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Ask a stupid question day

Course: Weekly lessons, Unit: In the news

  • 65 mins
  • In class
  • Reading
  • B1, B2


Learning goals:

  • Understand and respond to the content and language of an authentic article on science questions
  • Be able to ask questions on a range of topics
  • Be able to think creatively and methodically to discover new knowledge

Published by

EF Education First


Success criteria:

  • Identify the main ideas in an authentic article on science questions
  • Identify the correct definitions and formality levels of vocabulary based on their use in the article
  • Correctly answer questions about details from the article
  • Share a question and an approach to answering it with the class

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Activities (13)

Introduction

Introduction

Recommendations

  • 2 mins
  • Class
  • Core activity
  • Discussion


Student instructions

No instructions


Teacher notes

No teacher notes

 

Warm up

Warm up

Recommendations

  • 4 mins
  • Pair, Group, Class
  • Core activity
  • Discussion


Student instructions

Discuss the questions.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to introduce the topic of stupid questions.
Suggested answers
1. Students' answers will vary according to their own opinions.
2. Students may think back to a time when they were younger, and asked a question that in hindsight seems silly or childish. Many questions are also thought of as stupid because they contain the answer within them, e.g. 'Who wrote Beethoven's third symphony?'
3. This day was created by teachers to encourage students to ask more questions in class. The idea is that you can ask anything without the fear of being laughed at.

 

Lead in

Lead in

Recommendations

  • 5 mins
  • Pair, Group, Class
  • Core activity
  • Discussion


Student instructions

Look at the list of 'Stupid questions' then answer the discussion questions with a partner.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to activate knowledge of the topic of the article that students will look at in Read, and predict some of its content.
In feedback, discuss a few different responses to Question 3 with the whole class, asking which answers seem more likely.

 

Read: Main ideas

Read: Main ideas

Recommendations

  • 5 mins
  • Individual, Pair, Class
  • Core activity
  • Text entry, model


Student instructions

Scan the article to find the answers to the questions. Then write one sentence to answer each question.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to understand the main ideas in an authentic article about answering science questions. Encourage students to use their own words, but their answers need not be very detailed. However, for Questions 2-4, they should say more than simply 'yes' or 'no'.

 

Language 1

Language 1

Recommendations

  • 5 mins
  • Individual, Pair, Class
  • Core activity
  • Matching, closed


Student instructions

No instructions


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to check understanding of key vocabulary relating to science from the article.

Language notes
.Turn outand there's no doubt are often followed by that + clause, as in the article.
. Likely and logical can also be followed by that + clause, preceded by It is, e.g. 'It's likely that this question will never be answered'.
. On top of all this is used when the list of things previously mentioned already seems excessive.

 

Language 2

Language 2

Recommendations

  • 4 mins
  • Individual, Pair
  • Support
  • Categorization, closed


Student instructions

Think about the formality level of the key language in the article, then put the words and phrases into the correct categories.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to clarify the register of key vocabulary from the article. The activity includes words from the previous Language 1 activity along with additional words and phrases that students should already know.
Extension

 

Practice

Practice

Recommendations

  • 8 mins
  • Individual, Pair, Group
  • Challenge
  • Gap fill, closed


Student instructions

Complete the science questions with the correct word or phrase. Then choose one question to discuss and check your ideas by watching the relevant video. Explain your video to another student. You do not need to use all the words.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to complete a series of science questions with vocabulary from the Language activities.
If students do not remember the viral image #TheDress, allow them to look it up.

 

Read: Comprehend

Read: Comprehend

Recommendations

  • 8 mins
  • Individual, Pair, Class
  • Core activity
  • Multiple choice, closed


Student instructions

Read the article again and answer the questions.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to check understanding of details from the article. It will also prepare students for the Respond activity.
You may have to point out to students that Question 8 does not really check understanding of the article. Instead, it tests students' general knowledge of the scientific approach. Following completion, hold a brief class discussion on what they know about this. Elicit or highlight the following simplified steps:

 

Respond

Respond

Recommendations

  • 12 mins
  • Group
  • Core activity
  • Writing, open


Student instructions

No instructions


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is for students to apply a principled and methodical approach to asking and answering questions, albeit in a light context.
Groups who struggle to think of a suitable question can choose from the examples, but ensure groups choose different questions. Then have groups share their ideas after they have finished taking notes. Once students are finished, they could vote on the most interesting question or experiment.
Make sure that students avoid ridiculous questions like 'Why do meteors always land in craters?'

 

Follow up

Follow up

Recommendations

  • 7 mins
  • Group, Class
  • Challenge activity
  • Discussion


Student instructions

Discuss the questions.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to explore further the value of asking questions, even if they seem silly at first.

 

Exit ticket

Exit ticket

Recommendations

  • 5 mins
  • Individual
  • Core activity
  • Text entry, open


Student instructions

No instructions


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is for students to reflect on what they learned in the lesson, questions they still have, and what they found difficult.

 
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