Tag Archives: science

Digitizing Old Weather Reports

© BBC News

C1 – Advanced

At a time when we depend on computers so much, we opt to digitize everything.

Old handwritten weather data from the Ben Nevis weather station are aimed to be copied into a database.

Learn more about the old way they gathered weather data at Ben Nevis and the quest to have all records digitized.

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-41166778

Discussion Questions:

1. Do you think that the project is relevant? Why or why not?
2. How can the digitized data be helpful for us at present and in the future?
3. Given a chance, would you be willing to volunteer in a project such as this?
4. Asked which is more accurate between a computer or a human, Prof. Hawkins said, “for accuracy, the human eyes still do it better”. Do you agree or disagree with him.

Goosebumps with Music, a Sign of Special Brain

B1 – Intermediate

Have you ever listened to a song that sent shivers down your spine?  A research shows that if music gives you the chills or goosebumps, then something in your brain might be unique. Discover more by reading the article below.

Why Certain Music Gives Us Goosebumps

Discussion questions:

1. What type of music do you like?

2. What is your favorite song? What emotions do you have when you listen to it?

3. What one song makes you emotional? What memory does it remind you of?

4. What gives you goosebumps?

5. How do you deal with your life’s sad moments?

Bilingual Brain

B2 – Upper intermediate

There are advantages of knowing two languages. There may be some disadvantages to this skill as well. Watch the video to find out.

Discussion Questions:

1. How is a bilingual brain different from a monolingual brain?
2. Are there any disadvantages to knowing two languages?
3. Do you think everyone in the future will be bilingual or even multilingual?

Why Do We Dream?

B2 – Upper intermediate

Dreaming is a part of our everyday lives and yet we don’t know much about it. While we don’t fully understand its purpose, a couple of theories might shed some light on us. Why do we dream? Watch the video below to find out:

Discussion Questions:

1. According to the video, what are the possible purposes of dreaming?
2. What do you usually dream about?
3. What do you think are the meaning of your dreams?
4. Do you think dreams can be interpreted?

Why Do We Age?

B2 – Upper Intermediate

Aging is a natural process that we are very well aware of. However, the process itself is still poorly understood. How and why exactly do we age? Watch the video to find out:

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the factors that contribute to aging?
2. Like Jeanne Louise Calment, would you like to live for 122 years? Why or why not?
3. How long do you think is the ideal lifespan?
4. Do you think it is possible for people to not age at all?

The Pros and Cons of Pesticides

B2 – Upper Intermediate

For many years, people have relied on using pesticides in order to prevent agricultural catastrophes. However, it is not without consequences. What are the negative effects of using pesticides? Watch the video below to find out:

Let’s talk:

1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using pesticides?
2. After banning DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane), do you think Paul Hermann Müller’s Nobel Prize should have been revoked?
3. Are there strict regulations regarding the use of pesticides in your country?
4. What do you think will happen in the event of an agricultural catastrophe?
5. Can you think of alternatives to chemical pesticides not mentioned in the video?

Potential New Planets

kepler_all-planets_may2016

B1 – Intermediate

NASA scientists on Monday announced the discovery of 219 new objects beyond our solar system that are almost certainly planets.

What’s more, 10 of these worlds may be rocky, about the size of Earth, and habitable.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/nasa-new-planets-kepler_us_594969b4e4b04c5e5025661a

Discussion Questions:

1. How close do you think we are to finding a “second” Earth?

2. Why do you think scientists are so invested in finding new planets?

3. If the time came, would you consider moving to another planet?

Mediterranean Sea Acidification

B2 – Upper Intermediate

Research shows that a portion of the Mediterranean Sea’s acidity has reached an almost 7-percent increase. This phenomenon poses a threat on sea creatures like oysters and mussels.

https://www.voanews.com/a/rising-temperatures-acidification-threaten-mediterranean-sea-species/3913767.html

Discussion Questions:

1. In your own words, describe the cause/s and effect/s of ocean acidification.
2. Based on the article, what caused the acidification of the Mediterranean Sea, and what are its effects?
3. In your opinion, what will be the impact of this phenomenon on countries like Italy, France and Spain?

Scientists Grow More Crops

B1 – Intermediate

Lack of food supply in the future is a constant fear and would possibly become real if we don’t do anything about it now. Find out what a group of scientists did to create the super crops of the future.

Scientists change plants’ sunblock to grow more crops

Discuss:

1. How did scientists make the crops bigger?
2. What do you think of genetically modifying plants and crops?
3. What are the dangers of genetically modified food?
4. What are the benefits of genetically modified food?
5. Why are so many people in the world without food?

The Immortality Gene: How to Live Forever

C1 – Advanced

Death is unwelcome but inevitable. On the other hand, immortality sounds impossible. We have never heard of someone who lived forever no matter how man worked and toiled to curtail death.

Now, with this scientific discovery, will man ever surpass the age of 969, the longest life ever recorded in humanity?

The Immortality Gene: How to Live Forever

Discuss:

1. What do you think about living forever?
2. What things will you do if you live forever?
3. What kind of life would you want with an everlasting life?
4. Can you really cure aging?