Stjepan Hauser Historical Traditions Report Interview with... Halloween The World of LEGO www.elilanguagemagazines.com Downloadable AUDIO FILES (p 16) Your English Monthly B1/B2 Year XLIII - N. 1 - September / October 2022 - Imprimé à Taxe Réduite 1 ®Kid Focus on Films Musicals
Welcome to this year’s first issue of our very special magazine, KID. Let’s have fun learning English by reading the amazing facts in our interesting articles and activities. In our Report on page 5, we reveal all the secrets behind the worldfamous building bricks, Lego! On page 4 you can discover the history and origins of Halloween. In this issue, read about your favourite musical films on page 8. If you love music, you will also love our interview with the cellist, Stjepan Hauser. And you can find out about the latest films on release on page 14. Our Travel Blog this year has some interesting facts about the nations that form the United Kingdom. In this issue, we talk about England. There is something for everyone. Happy reading!
What is it?
What do you see in this photo?
Have you ever wondered...?
Can you guess what it is?
Hi, I’m Grammy. This month we’ll learn about:
- Infinitive constructions
Sommario Quadro Comune Europeo Livello Intermedio (B1 – B2) 2 3 4 5 8 10 12 14 15
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Historical Traditions | Halloween Report | The World of LEGO Focus
Films on release Fun and games!
Kid Travel Blog | The United Kingdom: England
The answer is on page 15
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This discovery by the MIT scientists was not only the solution to a real enigma*, but is also very useful in other scientific fields, from understanding crack formation in materials to fractures* in human bones.
For a long time, people have looked at the moon and identified various creatures in its dark shadows: a human face, a rabbit, a toad, a crab. What about you? What do you see when you look at the moon?
Why is it impossible to break a piece of spaghetti in two?
If you try to break a piece of uncooked spaghetti, it will probably split into three or more pieces. Apparently it is really difficult to break it into only two pieces. Have you ever wondered why? This has been one of the major unsolved problems in physics since the 30s, almost a century ago. Since then, academics, physicists and mathematicians, and even a Nobel prize-winner, have been searching for a logical explanation for this strange phenomenon*. This problem was solved recently by a group of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), thanks to their special ‘spaghetti-bending’ machine. The only way to break the spaghetti into exactly two pieces is to bend and twist the piece of spaghetti at the same time, but with a particular force and in a certain way.
TWO ANIMALS IN ONE
Pareidolia is a sort of optical illusion. Look at this example: can you see the two animals ‘hidden’ in the picture?
Why do we see faces in everything we look at?
There is a mechanism in our brains which makes us see faces in every type of object (even the moon!). It often happens automatically, almost instinctively. We see two eyes and a mouth and then we create a face with real expressions and feelings. Without even thinking about it, we see ‘faces’ on cars as friendly or angry, or shapes in the clouds. This phenomenon is known as pareidolia
enigma: mystery fractures: breaks in bones or something solid phenomenon: occurrence, happening
3 Have you ever wondered...?
The answer is on page 15
superlatives/infinitive constructions/ adverbs G
Traditions which we celebrate every year usually originate from historical events or customs. Here we look at some of the most popular ones celebrated in the United Kingdom, United States, and other parts of the world.
Halloween (31st October)
Many of you probably know the American version of Halloween, when children dress up as witches and ghosts, but also other characters, and go trick-or-treating. The trick is a threat* of doing some mischief*, and the treat is usually some sweets or candy as they are called in America. But did you know that Halloween originated centuries ago in Celtic countries like Scotland and Ireland? Originally a pre-Christian holiday called Samhain, the Celts wore costumes to keep away the ghosts of the dead. In the Middle Ages, it became a Christian feast called Hallowe’en, meaning the day before Holy Day (November 1st). The tradition became a children’s holiday. In the UK, Halloween is a little different from Trick or Treat in America. Children usually go from house to house, in various costumes, often home-made, and to get their treats, they sing, say a poem, or tell a joke. Their treats are often apples, nuts, or sweets, but if they are really lucky, even money! Some families have parties and play traditional games, like apple-bobbing. This game involves putting apples in a big basin of water, and as they bob* about, you keep your hands behind your back and try to take an apple with your teeth. Another game involves taking bites of a doughnut*, hanging on a string above you. The first person to finish the doughnut, wins.
All around the world
Halloween is celebrated in other parts of the world too, but is more similar to the well-known Day of the Dead in Mexico, celebrated from October 31st to November 2nd (All Souls Day), when offerings of drinks and food are left out for the dead. In China it is called Teng Chieh, the Lantern Festival, because lanterns are also lit to guide spirits to the next life. In Vietnam it is known as the Hungry Ghost Festival. A similar festival is celebrated in Thailand, Sart Thai Day, and Chuseok, is celebrated in Korea, but in the month of September.
OVER TO YOU
At Halloween, you often see the grinning* pumpkins*, traditionally known as Jack O’Lanterns. To make one, carefully cut the top off the pumpkin with a sharp knife and, using a spoon, remove the soft internal part. Then, cut round holes for eyes, a triangle for a nose, and a zig-zag shape for the mouth. Place a small candle inside so that it shines through the holes. To be safe, use a battery-powered candle.
Did you know…?
A quarter of all the candy sold in America every year is for Halloween.
Give your friend instructions on how to play apple-bobbing. Start with:
Put some water in a large basin. ....................................................................
bob: (here) move about on the surface of the water doughnut: a round cake with a hole in the middle grinning: with a smile
mischief: doing bad things
pumpkin: large, hard, orange vegetable found in autumn threat: something which causes danger
4 Historical Traditions
adverbs of frequency/imperatives G
For generations, these very colourful little bricks have been the most favourite game of many children, but also many adults! LEGO has no age limit and thanks to our imagination, we can create anything, piece by piece.
The World of
Ninety years of history
In 1932, Ole Kirk Christiansen, a craftsman, founded the LEGO company in Denmark. At first they produced games made of wood, then, with the arrival of plastic and after years of experiments, they began to produce the famous bricks that we know today. But, for many, the ‘official date of birth’ of LEGO is 28th January 1958 because on that day, LEGO obtained its patent*, and for that reason, National LEGO Day is celebrated every year in the United States on that day.
One word, infinite possibilities!
It was Christiansen himself who thought of the name Lego, which comes from the Danish words ‘leg godt’, meaning ‘play well’. By a curious coincidence, in Latin ‘lego’ – which basically means ‘I read’ – also means ‘I choose’ and ‘I put together’. LEGO bricks, although very simple, have potentially infinite combinations. The mathematician, Soren Ellers, calculated that, with only 6 pieces, you can construct about 915 million different things!
The brilliant thing about LEGO is that it’s a ‘universal system’ which means pieces from one set can be put together with those from another set, no matter what year it was made. Even those from 1958 are compatible* with the most recent ones. A DUPLO brick (the version of LEGO which came out in 1967 for very young children) is eight times bigger than a standard brick but it can easily be attached to a standard LEGO brick.
Nathan Sawaya was the first person to make a sculpture using only LEGO bricks. He usually uses 20-25 thousand of them, but some projects have taken over 500 thousand pieces (and months of work!). He reproduces famous portraits (in 3D*), life-size* figures, and even dinosaur skeletons. His exhibition “The Art of the Brick” has toured the world.
Over the years, Nathan has accumulated over four million bricks, all organised by shape and colour and kept in the enormous cupboards in his art studios in Los Angeles and New York.
The ‘smallest’ people in the world
The LEGO characters are small but there are lots of them! More than 4 billion, and increasing all the time! Their distinct yellow colour makes them ‘neutral’ and easily recognisable. The very first minifigure, made in 1978, was a policeman.
Much more than a game
From the sets for young children to those for real experts, LEGO not only helps develop creativity, dexterity* and the imagination of both young and old, it also improves logical thinking, spatial awareness, organisation and concentration. And so, this has inspired a teamwork methodology called LEGO Serious Play, which is used by organisations like NASA and Microsoft. Using the Danish bricks helps people make decisions and resolve complex problems, leading to efficient solutions both in the workplace and in their personal lives.
LEGO has become one of the most important toy companies, together with Mattel and Hasbro. Every year, it produces around 20 billion bricks, more or less 2-3 million every hour. The degree of precision is
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very high: on average, there are only 18 defective* pieces in one million. LEGO is among the most indestructible* toys on the market: a single brick can support the weight of about 37 other bricks. Incredible but true, LEGO is also the biggest
Tell us about something you have made with LEGO! What is the most difficult thing you have been able to build with the world famous bricks?
producer of tyres* (miniature, of course!) in the world, making around 870,000 mini tyres per day, a total of 318 million per year.
In 1992, LEGO entered the Guinness Book of Records with two recordbreaking constructions: a castle, five metres high, built with 400,000 bricks,, and a train line, 545 metres long.
Among the biggest (also the most expensive) LEGO sets produced are the Titanic (9,090 pieces), the Colosseum (9,036 pieces), the spaceship from Star Wars, the Millennium Falcon (7,541 pieces) and the Taj Mahal (5,922 pieces).
compatible: can go together defective: not perfect dexterity: ability to do something indestructible: not able to be broken life-size: with real dimensions
tyre: wheel on cars and other vehicles
3D: three dimensional
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