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Teachers' Room > Lesson Library > Browse Library

Consumer Issues

Safer Cars For Pedestrians
Safety stickers required on new cars in 2007, energy-absorbing bumpers, pop-up engine covers and windshield air bags could soon be added, child-safety seat restraints for children much safer than ordinary seat belts in crashes. (Safety features for cars and pedestrian fatalities, jigsaw reading, zero, definite and indefinite articles, listening and gap fill.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Disappearing Fish
The world's fish and seafood populations will collapse by 2048 if current trends in habitat destruction and overfishing continue, resulting in less food for humans. In Japan fish is a cherished delicacy. Two articles that look at overfishing and the popularity of fish in Japan. (Depletion of fish stocks, conservation, eating seafood, survey, scanning, true or false, prepositions, brainstorming, first conditional.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Disney Magic in Hong Kong
Opened last September in Hong Kong, Disney's magic kingdom has failed to hit its full-year 5.6 million visitors attendance target. Disney has suffered a number of controversies, including a lockout of angry ticket holders during the crunch Lunar New Year holidays, and the public airing of grievances by its staff who complained of low wages and mistreatment. (Discussion, choosing the best headline, completing a table of information, brainstorming, definite and indefinite articles.)
Advanced
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The Answer Lies Online
Nearly half of U.S. users of the Internet went online for help with major life decisions such as finding a college for their child or looking for a new place to live. (Life decisions, Internet use, complete the table, choose the best summary, true, false or not given, language - proof reading, peer editing, writing an essay)
Upper-Intermediate
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How much is your love?
Love comes at a hefty price in South Korea. There are up to 21 anniversaries, special days and celebrations a year for couples to shower each other with affection and gifts, and as a result some relationships are crushed under the weight of festivities. (Festivals and special days, romance, South Korea, discussion, matching information, comprehension, present simple tense - uses.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Money Money Money
An Irish winner has won of Europe's biggest lottery prizes - 115 million euros ($139.2 million) in the EuroMillions jackpot. The woman has five children of whom the youngest two still live at the family home. Her youngest son, 13, cycled around telling excited friends he would like to buy a horse and go on holiday. (Lottery jackpots, unreal situations, second conditional, discussion, comprehension, giving an opinion, sequencing.)
Pre-Intermediate
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A Girl's Best Friend
For centuries diamonds have lured women up the aisle; in future they may drive them to work as engineers find a use for the precious stones in electric cars and other applications. Industry officials say the uses for diamonds are multiplying and advances in synthetic production have opened the floodgates to ever more innovative applications. (Diamonds, jewelry, industry, electric cars, comparing information, completing a table of information, matching names and definitions, passive.)
Advanced
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Food For Stairs
People who eat fruit, vegetables and dairy foods may not have problems with walking or climbing stairs when they are old. (Healthy diets, foods, old age, mobility, discussion, true or false, comprehension, possessive adjectives, questionnaire.)
Elementary
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Back in Fashion
"We want gold to be contemporary, something that is young and people want to possess, to wear," says Bobby Godsell, chief executive of South African mining house AngloGold Ashanti, which last year mined six million ounces of gold worth $2.6 billion (1.4 million pounds). Gold is claiming more of the traditional markets for objects of desire. (Gold, luxury items, making choices, predicting from the text, comprehension, cloze reading, understanding figures, persuading someone.)
Advanced
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Real Music by Real Musicians
Forget manufactured pop. After suffering a surfeit of Reality TV shows that propelled instantly forgettable stars into the charts, British music fans have had enough. Durability is the new buzzword as the British music business hands out its annual awards after a buoyant year. (Music trends, manufactured bands, popstars, make a choice, understanding the main idea, guessing words from context, presenting a summary, phrasal verbs, giving an opinion.)
Advanced
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Internet Exchange
For unwanted gifts from this holiday season, web bazaars like eBay have made the Great Gift Swap more popular than ever. (Gift giving, customs, What Would You Do? quiz - gifts, white lies, predicting from the headline, guessing meanings from context, scanning, true or false, Choose The Right Gift Game, jigsaw reading game, present perfect simple and present simple tenses.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Talking Digitoys
Toys are changing fast, not least because their vocabulary is increasing, fast! New toys have computing power that makes them completely different to toys of even 10 years ago. There's even a doll that can read! (Toys, computer chips, children's development, scanning, writing definitions, identifying viewpoints, summarizing, discussion.)
Advanced
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Football Flowers
A Canadian Football league player says he doesn't want more flowers. He missed a kick in a game. The Saskatchewan Roughriders did not make the Canadian Football League final because he missed the kick. Fans are sending him flowers. (Sport, football, obsessive fans, matching words and pictures, discussion, comprehension, understanding the main idea, ordering events, true or false, present continuous tense, sporting vocabulary.)
Elementary
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Doctors' Writing
Prescription medication errors kill thousands every year. Courses organised to teach doctors to write quickly and legibly have been tried, and now computers are being brought in to help. (Doctors, bad handwriting, computer records, greek and latin roots of words, tag questions, role play: conducting a doctor/patient consultation.)
Intermediate
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"Hello, is that Travel Dot Com?"
Online travel booking was meant to save businesses money, and make the whole process easy and painless. However, some problems have emerged, and business people are again reaching for the phone to make travel arrangements the old-fashioned way. (Business travel, online business, discussion, travel vocabulary, finding the main idea, sequencing, ranking and listing activity, Internet research.)
Upper-Intermediate
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A Healthy Diet?
A Mediterranean diet high in olive oil, nuts, fish and fresh fruits and vegetables may help prevent heart disease and strokes, says a large study from Spain. (Healthy diets, food vocabulary, reading for the main idea, scanning, true or false, crossword puzzle, What Is It?, countable and uncountable nouns game.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Safe Food
A plastic tag could soon stop people worrying about whether food has gone bad and isn't safe to eat. (Freshness of food and a new invention, vocabulary, discussion, comprehension, sequencing, true or false, the suffix -ness, word find puzzle, word order exercise and interview.)
Elementary
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Healthy Tea
A tea lover has released a book on throwing tea parties. A study of over 3,400 adults in Saudi Arabia - a country of tea-lovers - found that people who drank more than 6 cups of tea per day had a more than 50% lower risk of coronary heart disease compared to tea abstainers. (Benefits of drinking tea, survey, true or false, meanings in context, completing information, headlines, role play.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Coffee - A Complex Brew
Angela Holder does not swallow her coffee at work. In scenes redolent of a wine-tasting session, she slurps it, swishes it around her mouth and noisily spits it out. She 'cups' coffee. (Coffee tasting, coffee market, coffee, Make a choice Game, coffee knowledge quiz, reading for the main idea, multiple choice questions, reading about a process, Talking about coffee or tea Game, descriptive writing, finishing an ad.)
Advanced
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Delivering The Mail
This is about postalworkers who won't deliver the mail when it's too cold and postalworkers using scooters to deliver mail. (Transport, mail, jobs, addressing, France, Canada, the weather, the present simple, the present continuous.)
Elementary
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Survey Results 'Too Good'
When customers of utility company Southern California Edison were surveyed to get feedback, pollsters received answers expressing delight at the service received. But the objectivity of these results came under question when it was learned that employees had surveyed friends and family! (Customer surveys, utility companies, hacking, discussion, comprehension, sequencing, true, false or not given, passive, conditionals, listening for differences.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Children's Toys
Tamagotchi are back, more complex than ever, with an infrared communication function allowing them to visit each other and even reproduce! This lesson also looks and toys and toy issues, including the 2001 reaction of toy sellers to 9/11. (Christmas, birthdays, war toys, toys, present simple and present continous tenses, the present continuous used to talk about a current trend.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Fishy Milk?
Some landlocked Canadian cows are enjoying a little seafood with their hay and grain so they can produce a new kind of milk being touted for its benefits for the brain, eyes and nerves. (Modified foods, diet, fish, nutrition, discussion, comprehension, meanings in context, true or false, prepositions, design a poster, dialogue build.)
Intermediate
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Electronic Junk Mail
As the volume of email spam hits epidemic proportions, the makers of Internet security products are taking notice. (Email spam and anti-spam products, understanding the main idea, vocabulary work, multiple-choice questions, true or false, reading gap fill, dialogue share your opinion.)
Advanced
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Young Smokers Find A Way
Restrictions on the sale of tobacco to minors may be prompting more teenage smokers to steal cigarettes or get them from parents and older friends, according to a U.S. study of student smoking habits in Texas. (Minors and smoking, anti-tobacco laws, scanning, completing a table, matching figures with information, true or false, prepositions, describing increases and decreases, cloze listening, discussion.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Is Ecotourism Too Popular?
Ecotourism is taking its toll on wildlife and may be endangering the survival of the very animals people are flocking to see, according to researchers. (Ecotourism and its impact on wildlife, animal quiz, talking about animals, predicting, completing a table, check your understanding, true, false or not given, the present continuous, jigsaw reading, crossword.)
Intermediate
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All Gadgets In One
Dennis Nally used to travel with a cell phone, an electronic organizer and a laptop. These days, the chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers carries a tiny handheld device that does it all. (Multipurpose gadgets, technology, consumers, understanding the headline, text organization, finding information, completing a table, interview, crossword - adjectives, adjectives - -ed and -ing, Gadgets game - ordering instructions and writing instructions for using a machine.)
Advanced
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Not The Retiring Type
The oldest bank robber in the United States, a 92-year-old man, was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to robbing a Texas bank. He said he robbed his first bank when he was about 80 because he wanted revenge against banks for sending him into a financial crisis. (Bizarre stories, crime, banks, discussion, Find Your Other Half Vocabulary game, predicting, skimming, sequencing, question construction, phrasal verbs, read and draw.)
Intermediate
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Sleep for the Sick?
Patients who have complained they cannot get any rest in noisy hospitals have been vindicated with a report confirming that the racket on hospital wards can be as loud as a rock concert. (Hospitals, importance of sleep, noise levels, survey, ranking, predicting from the headline, completing a table, comprehension, arranging sentence parts, comparisons: as...as and not as....as, brainstorming.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Swaziland Crisis
Desperate HIV-positive Swazis are lining up in droves to try the latest "miracle AIDS cures", falling victim to patchy medical regulation in a country with one of the world's highest HIV infection rates. (HIV / AIDS, bogus 'wonder drugs', con artists, Swaziland, developing countries, brainstorming and problem solving, Find Your Other Half Game, placing headlines, matching information, scanning, differentiating fact from opinion, true or false, running dictation, discussion.)
Advanced
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Expensive Hotels
The new Mandarin Oriental hotel has a suite that costs US$12,595 a night - the most expensive hotel room in New York. (Hotels, predicting, gap fill, comprehension, multiple choice, true or false, discussion, agreement: has or have, numbers - dollars and cents.)
Elementary
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Traditional Chinese Medicine
Some Chinese remedies such as bird's nest, sheep placenta and caterpillar fungus may be a bit too exotic for the uninitiated but many traditional remedies are gaining popularity among Western consumers who seek natural ways to beat stress and boost their health. (Traditional Chinese medicine, predicting from the headline, finding information, completing a table, true, false and not given, finding grammatical errors, jigsaw reading, expressions with 'put'.)
Upper-Intermediate
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I'm Too Busy!
A woman who won a free shopping spree said she didn't want the prize. She said she was too busy. (Shopping sprees, competitions, matching words and pictures, regular and irregular verbs and past simple, listening for understanding, comprehension check, reading cloze, choose the best answer, sequencing, finding errors, Shopping spree Game.)
Elementary
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A Brand New Fish!
A little tropical fish that glows fluorescent red will be the first genetically-engineered pet. (Genetic engineering, tropical fish, pets, skimming, reading gap fill, complete the table, matching information, true, false or not given, prepositions, expressing opinions, role plays.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Next: Borrowing the Car
They waste hours in front of the TV and get their parents to spend money on designer clothes and haircuts. And they're not even three years old! A new survey in Britain says toddlers are increasingly leading a lifestyle once associated only with moody adolescents. (Children and parents, discussion, skimming, complete a table of information, true, false or not given, fractions, percentages, bar graphs, group brainstorming, pair crossword, like as a preposition.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Santa School
A school for Santas has opened in Japan, a country with little Christian tradition and a Christmas that is more about shopping than religion. (Santa, finding the main idea, gap fill, true or false, mixed sentences, sequencing, complete the picture.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Shopping Kindergarten
German women can now leave their partners at a special kindergarten for men. For 10 euros ($US12), the men get a name tag, two bottles of beer, a hot meal, television and free games. (Women and men, shopping, quiz, understanding the main idea, mixed sentences, true or false, reference words, dialogue, using going to and will to talk about the future, discussion, pair crossword.)
Elementary
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Animal Phones
The sweet song of a bird, the roar of a lion or the grunt of a hippo could soon replace the beeping of Britain's mobile phones. (New services for mobile phones, matching pictures and words, split reading, tell someone about an article, matching information, reading for detail, discussion, what am I? game, understanding and drawing a cartoon, the present continuous tense, crossword - animals.)
Elementary
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Mirrors Not Required
Wall-to-wall mirrors in gyms and dance studios might stop women getting the exercise they need because women who work out in front of a mirror get discouraged and feel tired, Canadian researchers said. (Exercise and body image, Find Someone Who game, categorizing words, writing questions, crossword, completing sentences, true, false or not given, role play, discussion, group design project, superlative adjectives.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Lights Out!
U.S. supermarkets and restaurants had to throw away mountains of spoiled vegetables, meats and dairy products, while others were counting on backup generators to minimize losses from the largest power outage in North America's history. (Power failure and the effects of a blackout on supermarkets and restaurants, predicting from the headline, sequencing, comprehension, true, false or not given, word forms, peer dictation.)
Intermediate
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New Age Cinema
Bawling babies have ruined films for countless moviegoers but now one New York cinema is filling an entire theater with them in an effort to win the business of stir-crazy parents who haven't gone out in years. (Cinemas, moviegoing habits, parenting and babies, what would you do, categorizing words, true or false, reading for details, meanings from context, conjunctions (and, but, so, because) find someone who..., describing a scene, present continuous tense, design project.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Green Packaging
Wild Oats Markets Inc. became the first grocery store in the United States to roll out a new type of "green" packaging which looks like plastic but turns into compost after disposal. (Environmentally friendly packaging, comprehension, true or false, meanings from context, summarizing, information gap activity, language - making predictions.)
Intermediate
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Ducks and Locusts
China is using ducks to stop locusts from destroying valuable crops, but the ducks will probably then be eaten in restaurants. (Pests, locusts, prediction, reading for the main idea, sequencing, true or false, discussion, in and into, recipe.)
Elementary
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Cleaning Up Their Acts
With its landfill sites almost full, Japan has launched a plan to halve the amount of trash it buries. Meanwhile, Ireland battles a price of economic success: a waste disposal crisis. From a third island nation, New Zealand, comes a possible waste management solution. (Waste management, environmentally friendly waste management systems, matching sentence beginnings and endings, listening for information, true or false, choose the best answer, using 'also', understanding a process diagram.)
Intermediate to Upper-Intermediate
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International Treaty Against Smoking
More than 190 countries approved the first international treaty against smoking, including an advertising ban, aimed at kicking a habit that kills nearly 5 million people a year. (Antismoking, WHO, complete the headline, scanning, reading carefully, summarizing, relative clauses, information exchange, debate, complete the drawing.)
Upper-Intermediate
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No-Frills Cinema
The world's first no-frills cinema is opening in Britain promising tickets from just 20 pence -- but with no popcorn or blockbuster movies on show. (Cinemas and movies, quick survey, gap fill, choosing a headline, scanning, true or false, have to..., brainstorming, movie crossword, peer dictation.)
Intermediate
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A PETA Protest
The leader of a prominent animal rights group said she had drawn up a will directing that her flesh be barbecued and her skin used to make leather products in protest at people's ill-treatment of animals. (Animal rights, guessing the meanings of words in context, scanning, true or false, summarizing, discussion, dialogue build, reported speech.) Please Note: The material contained in today's article may be disturbing to some students.
Intermediate
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Tattoo for the Doctor
An 85 year-old widow is so determined not to be resuscitated against her will by doctors that she has tattooed the words "Do Not Resuscitate" across her chest. (Rights of patients, tattoos, finding the main idea, vocabulary in context, information search, a, an or the, discussion, 'Who am I?' game, dialogue.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Donor Debate
A Moldovan woman, desperate to feed her family, decides to sell one of her kidneys to a rich Westerner for $3,000 - - more than a year’s salary for the donor, peanuts to the recipient. Is it an act of exploitation in Europe’s poorest country or a lifesaving transaction which could and should be regulated? (Body organ trading, understanding the main idea, understanding viewpoints, summarizing, discussion, words in context.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Shopper Guilt
Do you ever wonder why you have a closet full of items you never use or have used just once? Canadian researchers found that retail shoppers often buy from helpful salespeople because they want to reciprocate a personal connection. (Shopping, relationships, discussion, multiple choice questions, true or false, conditional, matching, survey.)
Upper-Intermediate
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