Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Jack The Giant Slayer: Jack and the Beanstalk

Read the summary of the world famous tale Jack and the Beanstalk. Then watch the segment and see what happened before the story told. In small groups, present a summary of the segment and come up with a new and completely different ending for the tale.

Jack is a young, poor boy living with his widowed mother and a cow as their only source of income. When the cow stops giving milk, Jack's mother tells him to take it to the market to be sold. On the way, Jack meets an old man who offers magic beans in exchange for the cow, and Jack makes the trade. When he arrives home without any money, his mother becomes angry, throws the beans on the ground, and sends Jack to bed without dinner.
During the night, the magic beans cause a gigantic beanstalk to grow. The next morning, Jack climbs the beanstalk to a land high in the sky. He finds an enormous castle and sneaks in. Soon after, the castle's owner, a giant, returns home. He senses that Jack is nearby.


Monday, April 10, 2017

Finding Dory: Short-Term Remembery Loss, Alzheimer,

Read the passage about short-term remembery loss. Then tell a partner what you understood. 

Based on the informative sites:


When a person experiences short-term memory loss, he or she can remember incidents from 20 years ago but is fuzzy on the details of things that happened 20 minutes prior.
There are a number of causes of short-term memory loss, some which are a result of medical conditions and others that are related to injuries or other outside influences.

If you have trouble learning new material or remembering what you just read, or you frequently forget why you walked into a room, you may be dealing with short-term memory loss.
Short-term memory loss is a very common problem but there are a lot of misconceptions about it, and about how serious it is if you’re experiencing it.
You may have heard it’s the first sign of Alzheimer’s.
While this can be true, fortunately it is rarely the case.

Here are a few examples of ways you use your short-term memory during the day:
To temporarily memorize a phone number or appointment date until you jot it down.
To remember a comment you want to make when your companion is done talking.
To prompt yourself when driving, as in “I’ll change lanes as soon as the blue car on my left passes.”
This kind of information quickly disappears unless you make a point to try to remember it.
Your short-term memory also acts as a filter, deciding what’s important enough to keep and what’s not.

Now watch the movie segment and decide which of the issues discussed in the reading can be applied to Dory.

Do (Did) you have cases of Alzheimer in your family? How was it dealt?

Do you think this movie is a good way to introduce such a serious and complex topic to children?


Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Secret Life of Pets: Farewells

Check the alternatives that the characters used to express farewell.

I'll see you tonight



See you later

Have a good night

So long

See you

I'll miss  you

Sleep well


Which ones do you consider informal? 

Do you have a pet? Do you say goodbye to them when you leave home?

Do you act like the characters in the segment?



I'll see you tonight


See you later

So long

See you

I'll miss  you


Friday, March 10, 2017

The Curse of Sleeping Beauty: Dreams

Work in pairs:

1. Do you remember your dreams?

2. What kind of dreams do you have?

3. Do you have more dreams or nightmares?

4. Do your dreams come true?

5. Would you make a decision based on a dream you have had?

6. Would you change travel plans if you dreamed of an accident, for example?

7. Watch the movie segment.


 - What is his interpretation of the dream?

 - What is his psychologist's interpretation of the dream?

 - What is your interpretation?


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Kubo and the Two Strings: Depression

What Are the Main Causes of Depression?

There are a number of factors

Abuse. Past physical, sexual, or emotional abuse can increase the vulnerability to clinical depression later in life.

Conflict. Depression in someone who has the biological vulnerability to develop depression may result from personal conflicts or disputes with family members or friends.

Death or a loss. Sadness or grief from the death or loss of a loved one, though natural, may increase the risk of depression.

Genetics. A family history of depression may increase the risk. Major events. Even good events such as starting a new job, graduating, or getting married can lead to depression. So can moving, losing a job or income, getting divorced, or retiring. However, the syndrome of clinical depression is never just a "normal" response to stressful life events.

Other personal problems. Problems such as social isolation due to other mental illnesses or being cast out of a family or social group can contribute to the risk of developing clinical depression.

Serious illnesses. Sometimes depression co-exists with a major illness or may be triggered by another medical condition.


Everyone’s different and it's often a combination of factors that can contribute to developing depression. It's important to remember that you can't always identify the cause of depression or change difficult circumstances. The most important thing is to recognize the signs and symptoms and seek support.

Watch the movie segment and make a guess of the causes of Kubo's mother depression? What should Kubo do? How does her lifestyle help or hinder her recovery?



Friday, February 10, 2017

San Andreas: Natural Disasters - Earthquakes

My guilty pleasure is natural disaster movies. It is a shame there have not been good ones around lately. This one is an exception, though.

Interview a partner:

  • ·         Have you ever experienced an earthquake or a natural disaster?
  • ·         When was the last earthquake that you remember?
  • ·         Has your house been damaged by an earthquake or any other natural disaster?
  • ·         What happens during an earthquake?
  • ·         What areas of the world have many earthquakes?*
  • ·         Is it possible to know in advance that an earthquake is coming? **
  • ·         Where is the best place to go during an earthquake? ***
  • ·         Is an earthquake always followed by a tsunami? ****
  • ·         What causes aftershocks? *****

Answer key:

* Earthquake danger zone map:

An earthquake zone is a region in which seismic activity is more frequent. It is impossible to predict earthquakes with precision and most high-activity earthquake danger zones are situated along the fault zones. Fault zones that are prone to seismic activity are regions of the Earth's crust are those areas where tectonic plates meet. Therefore, fault zones are also located around volcanoes. Some important parts of the world which lie in fault zones and where earthquakes are regularity are:

California through which the San Andreas passes and also the Hayward fault zone located in the San Francisco Bay, where the North American and Caribbean tectonic plates meet. 

Padang, the capital of West Sumatra province of Indonesia, is located on some of the world’s most dangerous fault zones.

Islamabad, capital of Pakistan, is located on major fault lines which lie in the meeting of the Iranian and Arabian micro-plates making it a highly dangerous region for seismic activity.

The country of Iran is located in the Alpine-Himalayan belt which is an active seismic zone.

Japan which is located on the convergence of many oceanic and continental plates has many densely populated cities of Tokyo and Yokohama.

Mexico is located on the convergence of three of the earth’s tectonic plates.

Similarly, Vancouver Portland and Seattle lie in the dangerous Cascadia Subduction Zone.

The Xianshuihe, Min Jiang and Kunlun fault lines also passes through China.

The Eurasian and African tectonic plate passes through the south of Italy making the country vulnerable to earthquakes.

** Scientists have tried lots of different ways of predicting earthquakes, but none have been successful. They have a pretty good idea of where an earthquake is most likely to hit, but they still can't tell exactly when it will happen.
However, the probability of a future earthquake can be calculated, based on scientific data. Scientists at the US Geological Society (USGS) estimate that the probability of a major earthquake occurring in the San Francisco Bay area over the next 30 years is 67%.

*** Indoors: Drop, cover, and hold on. Drop to the floor, take cover under a sturdy desk or table, and hold on to it firmly. Be prepared to move with it until the shaking stops. If you are not near a desk or table, drop to the floor against the interior wall and protect your head and neck with your arms. Avoid exterior walls, windows, hanging objects, mirrors, tall furniture, large appliances, and kitchen cabinets with heavy objects or glass. Do not go outside!
Outdoors: Move to a clear area if you can safely do so; avoid power lines, trees, signs, buildings, vehicles, and other hazards.
Driving: Pull over to the side of the road, stop, and set the parking brake. Avoid overpasses, bridges, power lines, signs and other hazards. Stay inside the vehicle until the shaking is over. If a power line falls on the car, stay inside until a trained person removes the wire.

**** Not always. It depends on the magnitude, the directions of the frictions, distance from the coast. How deep the epicenter was and many other variables.

***** An aftershock results from the sudden change in stress occurring within and between rocks and the previous release of stress brought on by the principal earthquake. Aftershocks occur in rocks located near the epicenter or along the fault that harbored the principal quake.


Watch the movie segment and say what you would  in that  situation. 
Do you ever think about how vulnerable a city or country you are visiting is to an earthquake or a natural disaster (San Francisco, Seattle, Italy, Chile, Japan, among others)?


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Martian: Space Colonies

This is one of the best films of the year. Don't miss it.

Watch the movie segment and prepare yourself for a debate about the colonization of Mars by humans. 


Divide the class into two groups. One group - A - will be responsible to defending the idea of the colonization of Mars. The other group - B - will be against it.

 Group A - Read the argumentation that supports the endeavor. 

Group B - Read the argumentation against the endeavor.

Pros: (adapted from this awesome site - Don't miss it!

1. Its Similarity to Earth

Mars has water, frozen underground and at the polar caps. There is evidence that this water has, in the past and present, flooded the surface in liquid form. Signs of erosion can be found on the slopes of craters and volcanoes. Geological features resembling those on Earth suggest that Mars was once a wet and hospitable planet. A day on Mars is 24.5 hours long. Mars is a third the size of Earth, but it has as much land area as the seven continents combined. Its gravity is 2.7 times less than that of Earth: enough to remain flat-footed on the surface, but a low enough escape velocity to make launching from Mars relatively simple. 

With its similarity to Earth, there is a strong possibility that bacterial life (or something more?) exists on the planet. 
Mars is exciting because it offers scientists a view of how planets develop. Mars is billions of years older than the Earth, and its features are much more exaggerated. The largest canyons, volcanoes, and craters in the solar system are available for our study.

3. Its Economic Value
Mars is worth a lot of money. There are 144 trillion square meters of surface area, roughly the land area of the Earth, available for development. 
There is an abundance of rare metals on Mars such as platinum, gold, silver, and others. Shipping from Mars to Earth, as mentioned above, is much easier than the other way around.

4. Its Home for Mankind

It offers a backup plan for humanity. 
A colony on Mars is not far off. The time will come when Mars will not need Earth to sustain it.  We may be able to grow our own food on the planet in greenhouses, but what about wild animals, and birds, and fish, and rivers, and oceans? 


Adapted from this informative site. It is worth visiting. I learned a lot there.

1. Cold

You would agree that the center of Antarctica in winter is cold, not the best of places to set up home? Well Mars is far colder. At the Curiosity site, which is close to the equator, typical night time temperatures are -70 °C. Occasionally it drops to below -100 °C. It is often cold enough for the CO2 in the atmosphere to freeze out as dry ice. A human couldn't survive those temperatures without technology.

2. Vacuum

Mars does have an atmosphere, but it is so thin  it would count as a laboratory vacuum on Earth. 
A human would need to put on a spacesuit to survive the low pressure, never mind the lack of oxygen. The pressure is so low, your saliva and the moisture coating the interior of your lungs would boil.

3. Dust and Dust storms

Every Martian summer, roughly every two Earth years, you get a higher chance of global dust storms. These can last for weeks, and the light from the sun drops by over 99%. During the dust storms, then artificial light is needed in middle of the day to grow crops, and you won't be able to see anything. Solar power won't work.

4. Hard to make self sufficient - need for parts and supplies from Earth

There are lots of resources available on Mars. Mining on Mars will be hard to do, as hard as in space. You still need to use space suits because of the vacuum conditions. And however much you can make from native Mars materials, at least at present levels of technology, then many components and replacement parts will have to come from Earth.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Theory of Everything: Stephen Hawking

This is a tearjerker with excellent acting. I admire Hawking very much, 

Work together:

1. What do you know about Stephen Hawking? What's your opinion about him?

2. What do you know about his health conditions? Does it make his discoveries less or more impressive? Or it just does not matter?

Read about his disease: Stephen was diagnosed with ALS, a form of Motor Neurone Disease, shortly after his 21st birthday. In spite of being wheelchair bound and dependent on a computerised voice system for communication Stephen Hawking continues to combine family life (he has three children and three grandchildren), and his research into theoretical physics together with an extensive programme of travel and public lectures. He still hopes to make it into space one day.

3. Read about Hawking most important contributions and opinions about the world. Tell each other what his beliefs are and how you think his contributions might help the world.

Stephen Hawking's main contributions to the field of physics and cosmology lie in the studies of:

The origins of the universe and Time.

The Big Bang theory. The big Bang theory says that the universe of matter and energy began at a single point, which reached a critical mass, then exploded outward. The universe continues to expand.

The universe began with a gravitational singularity, which are more common in the universe than we think.

Stephen Hawking postulated the existence of radiation, emitting through the black hole and coming out the other side. This is now accepted science.

The universe has no space/time boundaries.

There is no god. he doesn't believe that there was a God who created the universe. He doesn't believe in any sort of afterlife; he doesn't believe in heaven or hell. He does, however, believe in a grand celestial order to things, could we but understand it. He believes that there is a grand design to all the systems of the universe, and to life itself.

Stephen Hawking is dearly beloved in the common world by sci-fi fans and outer space enthusiasts, because he is a strong proponent of the likelihood of extraterrestrial life.  He postulates that the earth has already been visited by extraterrestrial life in the form of viruses. We have a failure of imagination when it comes to extraterrestial life in fiction and in movies. We just can't imagine intelligent life that isn't humanoid, it seems. Stephen Hawking thinks that should we be visited by intelligent alien life, it might be the worse for us. "Like Columbus discovering America," he says. "That didn't turn out so well for the native Americans."

4. Watch the movie segment and prepare a speech that reflects your opinions about Hawking, and the pros and cons of his ideas. Have a reporter present the most important points of your discussion.