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Communication. Great steps forward SPEAKING. A CASE FOR RESEARCH FUNDING STEPS TO FOLLOW: 1. Think of the three most useful inventions that affect your daily life. 2. Now read the following four extracts in which four people talk about important discoveries and inventions for their own daily lives. a. Great discoveries of our time – well, in the last one hundred years or so, I guess medical advances, like the use of x-rays in diagnosis, or the discovery of penicillin by Fleming. I mean, he made that discovery almost by mistake, and it changed modern medicine completely. Or perhaps the elucidation of DNA by Watson and Crick in the fifties. That paved the way for the whole area of genetics and genetic engineering … b. I would say that sending man to the Moon was one of the greatest scientific achievements, learning about space. The man who invented the liquid-fuelled rocket, Robert Goddard, was fascinated by the idea of sending a rocket into space, and he spent years researching his ideas, until he developed the first rocket, called Nell. It was 10 feet tall, and he fired it from his aunt’s farm in the US. At first nothing happened, but when the fuel finally ignited the rocket was launched. It only reached a disappointing 14 metres into the air though and scientists were sceptic al of its success. When the newspapers got hold of the story they wrote the headlines “Moon rocket misses target by 238.799 miles”. But later, engineers in Germany and America used his ideas, and the film footage of Nell, to develop military and space exploring rockets. The New York times had to write Goddard a public apology … c. Computers, it has to be, information technology, and the Internet. The whole way in which information is distributed and kept nowadays. It’s just been revolutionized by information technology. And things have happened so quickly, I mean, the first computer was built in 1948, I think. And was so bit it took up a whole room! If you think about the latest designs now, and the capacity, it’s just amazing. And it has made the world a smaller place, because it is so easy now to get information about anywhere in the world. There are no secrets … d. I don’t think we should underestimate the importance of domestic appliances, like the washing machine, dishwasher, all your electrical goods. And processes like freezedrying food. These timesaving discoveries have allowed a whole new freedom to women, who previously had to spend their whole lives in the kitchen, it’s meant that they could go out to work, and that has had a huge impact on society. Or perhaps it should be the advances in travel, with the bicycle, then the car and the aeroplane. The world must have been a very different place when the fastest way to get anywhere was a horse …

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From Total English Advanced. Mª Jesús García San Martín.


Communication. Great steps forward 3. It’s time to get ready for your own presentation. a. Choose an area of research, an important one in the field of discoveries/inventions, e. g. space travel/exploration, robots, genetic engineering, etc. and try to make notes on the following: i. Is it valid/likely to succeed/affect your life? ii. Would you contribute money to further research in this area? iii. How could you raise funds to support it? b. Think about how you are going to present your case to the rest of the class: you may choose among these three: A. present a case for research into space travel; B. present a case for research into how robots can help mankind; C. present a case for research into genetic engineering. Or, you can also choose another type of case. c. Try to include answers for the following questions, in your presentation: i. What important discoveries do you think might be made in this area in the future? ii. What do you think is need to make this research possible? iii. How do you think the research should be funded? iv. How will the research affect people’s lives? d. Decide how you are going to present your case for research and rehearse your arguments. Present your ideas to the rest of the class and try to create a discussion on your topic with your mates.

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From Total English Advanced. Mª Jesús García San Martín.

Great steps forward  

A communication activity for advanced esl learners.

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