Zombies would wipe out humans in 100 days

[Thoughts ★★]

zombies

Image source: by “unknown” http://www.ripzombie.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/zombies.jpg

(P1) Zombies are only in horror movies. Or are they? An article in a university physics journal predicts that zombies could kill most of us in 100 days. Students said there would only be 273 survivors of a zombie apocalypse. The students pretended zombies were a deadly virus. The virus infected someone. The person had a 90 percent chance of giving the virus to another person. That person spread the virus around the world.

(P2) A professor explained why students wrote about zombies. He said: “We ask students to write short papers for the ‘Journal of Physics Special Topics’. It lets the students show off their creative side and use some of the physics they know.” It also gives students writing practice. The professor added that it tested how students use their understanding of physics in imaginary situations. This could help us in the future to prepare for disasters.

WORDS: 147

SOURCE: http://www.breakingnewsenglish.com/1701/170110-zombies-1.html

VOCABULARY: wipe out (title), survivors, pretended, infected, imaginary, disasters

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Do you like TV shows and movies about zombies? Why or why not?
  3. What types of disasters occur in your country?
  4. What types (genres) of movies do you like? Why?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. How long would it take them to wipe out most humans?
  2. How many people would still be alive?
  3. Who explained the reason why the students wrote about zombies?
  4. Students wee able to practice their English ____________.
  5. What else could this writing assignment help with in the future?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • could kill most of us (P1)
  • that person spread the virus around (P1)
  • creative side (P2)
  • write short papers (P2)
  • prepare for disasters (P2)

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Swedish Taxi-pod

[Technology & Environment ★★]

89_800px-coco_taxis

(P1) Students in Goteborg, Sweden, need to travel in the busy city center. But now they do not need to take a bus or a taxi. They can use a Taxi-pod, a little yellow battery-powered car with three wheels.

(P2) The company, Burst, wants to solve the problem with traffic in big cities. It would like to offer a perfect service for short trips in the city.

(P3) People on buses usually travel a long way. They are not in a hurry and they do not need to get to their final point. For lots of people, it is very important to travel quicker.

(P4) This service is not only about speed. The makers of these cars also want to improve air quality. They also want to solve traffic jam problems.

(P5) One of the passengers thinks that the Taxi-pods are good for cleaner air, cheap, easy to use in the city, and fun.

WORDS: 150

SOURCE: http://www.newsinlevels.com/products/swedish-taxi-pod-level-1/

VOCABULARY: wheels, offer, trips, makers, improve

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Do you think taxi-pods are a good idea? Why or why not?
  3. How do you move around in a busy city?
  4. Would you take a taxi-pod if they were available in your city? Why or why not?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

  1. The Taxi-pod moves on __________ wheels.
  2. Burst is the name of a ____________.
  3. A lot of people want to travel quickly. (T or F)
  4. The Taxi-pod is a service that’s not only concerned about faster transportation. (T or F)
  5. What 4 things did a user of the Taxi-pod say about the transportation?

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • battery-powered (P1)
  • solve the problem (P2)
  • a long way (P3)
  • their final point (P3)

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Image source: By Jongleur100 Own work – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Coco_taxis.JPG

The Hudson Bay – Canada’s Icebox

[Geography ★★]

hudson-bay

(P1) The Hudson Bay is a large body of water in the northeastern part of Canada. It has an area of about 1.2 million square kilometers and is connected to the Atlantic Ocean. The Hudson Bay is very shallow. Although it is a part of the open sea, the salt level of The Hudson Bay is low because many rivers bring fresh water into the bay. While the eastern coastline is rocky with many islands, the western coast is low and swampy.

(P2) Canada’s greatest body of water lies in the middle of the Canadian tundra. The Hudson Bay is, geologically, the center of the Canadian Shield, an area of Canada that consists of old rock formations.  The weight of the ice during the last Ice Age lowered the surface of the land. After the ice had melted, water filled the bay.

WORDS: 140

SOURCE: http://www.english-online.at/geography/hudson-bay/hudson-bay.htm

VOCABULARY: icebox, shallow, rocky, swampy, tundra, formations, melted

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Are there any big bodies of water in your country? If yes, describe one.
  3. Are there rock formations in your country? If yes, describe one.
  4. What are some large bodies of water in the world?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. In what part of Canada is the Hudson Bay located?
  2. The Atlantic Ocean and the Hudson Bay are joined together. (T or F)
  3. The western part of the Hudson Bay is ___________ and __________.
  4. What is the Canadian Shield?
  5. The water in the Hudson Bay originally came from what?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • northeastern part of Canada (P1)
  • connected to the Atlantic Ocean (P1)
  • eastern coastline (P1)
  • the weight of the ice (P2)
  • filled the bay (P2)

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Image source: by “unknown” http://www.english-online.at/geography/hudson-bay/hudson-bay.htm

Chinese New Year

[Culture ★★]

greetings-2439_640-e1438000609685

(P1) Chinese New Year is a very special time for many people. It is also called Spring Festival. The Chinese New Year always happens after January 1. This is because the Chinese used a different calendar long ago. As a result, Chinese New Year usually falls each year between January 21 and February 20. Each year of the Chinese calendar is named after one of 12 animals. 2017 is the Year of the Rooster.

(P2) People in China celebrate the Chinese New Year in many ways. Several days before the New Year, families usually clean their house together. They put up red paper decorations on the windows and doors.  It is also common to give someone money in a red envelope.  In China, red brings good luck and protects people from bad spirits. The night before Chinese New Year, families will gather to eat a big dinner. Usually, they eat fish. They might watch or even set off some fireworks. On Chinese New Year’s Day, it is normal for people to go to a special New Year’s market.  These markets usually sell many different things such as clothing and food.

WORDS: 188

SOURCE: http://dreamreader.net/lesson/chinese-new-year/

VOCABULARY: calendar, rooster, celebrate, decorations, envelope, spirits

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. What’s a symbol of good luck in your country?
  3. Does anything mean bad luck in your country?
  4. Describe a traditional celebration in your country?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What’s another name given for the Spring Festival?
  2. The Chinese New Year does not always occur on the same dates. (T or F)
  3. Each month in the Chinese calendar represents an ____________.
  4. The Chinese hang __________ in their houses, especially on windows and ______.
  5. The Chinese believe the color red brings ________ and guards against _________.

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • usually falls each year (P1)
  • put up red paper decorations (P2)
  • will gather (P2)
  • set off some fireworks (P2)

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Image source: by Scott Meltzer http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?picture=&image=5329&jazyk=IT

Ford Kills $1.6B Mexico Plant, Cites, but Doesn’t Credit, Trump

[Business ★★]

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A gift from Ford for President-elect Donald Trump: The automaker on Tuesday announced that they will no longer construct a $1.6 billion plant in Mexico. Instead, they will create 700 new jobs in Michigan by way of a $700 million investment in the state. CEO Mark Fields made clear that “we didn’t cut a deal with Trump,” who had been highly critical of the planned Mexico move, though Fields did speak with him Tuesday morning. “We did it for our business.” With that said, he called it a “vote of confidence” in the pro-business America Trump has vowed to foster, reports CNN.

The Michigan money will be spent at its Flat Rock plant, where it will manufacture more electric and self-driving cars. The now canceled plant in Mexico was to be the site of Ford Focus production. The Focus will instead be made at Ford’s plant in Hermosillo, Mexico.

WORDS: 149

SOURCE: http://www.newser.com/story/236336/ford-reverses-will-pump-cash-into-michigan-not-mexico.html

VOCABULARY: President-elect, automaker, critical, confidence, foster, canceled

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Do you think companies in your country should build plants in other countries? Why or why not?
  3. What are the names of some international companies in your country?
  4. What are some of the popular cars in your country? Why?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. The name of the car manufacturer in the article is __________.
  2. How much was the new plant in Mexica going to cost to build?
  3. President-elect Donald Trump was highly against the new plant. (T or F)
  4. Where will the money be spent in Michigan?
  5. Where will the Ford Focus be produced now?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • by way of (P1)
  • cut a deal (P1)
  • pro-business (P1)
  • the Michigan money (P2)
  • self-driving cars (P2)

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Image source: by AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File http://www.newser.com/story/236336/ford-reverses-will-pump-cash-into-michigan-not-mexico.html

Language barriers holding back global science

[Language & Science ★★]

wwsalliance1

(P1) Language barriers are holding back science around the world. English is the language of science, but a third of research is not printed in English. Researchers from the University of Cambridge said scientists miss a lot of important research. They said journals should have summaries of a study in many languages. They also said universities should translate research into different languages, especially Chinese, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

(P2) International companies are asking staff to use only English to reduce language barriers. Germany’s Volkswagen announced that English is its official language. It wants to attract employees. Japan’s carmaker Honda said its staff must use English by 2020. Researcher Tatsuya Amano said scientists need to be serious about this. He said the WHO missed important research about avian flu in China because it was in Chinese.

WORDS: 133

SOURCE: http://www.breakingnewsenglish.com/1701/170104-language-barriers-1.html

VOCABULARY: barriers, holding back, printed, journals, reduce, official

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Is learning English important in your country? Why or why not?
  3. Do you think more international companies should ask their employees to use English? Why or why not?
  4. What is the most difficult skill for you to learn in English?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. How much research in science is not published in English?
  2. Besides English, what other four languages should research be translated into?
  3. Small local companies are asking their employees to speak English. (T or F)
  4. The approved language for Volkswagen is _______________.
  5. WHO is an organization that overlooked a lot of information about the __________ flu because it was written in Chinese.

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • English is the language of science (P1)
  • miss a lot (P1)
  • must use English by 2020 (P2)
  • missed important research (P2)

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Image source: by Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information https://worldwidescience.org/archive.html

Wasim Akram

[Sports ★★]

wasimakram-titlea

(P1) Cricket is a hugely popular sport in Pakistan, and there have been some incredible Pakistani cricket players. One of the all-time greats has to be the left-arm fast bowler and batsman Wasim Akram. Here are five fun facts about this record-breaking cricketer.

  1. He was born on June 3 in 1966.
  2. His nickname is The King of Swing because of his ability to swing a cricket ball.
  3. He took more than 500 wickets in one-day international matches (ODIs).
  4. He took an incredible 400 wickets in international test matches.
  5. He was placed into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame in 2009.

(P2) Even now he is still one of the most popular sports celebrities in Pakistan and a cricket legend around the world.

WORDS: 120

SOURCE: http://dreamreader.net/lesson/wasim-akram/

VOCABULARY: hugely, fast bowler, batsman, nickname, wickets, legend

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Is cricket a popular sport in your country?
  3. Who are some sports celebrities in your country? What sport do or did they play?
  4. If you could be a famous sports player, which sport would it be? Why?

READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Cricket is not really a well-liked sport in Pakistan. (T or F)
  2. Akram uses his _________ arm.
  3. What year did Wasim Akram come into this world?
  4. Akram is in the ICC Cricket _________________.
  5. Akram is an internationally well-known cricketer. (T or F)

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:

What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • one of the all-time greats (P1)
  • left-arm fast bowler (P1)
  • he was placed into (#5)
  • even now (P2)
  • around the world (P2)

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Image source: by “unknown” http://dreamreader.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/WasimAkram-titlea-547×360.jpg