Teenagers: Architecture and mythology

13th March 2020

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Contents

Art – giving opinions

Collocations

Expressions

Egyptian pyramids

Greek mythology

Music (naturally !)

Hello everyone, I welcome you to my blog page, and may I take this opportunity to thank ALL OF YOU who have visited my site. Having nearly 100 visits for a teaching blog is extremely gratifying.

Now, without further ado, let’s jump straight in, “Time waits for no man.”

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A famous quote from the English writer Geoffrey Chaucer

First off the bat, a little plug for my friend ‘Pete’ who has an online radio show on Mixcloud. If you’re interested, you can listen here: https://www.mixcloud.com/flatwoundssounds/

Show 4, 29th August 2019

The playlist is a mix of Jazz, Blues, Soul, R ‘n’ B & Rock ‘n’ Roll. However, in terms of an English lesson, listen to his narrative between songs. Although Pete lives in Birmingham now (central England), his accent betrays his Kent, (south-England) origins. Listen to how his voice deviates from Standard English.

A Propos (speaking about) of music, my last lesson featured two songs, one Nubian, the other a 50s Rock ‘n’ Roll number:

Nubia is a region that encompasses south Egypt and north Sudan
One of my online students has chosen the English moniker ‘Ivy’; consequently, this song is for her.

Now, time to get down to work. I introduced the class to some expressions; therefore we need to revise and practice:

between you and me // let’s get it over and done with // my hands are tied // off the cuff

I would like to let you go home early but …..

……… I think students have too much homework

Jazz musicians are famous for their spontaneity; they often play ………..

Oh, man ! We have to clear up after the party. Oh, well, ……….

Collocations

collect / raise / undertake / boycott

Charities run campaigns to ……….. money

I’m going to ……….. shops that treat their staff poorly

Scientists need to ……. further research into the Corona Virus

There is little recycling, if any, in Vietnam. We need to ……… awareness of the importance to the planet.

ART

Giving opinions – remember, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer; the exercise is to help you express what YOU feel when you see these works of art.

Expressions:

It’s not my cup of tea // it doesn’t appeal to me // I just don’t get // I see no artistic value // I have no time for it.

OR … positive:

It’s very uplifting // the picture speaks to me // I’m drawn to the image // it is ineffable (unable to be expressed in words) // it transcends language.

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John Constable 1821
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Wyndham Lewis 1921
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Jean-Michel Basquet 1980s
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Ancient Egyptian art

NOW – a curious point … how can a civilisation that can construct these:

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only represent the human form like this:

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How perfect are the Pyramids ?

“The builders of the Great Pyramid of Khufu aligned the great monument to the cardinal points with an accuracy of better than four minutes of arc, or one-fifteenth of one degree,” Glen Dash, an engineer who studies the Giza pyramids, wrote in a paper published recently in The Journal of Ancient Egyptian Architecture … ” https://www.livescience.com/61799-great-pyramid-near-perfect-alignment.html

Now, take a look at his ariel view, showing the layout:

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At this juncture, let’s take a little diversion, from ancient Egypt to ancient Greece.

The night sky has 88 constellations, many named after characters or creatures from Greek mythology. I’d like to focus on one, the giant hunter Orion. This is his constellation, and is one of the more easier groups to see, especially at this time of year:

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These random stars (which may in fact be many millions of light years apart) were seen by the Greeks thus:

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You see the hunter with his bow and arrow, but I wish to draw your attention to the three stars arranged diagonally in the centre, the ‘belt’ of the hunter. Compare those with the arrangement of the Egyptian pyramids:

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Image result for orion constellation and pyramids

How would you account for this ? Coincidence or conspiracy ?

Let’s leave the last word to our National Poet, William Shakespeare, with this famous quote from Hamlet:

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Adult Professionals. Mechanics, Part 3

7th February 2020

Contents

Architecture: Arabia / The Middle East // Chicago Willis Tower

The Concorde

Entropy

Friction

Famous scientists: Nikola Tesla

Project: make a presentation about your favourite scientist.

Architecture

Arabia / The Middle East

Burj Khalifa

Work in pairs: https://www.365tickets.com.au/burj-khalifa-dubai

Tell me about the Burj Khalifa – the facts; what you can see and do, and practical information

Prepare an information sheet for a guest – be careful to read the website carefully.

Chicago

TowerByNumbers

The Willis Tower: Why doesn’t it fall over ?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjhM7Z5YPGg

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The Concorde

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What do you know about this commercial supersonic plane ?

This video is quite long (10 minutes+) but has lots of engineering terms and everyday expressions.

Fortunately, it also utilises subtitles which seem quite accurate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_wuykzfFzE

Write down any words you don’t know – watch the video in short stages, then you can watch at home at your leisure.

The Concorde stopped: why ? What reasons can you suggest ?

Science: Entropy

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Entropy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YM-uykVfq_E

The video contains some good expressions.

Famous Scientists

If I say ‘Tesla’, what do you think of ?

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ty1Fk0JZfQk

Project:

Make a presentation about your favourite scientist or science writer.

Feel free to use slides, pictures, diagrams.

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Shinkansen

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Bullet Train – top ten facts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4CD1vErEQQ

This is as much as listening exercise, as an engineering one. How much can you understand ?Which presenter is easier to understand, the young lady or the man from USA ?

Engineering terms

Match the term to the definition:

friction: the product of a body’s mass and its velocity

compression: not of natural origin; prepared or made artificially

momentum: the resistance when a body is moved in contact with another

synthetic: an increase in the density of something

What is ‘friction’ ?

Friction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_24FBNa788&index=4&list=PL3qtH4RtP-D1xazLKdUeN7QExjbeuCH1n

Listen out for ‘thus’ / exert a force / kinetic (UK pronunciation) / 

Rephrase (put it in your own words):

  • what is friction ? 
  • How is it caused ? 
  • What types of friction are there ? 
  • What are the three types of dynamic friction
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Adult Professionals: Architecture and engineering

7th January 2020

Architecture in history

Gothic Architecture

The Gothic style of architecture first emerged in Northern France during the 12th century. In engineering terms, it was a major step forward from the Romanesque style that had dominated European architecture up to that time. It allowed people to construct cathedrals, churches and other buildings on a scale that dwarfed anything that had gone before. The technological superiority of the Gothic approach was the result of three engineering breakthroughs: the pointed arch, the ribbed vault and the flying buttress.

The pointed arch offers benefits in terms of structural engineering: A greater proportion of the weight above thearch is channeled down into the ground, instead of exerting a sideways force: https://www.theclassroom.com/engineering-breakthroughs-gothic-architecture-12682.html

Ribbed Vault

The stone ceilings of Romanesque buildings were heavy and inefficient, and placed severe limitations on the size of buildings that could be constructed. The situation changed dramatically with the advent of the Gothic style.

One of the greatest innovations was the flying buttress. This system allowed builders to construct soaring cathedrals with massive interior spaces, while allowing walls to exhibit expansive stained glass windows. 

The engineering innovations of pointed arches, ribbed vaults and flying buttresses meant such buildings could be the longest, widest and tallest of their day.

Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris. An example of the Gothic style. Note the flying buttresses.

Fillipo Brunelleschi (1377 – April 15, 1446)

Early in his career as an architect, Brunelleshi came forward as a mover and a shaker. He discovered, or rather, rediscovered the lost Greek and Roman rules of perspective, such as the principle of having a single vanishing point. His (re)discovery of these rules had a profound influence on the artists of his time

In 1420, the church awarded Brunelleschi the commission to design a dome to top the Florence Cathedral, which had been left, for many years, with a 140″ diameter hole gaping atop. The problem was not a new one to the world of architecture; for decades architects had been trying to design the perfect dome to crown the Cathedral but had been defeated by the restrictive structural limitations inherentin the Cathedral’s design. Brunelleschi, managed to succeed, however, were all others had failed by 1446.

Brunelleschi’s dome for the Cathedral in Florence, Italy.

Mies van der Rohe, 1886 – 1969

Famous for his saying “less is more,” was one of the preeminent modernist architects, well known for pioneering the extensive use of glass in buildings. His works introduced a new level of simplicity and transparency, and his buildings were often referred to as “skin-and-bones” architecture for their emphasis on steel structure and glass enclosure.

Adult Class, level 3: The Russian Soul

3rd December for 4th December 2019 AEF 7B pp. 70 – 71

Tonight we focus on a reading, extrapolating information from a chunk of text, and listening. Additionally, there is a test which may occupy thirty minutes so we’ll need to hit the ground running (not so easy when students arrive at various times but it’s Viet Nam … what ya gonna do ?) … so let’s test their knowledge of Mother Russia:

Word Bomb: Russia – Famous people / cities / famous for / history / food / language / artists /

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Do they know this man ?

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Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Maybe they know this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cNQFB0TDfY

Because we have a lot of reading and comprehension, I want to create opportunities for speaking. Here is a short dialogue practice:

New vocabulary:

surprised // surprising

disappointed // a disappointment

confused // confusing

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This man is … ? Why ?

DIALOGUE


Excuse me, sorry to bother you but do you speak English ?

Yes, a little. Are you German ? Your accent sounds German, maybe Czech …

No, I’m Russian. My name is Anna. I come from Moscow and it is freezing.

I’m Tony. Pleased to meet you, Anna. What do you do ? (what is your job)

I’m a student, reading architecture. How about you ?

I’m a musician. I play piano, guitar, clarinet but mostly cello.

Wow, how interesting. Do you know any Russian music ? We have great composers.

I simply adore Tchaikovsky. Are you surprised ? However modern music is confusing.

Yes, I agree. I went to a concert but I was very disappointed. It was just tuneless noise !

What can the students tell me about this famous house:

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Then depending on the time remaining, we can choose some activities from this list: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/11/27/adult-class-level-3-games-without-frontiers/