Train kept a-rollin’: Train videos for listening and vocabulary.

12th September 2020

A compilation of train-related videos to help you improve your listening skills and to increase your vocabulary.

Contents:

Trans-Siberian Railway:

Listening skills. Native and non-native speakers talking in English. English subtitles.

Shinkansen – 10 cool facts:

Listening to native and non-native speakers.

High-speed trains in China:

Listening skills. English pronunciation & vocabulary.

London Tube at rush hour:

A glimpse of London life.

Why trains can’t go uphill:

Listening skills. English pronunciation. Science vocabulary.

Kindergarten song – Choo Choo Train

Vocabulary for very young learners.

Travelling – The Trans-Siberian Railway

Write down new expressions / vocabulary.

Do you understand the gist (the main points / keywords)

Would this appeal to you ? Why or why not ?

What would you need to bring ?

Shinkansen: Bullet Train – top ten facts:

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 ?

High-speed trains in China:

London Tube at rush hour:

James May – why can’t trains go uphills ?

What do you think of James’ pronunciation – can you understand all ? Try to copy him.

What is the problem with trains and going up gradients ?

What do they struggle to do ?

What are the scientific reasons for this ?

Image result for steepest railroad in uk

What was the problem with James May speaking ?

James normally speaks quite clearly, but there were problems. This was due, I feel, to the speed and the amount of language. Look at this conversation analysis: (0. 10 – 0.42):

“And now, ‘Why can’t trains go uphills ?’ Well, the smarter ones amongst you will have recognised already, especially if you’re a qualified railway engineer, this is a bit of a trick question because of course, train can go uphills … they’re just not very good at it.

If you think about the topography of most of the world, this is clearly a bit of a problem. Human being can, albeit rather sweatily, motivate themselves up a gradient of around eighty degrees, or one in a quarter.”

Listen again– hear how James:

  • links words
  • uses expressions (bit of a)
  • adds addition information / commentary in supporting clauses. 
  • Creative use of adverbs – ‘sweatily’ shows how words can be made into adverbs by adding –ly to the end

Think – does James need to add the clauses ? What is the purpose ? Consider the medium (TV, internet, blog etc) and the target audience.

James is speaking to a fluent, English-speaking audience, probably native speakers, or people who have lived in the UK for a long time. Therefore, they will be more used to this natural way of speaking.

This is why I recommend student put their text books down and read real English books, watch English-speaking films and TV shows and sing English songs. It really helps.

He does make allowances for non-British audiences by showing two fifty-pence coins, but his language isn’t downgraded.

Kindergarten song – Choo Choo Train:

Adult Professionals: Mechanics, Part 2

23rd January 2020

Various exercises and features aimed at science professionals, mechanics and engineers.

Contents

Engineering fails

Heat transfer

The internal combustion engine

Reading exercises: condensing text, looking for relevant information.

Turbulence

Engineering fails

Engineering fails – bad engineering decisions and designs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPhVZExcGXg

Image result for bad engineering
Image result for bad engineering

Heat transfer

These are three methods of heat transfer.

Explain what is happening in each case (situation).

What method is used by:

The sun

An air-conditioner / radiator

Heating water in a can by fire.

The internal combustion engine

Image result for internal combustion engine

How does a car engine work ? Watch this video and then explain: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKF5dKo_r_Y

Vocabulary / jargon / engineering terms:

crankshaft piston / piston rods / valves / cam shaft / timing belt

tension pulley / idler pulley / momentum

What does four stroke mean ? What does crank to camshaft ratio mean ?

What are spark plugs used for ? What stops the crankshaft stopping ?

How is this different from a diesel engine ?

Starting an old car

From ‘Top Gear’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWTcPdYfsAc

Why is it hard to start these early cars ? Where was this car made ?

New vocabulary: 

particular / original / hill-start / rapidly / brutality / you what ? 

Image result for earliest car

Firstly, a look at some vintage cars:

According to the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, United Kingdom, the definition for each category is the following:

Veteran– officially a car made up to and including December 1918.

Vintage– officially a car made between 1919 and 1930. Although, the term is often used to describe any car made before World War II.

Classic– generally any car that is no longer in production that is still popular. For classic car events organised by the Motor Sports Association (MSA) eligibility is set at 20 years. Generally this term is applied to cars from the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. However, no definition is universal.

Turbulence

When I flew from London to Sai Gon, I experienced light turbulence: https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/turbulence-air-travel-1.3385566

There is some great new vocabulary in this article, as well as expressions and collocations (‘potentially dangerous’ / ‘do their best’).

What are the causes ? Can turbulence be predicted ? How do air-traffic controllers gather information ? 

Reading exercise

Selecting important information

We want to condensethis article so we only need the main facts:

This is about the British engineer Isabard Kingdom Brunel

Image result for i k brunel

Isambard Kingdom BrunelFRS(/ˈɪzəmbɑːrd bruːˈnɛl/; 9 April 1806– 15 September 1859), was an English mechanical and civil engineerwho is considered “one of the most ingenious and prolific figures in engineering history”,”one of the 19th-century engineering giants”,and “one of the greatest figures of the Industrial Revolution, [who] changed the face of the English landscape with his groundbreaking designs and ingenious constructions”.Brunel built dockyards, the Great Western Railway, a series of steamships including the first propeller-driven transatlantic steamship, and numerous important bridges and tunnels. His designs revolutionised public transport and modern engineering.

Though Brunel’s projects were not always successful, they often contained innovative solutions to long-standing engineering problems. During his career, Brunel achieved many engineering firsts, including assisting in the building of the first tunnel under a navigable river and development of SS Great Britain, the first propeller-driven, ocean-going, iron ship, which, when built in 1843, was the largest ship ever built.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859), was an English engineer who is regarded as a major figure in engineering history. His designs, which were considered ground-breaking and ingenious, included bridges and tunnels, railways and ships.

Despite some engineering fails, he was an innovator and achieved many firsts in enginnering. His ship, the SS Great Britain (1843), was the largest ship of its time.

Now, your turn:

Landmark 81

How to look for important information. Read this Wikipedia entry and re-write in just 3 or 4 sentences, inclusing only the most important information.

Landmark 81 is a super-tall skyscraper in Ho Chi Minh CityVietnam, that was designed by the British design, engineering and consulting firm Atkins.The investor and primary developer for the project is Vingroup, a Vietnamese corporation that is also the country’s largest real-estate company. Landmark 81 is the tallest building in Vietnamthe tallest completed building in Southeast Asia as of July, 2018 and the 14th tallest building in the world.

The 461.5 metres (1,514 ft) tall, 81-storey building is built on the western banks of the Saigon River in the city’s Binh Thanh District, located just north of Ho Chi Minh City’s historic center and to the immediate south of Saigon Bridge. The tower is at the heart of the $1.5 billion high-end mixed-use urban area called Vinhomes Central Park, and was scheduled to be inaugurated in July 2018. The development comprises hotel and conference facilities, luxury apartments, high-end retail spaces, restaurants, bars, and a multi-story observation deck at the tower’s crown.

Image result for landmark 81

Young Learners, Level 4: “Can you hear me, Major Tom ?”

15th November for Saturday 16th November 2019 E Up 4 U7 L4 (edited from June 8th 2019)

RIP David Bowie: Best Tribute Quotes & Memes | Heavy.com | Page 2

Today’s lesson is about space, astronauts and basic science. It is a mighty theme and so, to paraphrase Melville, we need a mighty beginning … for cinema fans, there really is no other choice … the opening of Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’.

So what do the students know about the solar system ? I’ll let them tell me, after boarding some key words:

solar system

planet (Earth, gas giant, rock)

moon (the Moon)

star

asteroid

vacuum

I’ll put a flash card of planet Earth on the board, towards the right-hand side. The students can them fill in the gaps … what planets do they know ? How big is the sun relative to the planets ? What exactly is the sun ? Where does light come from in space ? What exists in space ? 

FUN FACTS:

The speed of sound is 343 metres per second (usually given as 330 m p s)

The speed of light is 299 792 458 metres per second or approximately 300 000 000 m p s or 300 000 km per second.

Sound cannot travel through a vacuum

To demonstrate the last point, show NOT tell; here’s a good example (start around the 0:24 second mark): An iPhone not making sound in a vacuum.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrU9LouWY18&t=24s

Group work: Would you like to go to space ?

What would be the pros and cons ? In small groups, discuss the question, trying to use some of the recent vocabulary.

Song time: A British classic, and the first hit for David Bowie, an artist with a deep connection with space. This video has lyrics, but how many words can they recognise ? They can shout them out as they hear them.

‘Space Oddity’; lyrics start around the 0:30 second mark

Board any new words or phrases such as ignition / made the grade / peculiar /

Runaround

This is based on the UK children’s show from the 1970s. The class will be split into small groups. One member from each has to stand in front of the board. I will read a question and then give three answers. The students have to run to the correct number. They then have three seconds to change their minds.

Who was the first man on the moon ? Buzz Aldrin / Michael Collins / Neil Armstrong

What is the biggest planet ? Jupiter / Saturn / Mars

The sun is a: planet / star / moon

What is faster ? light / sound / Ms Bao Tran speaking (just give the name of any talkative students, and then elicit the adjective talkative).

In space, people are: heavier / lighter / weigh the same ?

The first animal in space was a: monkey / elephant / dog

(Last one could seem to be a trick question. The answer is Laika, the Russian dog. Monkeys were first put into rockets but they didn’t go high enough to officially enter space).

Bookwork. Today there is a fair amount of reading. I’ll use the passages to show a little grammar, introduce the students to adverbs.

The princess was very beautiful (very = adverb, beautiful is an adjective)

Here, the adverb ‘very‘ goes before the adjective. For concept checking (do the students understand and can use this formula ?) some quick questions:

Correct these sentences:

The very student was clever 

Laika, the dog, was scared very 

Very David talented is

During the reading, I’ll be asking the students to point out the adjectives and adverbs in the short pieces of text.

Then the students complete a workbook with more concept checking exercises. Those who are fast finishers, rising stars, will get a worksheet, a word-search and comprehension questions about space. Then it’s back down to Earth … and next week the subject is …

Image result for cliff summer holiday

Young Learners, Level 4: “Can you hear me, Major Tom ?”

6th June for Saturday 8th June 2019. Everybody Up 4. Unit 7

Today’s lesson is a cross-curicumlum class about space, astronauts and basic science. It is a mighty theme and so, to paraphrase Melville, we need a mighty beginning … for cinema fans, there really is no other choice … the opening of Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-QFj59PON4

So what do the students know about the solar system ? I’ll let them tell me, after boarding some key words:

solar system

planet (Earth, gas giant, rock)

moon (the Moon)

star

asteroid

vacuum

I’ll put a flash card of planet Earth on the board, towards the right-hand side. The students can them fill in the gaps … what planets do they know ? How big is the sun relative to the planets ? What exactly is the sun ? Where does light come from in space ? What exists in space ?

FUN FACTS:

The speed of sound is 343 metres per second (usually given as 330 m p s)

The speed of light is 299 792 458 metres per second or approximately 300 000 000 m p s or 300 000 km per second.

Sound cannot travel through a vacuum

To demonstrate the last point, show NOT tell; here’s a good example (start around the 0:24 second mark): An iPhone not making sound in a vacuum.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrU9LouWY18&list=PL97HViQblvdEM3zsauRxnIg1baFTNmsDM&index=26&t=0s

Group work: Would you like to go to space ?

What would be the pros and cons ? In small groups, discuss the question, trying to use some of the recent vocabulary.

Song time: A British classic, and the first hit for David Bowie, an artist with a deep connection with space. This video has lyrics, but how many words can they recognise ? They can shout them out as they hear them.

‘Space Oddity’. Lyrics start around the 0:30 second mark

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_M3uw29U1U

Board any new words or phrases such as ignition / made the grade / peculiar /

Runaround

This is based on the UK children’s show from the 1970. The class will be split into small groups. One member from each has to stand in front of the board. I will read a question and then give three answers. The students have to run to the correct number. They then have three seconds to change their minds.

Who was the first man on the moon ? Buzz Aldrin / Michael Collins / Neil Armstrong

What is the biggest planet ? Jupiter / Saturn / Mars

The sun is a: planet / star / moon

What is faster ? light / sound / Mr Phuc speaking (just give the name of any talkative students, and then elicit the adjective talkative).

In space, people are: heavier / lighter / weigh the same ?

The first animal in space was a: monkey / elephant / dog

(Last one could seem to be a trick question. The answer is Laika, the Russian dog. Monkeys were first put into rockets but they didn’t go high enough to officially enter space).

Bookwork. Today there is a fair amount of reading. I’ll use the passages to show a little grammar, introduce the students to adverbs.

The princess was very beautiful (very = adverb, beautiful is an adjective)

Here, the adverb ‘very‘ goes before the adjective. For concept checking (do the students understand and can use this formula ?) some quick questions:

Correct these sentences:

The very student was clever

Laika, the dog, was scared very

Very David talented is

During the reading, I’ll be asking the students to point out the adjectives and adverbs in the short pieces of text.

Then the students complete a workbook with more concept checking exercises. Those who are fast finishers, rising stars, will get a worksheet, a word-search and comprehension questions about space. Then it’s back down to Earth … and preparing myself mentally for the challenging afternoon class.