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Teachers' Room > Lesson Library > Browse Library

Consumer Issues

Unsafe Swings
A European Union rule has forced a British parish council to close its playground swings which are used by hundreds of children a year. (Playgrounds and safety, children's games, prediction, reading for detail, comprehension, question words, discussion, nouns and adjectives, word find puzzle, group design project.)
Elementary
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T-Shirt Not So Peaceful
A lawyer was arrested and charged with trespassing at a public mall in the state of New York after refusing to take off a T-shirt advocating peace that he had just purchased at the mall. (Slogans on T-shirts, choose the best answer, complete the information, sequencing, true, false or not given, writing slogans, discussion, the prefix 'mis'.)
Intermediate
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Safe SUVs?
In a land where bigger is usually thought of as better, Americans love their sports utility vehicles and they are not going to give them up. (SUVs, fuel consumption, talking about cars, prediction, scanning, true or false, reading for detail, suffixes, discussion, matching sentence beginnings and endings, sell a car information transfer activity.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Don't Be Alarmed!
Police in Los Angeles have settled on a new way of handling those pesky burglar alarms that take up so much of their time. They will now ignore them -- unless someone can prove that there is a genuine emergency. (Crimes, burglary, predicting from the headline, guessing words from context, comprehension, true or false, summarizing, the present perfect simple, vocabulary: robbery, theft, burglary, giving an opinion in speaking and writing.)
Intermediate
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Traffic Fine
An Austrian woman has begun a 500-day jail sentence for ignoring parking tickets and a woman in Glasgow, Scotland is one of the world's worst parking offenders. (Parking and rules, bizarre stories, infinitive of purpose.)
Elementary
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Germans Lose Shirts Over Taxes
Angry Germans who think Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder wants to tear the shirts off their backs with his plans to raise taxes have decided to spare him the trouble. His office is being deluged with old shirts. (Tax increases and protests, comprehension, true, false or not given, thinking carefully, main idea, the past perfect tense, discussion.)
Intermediate
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Signing a Petition
A baby elephant in Germany has signed a petition to protect wild elephants around the world, an environmental protection group says. (Ivory trade and elephants, ranking, predicting, writing questions, guessing the meanings of words in context, true or false, verb forms, short talks, describing an animal.)
Intermediate
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Australians Slip Slop Slap
Helen Lawton-French remembers her childhood in Australia as a haze of sunshine, with weekends spent basking in the sun to get the perfect tan. But 20 years later, she's paying the price for her years of sun worship, joining the 280,000 Australians diagnosed with skin cancer each year. (Skin cancer and ways to avoid it, fill the gaps, matching information, true or false, reading for detail, listening and ordering information, prepositions, role play.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Never Too Late
A 92-year-old Australian woman has become the nation's oldest first-time home buyer after getting a housing loan she does not have to pay off for another 30 years. (First home buyers, banking and housing vocabulary, discussion, predicting, gap fill, true or false, reading for information, 'have to' / 'don't have to', pair crossword, group discussion.)
Intermediate
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Lawyers Want Government Jobs
Today, the Enron and WorldCom stories have transformed corporate crime fighting into a top choice for law students who, only two years ago, might have looked down their noses at a career in government. (Legal graduates and government law, listening comprehension, discussing pros and cons, true, false or not given, comprehension, completing statements, verbs that take the infinitive, role play.)
Advanced
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I'm From Got Milk?
Biggs, California is not "Got Milk?"... After a week which saw the small community catapulted into the international spotlight after it considered changing its name to "Got Milk?" to mark the 10th anniversary of a milk marketing campaign, city elders turned down the proposal. (Changing the name of a town for marketing purposes, listening gap fill, scanning, checking for details, true or false, meanings from context, direct and reported speech, discussion.)
Intermediate
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TV Violence
Watching lots of violence on television and playing violent video games not only makes kids more physically aggressive, it makes them meaner and more distrustful, researchers said. (Effect of television and video game violence on young viewers, survey, writing a headline, comprehension, completing a table, vocabulary, prepositions, making rules for TV watching, evaluating different TV shows or computer games, interviews.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Gum Law May Change
Chewing gum has been banned in Singapore since 1992. The law said that Singaporeans could not import, sell or make it. But now Singapore may change the law. (Chewing gum ban in Singapore, understanding the main idea, comprehension, true or false, matching ideas with pictures, discussion, group project imperatives.)
Elementary
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Pregnant Advice
Children of women who drank while pregnant show the effects as long as 14 years later in the form of stunted growth, US researchers said. (Effects of alcohol on physical development of fetuses, brainstorming, predicting from a headline, matching information, true or false, scanning, complete the sentences, role play, summarizing.)
Intermediate to Upper-Intermediate
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Inventing the Future
Three years ago, few people stopped to consider that a $70 or $80 monthly charge might deter the typical American consumer from buying online music, video and games. The actual product being peddled was broadband Internet access, and it was supposed to be an easy sell at any price. (Broadband access and the fate of companies promoting it, making predictions, understanding the main idea, true or false, comprehension, inventions through history, prepositions, discussion.)
Advanced
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Free To Speed
A computer game company's offer to pay the speeding fines of all British drivers as part of an advertising promotion for a new motor racing game has been branded irresponsible and dangerous by the government. (Dangerous driving and speeding, scanning, true or false, direct and reported speech, the prefix 'ir-', discussion, writing a radio advertisement.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Do You Want To Save The Planet?
Some campaigners insisted on going overland to Marrakesh's U.N. conference on climate change, not because they are scared of flying, but because they are worried about what airplanes do to the planet. (Airplane emissions and their effect on the environment, avoiding flying because of environmental impact, discussion, true, false or not given, prepositions 'by' and 'or' and methods of travel, dialogue, fluency practice, crossword - environmental words.)
Intermediate
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Redheads Feel More Pain
Redheads may actually have another trait that makes them stand out - sensitivity to pain, specialists reported. (Redheads, pain and anesthesia, discussion, gap fill, true or false, matching statements, reference words, comprehension, word families.)
Upper-Intermediate to Advanced
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Shopping Switch
Employers beware: Fruitless weekend shopping trips into stores this shortened holiday shopping season may mean less is getting done back at the office as many workers flock to the Web in search of bargains. (Internet shopping and shopping trends, matching information, gap fill, comprehension, check your understanding, discussion, 'in fact', 'in most cases' and 'for example'.)
Intermediate
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Checking Up on Supplies
The counting of toilet roll paper was successful for a British worker who won his employer thousands of pounds in compensation after he discovered that some rolls were not as long as they should be. (Consumer issues, information recall and exchange, working in pairs to reconstruct main points of a text, comprehension, too + adverb or adjective, word find puzzle, discussion and research activity.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Too Much TV Bad For Kids?
Kids who spend more time watching TV--regardless of the content of the programming--are more likely to behave aggressively and have other types of social problems, a study has found. (Television watching and children, True, False or Not Given, writing questions, main idea, past simple, role-play, crossword.)
Upper-Intermediate
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New Stoves Could Mark End of Indoor Cooking Fires
Eritrea is hoping a new stove design will do its part to fight the deforestation and lung problems caused by cooking fires used by an estimated 2.5 billion people in the developing world. (Scanning, choosing the best headline, completing the table of information, matching sentences, crossword, finding grammatical errors.)
Upper-Intermediate to Advanced
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Alive or Dead?
An Austrian woman has had to convince her electricity supplier that she is alive after the company wrote to her asking for information about her contract following her "passing away." (Clerical errors and bureaucracy, reading for overall understanding, reading for details, sequencing, adding extra information to sentences, crossword.)
Intermediate
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eBay Watch
Few would question that auction enterprise eBay has become one of the most important companies on the Internet. But what was it about eBay that not only allowed it to survive, but thrive in a nascent industry where success became the exception rather than the rule? (The auction website eBay, guessing words from context, sequencing, role play, discussion, spot the mistake - grammatical errors.)
Advanced
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No More Recorders!
The humble recorder, played by generations of schoolchildren, has received an unwelcome blow when researchers revealed the average child hates it. (The recorder and other musical instruments, musical preferences, finding the main idea, synonyms, writing questions, expository essays, role play--making excuses, finding grammatical mistakes.)
Intermediate
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Get the Most out of your E-mails
When it comes to sending e-mails, the personal touch is best because the more people the message is copied to, the less likely the recipients will reply. (E-mails and communication, understanding the main idea, scanning, guessing unfamiliar words, sequencing, a / an, analogies, discussion and problem solving.)
Upper-Intermediate
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The Cost of Tying the Knot
New York is the most expensive city in the United States to get married and many couples will spend about $27,000 to tie the knot and that doesn't include the cost of the honeymoon. (Cost of a wedding, planning a wedding, finding the main idea, summarizing, find someone who..., persuasive essays.)
Intermediate
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Inauthentic Parmesan?
Italy has liberally sprinkled praise on a decision by Europe's highest court barring cheap imitations of Parmesan cheese. (Copies of products, Parmesan cheese, understanding the meaning, comprehension, guessing meanings of words by context, figurative language, discussion.)
Upper-Intermediate
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The Fuss About Fugu
One of Japan's most famous fish dinners could be a date with death. A meal of fugu, a poisonous blowfish, is famous throughout Japan. (Unusual meals, Japanese restaurants, scanning, matching information, true, false or not given, text organization, interviews, discussion, role play and word forms.)
Advanced
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The Things They Get Up To In Europe
Europeans may love their television remote controls but most still don't use computers, a new poll showed. (Comparison of habits of Europeans (television, reading, computer use and music), map reading, pronunciation of names of countries and nationalities, conducting a survey, the word 'only'.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Europeans Get Slim
Guilt-ridden Europeans hoping to squeeze themselves into last year's swimsuits will spend a total of 96 billion euros (US$90.1 billion) annually on dieting products by 2006. (Dieting, scanning, true, false and not mentioned, summarizing, linking words: although, but, despite.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Sun-Protected Students
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released new guidelines urging schools to try to protect children from excess sunlight to help prevent skin cancer later on in life. (The danger of the sun, scanning, use of the pattern 'urge + object + to + infinitive.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Lottery Court Case
A Canadian care worker who bought a lottery ticket that won C$11.4 million ($7.2 million) won't pocket a penny. She bought the ticket for an elderly client with whom, she said, she had a verbal agreement to share the jackpot if the ticket was a winner, but the client said she had made no such deal. The disagreement ended up in court. (Gambling, agreements, sharing, court cases, headlines, sequencing, use of superlative structure "One of the _____-est".)
Intermediate
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'Drink of the Gods'
Growing health concerns about kava have thrown a spanner in South Pacific plans to turn it into a big export crop, straining already frail island economies. Vanuatu's Finance Minister, Joe Baumol Carlo, said adverse medical reports were not the fault of kava, but of the derivatives added by pharmaceutical companies. (Herbal medicines, health, natural remedies, kava, trade, business, government controls on drugs, prepositions.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Wake Up, Doc!
Lack of sleep may make less-experienced doctors more likely to make mistakes, according to UK researchers. (Sleep, health, doctors, confidence, writing questions, doing a survey, using comparative sentence structures.)
Intermediate
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Caged In
A popular Indian film actor crammed himself into a tiny cage and asked for compassion for chickens as part of a "Compassion, Not Cages - Go Veg!" campaign by an international animal rights group. (Animal rights, vegetarians, protest, farming, 'so' linking two clauses.)
Elementary to Pre-Intermediate
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In Love With My Car
A survey of drivers in the U.S. found that 63 percent actually talked to their cars, 43 percent said they considered their cars to be "part of the family," and 12 percent said they valued their cars more than anything else in their lives, including their children or their home. (Cars, automobiles, possessions, surveys, comparative language using 'more than' and 'less / fewer than'.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Finnish Grapes
Grapes will soon ripen for wine production in Finland using warm water from a nuclear reactor cooling system. (Technology, farming, dictionary work, using 'will' to talk about a future fact.)
Elementary
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What You Read is What You Get
A London real estate agency believes in telling it like it is in its advertisements, for example: "Almost certainly the scruffiest two-bedroom flat we've seen for a long time." (Real estate ads, honesty in descriptions, euphemisms, writing descriptions of houses, adjectives, adjective order, describing things in positive and negative ways.)
Upper-Intermediate
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What's This in My Yogurt?
Fifty tubs of fake yogurt containing sensors will be hidden in French supermarkets to test the efficiency of cold storage in the distribution system. A break in the "cold chain" -- the non-stop refrigeration needed to preserve food such as dairy, meat, fish and frozen dishes -- can heighten the risk of bacteria such as listeria which can cause an uncommon but potentially fatal disease. (Bacteria, health, food storage, "will" + infinitive used about official arrangements in the future.)
Upper-Intermediate
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A Nightmare Dream Holiday
A contest to win a dream holiday for two people turned into a tax nightmare for a Swedish student. (Income tax, dialogue, past simple and past continuous.)
Elementary
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Meet You At The Mall
Max tells us the history of the word "Mall" in "Shopping Mall".
Intermediate
HTML Format
Turkeys Galore
Each Thanksgiving, Americans eat about 535 million pounds of turkey, and a turkey-cooking hotline gives advice to people with problems a trucker who needed to know how long to cook a turkey on the engine of his truck, and a Kentucky woman who panicked when her tiny chihuahua jumped inside a turkey carcass and couldn't get out. (Thanksgiving, holidays and festivals, synonyms, apostrophes, use of 'although' and 'even though'.)
Intermediate to Upper-Intermediate
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Disposable?
A Dutch city has started recycling the disposable diapers of its youngest citizens. (The environment, recycling, diapers, nappies, essay writing, writing a letter of complaint, verb plus the infinitive or the '-ing' form.)
Intermediate
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Put a cork in it?
Portuguese cork producers are worried that more and more wine bottles will use plastic seals. At stake, they say, is not only a billion-dollar industry but the mainstay of many farmers in Portugal's south, where ancient cork trees also prevent desertification and are a refuge for bird life. (Business, the environment, Portugal, the present perfect, for and since.)
Advanced
Instant Workbook HTML Format
Purple Ketchup in Bid for Kids
Ketchup maker H.J. Heinz Co. is making purple ketchup to appeal to children. (Business, colors, the passive.)
Pre-Intermediate
HTML Format
Smokers Denied Transplants
Surgeons at the Alfred Hospital in Australia are demanding that smokers stop the habit before undergoing major heart and lung surgery. The reported ban has raised a storm of controversy in Australia.  (Health, ethics, smoking, responsibility, 'verb+that+clause sentences')
Upper-Intermediate
HTML Format
Playground Safety
When it comes to safety, sand appears to be a better playground surface than grass--even though you may be left cleaning it out of every crack and crevice of your youngster for days after a trip to the playground. (safety, children, swings, injuries, 'during' or 'while')
Intermediate
HTML Format
Hospital Or Home
A lot of assumptions have been made about what older people's preferences are for health care, and according to this lesson, these may be wrong(Old age, health care, death, illness, 'prefer', 'would prefer' and 'preference')
Upper-Intermediate
HTML Format
Environmentally Friendly
Are you being confused and misled by the hodge-podge of environmental claims made by household products. You are not alone and help is at hand. Read on. (Product labels, clean green, consumer issues, active and passive verbs)
Upper-Intermediate
HTML Format
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