bite your nails or eat junk food, one tap of ___device or___smartphone app will deliver___shock. ___ zap lasts only___fraction of___ second, though___severity of ___shock is up to you.

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/Writing Activities

Directions: Place students in groups and have them  discuss the following statements. Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the following topics.

1. “Despite the potential for pain and the lack of science backing a long-term effect, user feedback on Facebook groups and message boards has been enthusiastic about the device, especially as a last resort for problems like overeating and binge drinking.”

2. “When one of my patients told me he was using it last year to help him get out of bed in the morning, I was skeptical at first…I mean, the notion of being shocked — you can have a little reservation. But when you understand how to use it properly and people are more engaged in their own treatment, they tend to follow through with it more.”

3. Do you think you would try using the Pavlok to break a bad habit? Explain why or why not.

4. Search the web to find additional information about the Pavlok and share the new information with the class.

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 

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