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Teachers' Room > Lesson Library > Browse Library

Consumer Issues

Bags to Boats
The beaches of Kenya’s idyllic Lamu island are dotted with traditional houses, mansions, the odd donkey and, increasingly, tidal lines of plastic trash. One man has decided to design traditional sailing boats from recycled plastic. (Plastic bags, Kenya, boat building, effects of plastic on environment, matching information, discussion.)
Intermediate
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Not Enough Room For More Fish In The Sea??
Lizzie Carr is on a mission. She recently became the first woman to cross the English Channel solo on a paddle-board to draw attention to the "global plastic crisis". From fishing lines to flip flops, there are more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating in the world's oceans. (Global plastic crisis, oceans, working for a cause.)
Upper-Intermediate
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The Customer Is Always Right?
Patients give the same doctors different ratings depending on where their visit took place. Although doctors might act differently in an emergency room compared to a calmer office setting, researchers say the results also suggest that ratings are not a completely reliable measure of the quality of care physicians give. (Surveys, doctors, medical words.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Raising Kids
How much does it cost to raise a child in the United States? A middle-income family will spend about $245,000 over 18 years to raise a child who is born in 2013. (Cost of raising a child in USA, cost of living.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Doll Hospital
A doll hospital in Australia is 101 years old. Most dolls are plastic so there are few doll hospitals in the world. (Favorite toys, doll hospitals, writing a description, do/does for present simple questions, make a choice.)
Elementary
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Keeping a City Flush with Water
When the going got tough due to one of the worst droughts in a century, the parched Texas city of Wichita Falls got going with its program to recycle sewage water for drinking. (Water shortages, recycling.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Cost of the Prom
American girls are going to spend less money on the prom this year. Most prom dresses at David's, a store selling prom dresses, cost around $200. Many popular dresses cost $100.(Proms, shopping and beauty, charity organizations, planning a prom date, be going to.)
Elementary
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Dear Santa
One 13-year-old boy who sent a "Dear Santa" letter to the U.S. Post Office this year asked only for covers for his bed, "so I can stay warm this winter." Heartrending letters like this are sent each year to the Post Office "Letters to Santa" program, now in its 100th year. Some of the letters are answered by charitable groups, businesses, schools, postal employees and individual anonymous givers, who pick letters and go shopping. (Santa letters, helping others, Ho!, Ho!, Ho! competition.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Writers say “Read”
This lesson is about children's books, the future of reading, and the importance of reading! It includes information on writers Malorie Blackman and Jacqueline Wilson, with Jacqueline Wilson kindly doing an exclusive interview with ETG! (Writing, reading, famous people, books, e-books, education.)
Intermediate
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Not To Your Taste?
President Barack Obama likes burgers, hot dogs and such, but when it came time to answer a question about his favorite food, broccoli was the first word that sprang from his lips. Former American President George Bush Sr.'s famous dislike of broccoli might be put down to the fact that he could be a "supertaster". (Predicting using a headline, writing questions, summarizing the text, metaphors, writing a report, prepositions, future - will for predictions.)
Intermediate
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Room Service Cleared Away
Soon, the black-uniformed waiters wheeling trolleys of food will disappear from the halls of the Hilton Midtown. Will visitors to New York City's largest hotel mind having to leave their rooms for sustenance? (Hotels, New York, phrasal verbs and collocation.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Medical Trips
Sitting in a private clinic in an upscale neighborhood of Istanbul, Salem is preparing to leave Turkey with a smile on his face and more hair on his head. Having been to Istanbul for sightseeing and shopping, Saleh has returned as the new kind of high-spending visitor Turkey is increasingly seeking to attract: a medical tourist. (Medical tourism, Turkey, plastic surgery.)
Advanced
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Drive For Status
In Tebet, Indonesia houses cost around $100,000. Outside many of the [houses] are Mercedes-Benzes, BMWs and Jeeps - imported cars worth as much as the houses themselves. In Jakarta drivers show off sleek Italian sports cars, British Bentleys, and the most expensive people carriers. The luxury cars are a sign of the growing wealth of the middle class in Indonesia. Cars, status symbols, Indonesia, shopping, present continuous.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Adolescent CEOs
Venture capitalists are funding more chief executives under age 21 than ever before. Josh Buckley, chief executive of an online gaming start-up, is looking forward to the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, particularly for the parties and the schmoozing with industry A-listers. There's one problem: Buckley may be turned away from many of the parties because he is not old enough to drink. (Young entrepreneurs, work, high-tech companies, venture capitalists, 'will' + infinitive.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Replacing the Carrot with a Stick
While workers mostly like to see an employer offer smoking cessation classes and weight loss programs, too few are signing up or showing signs of improvement. So now more employers are trying a different strategy - they're replacing the carrot with a stick and raising costs for workers who can't seem to lower their cholesterol or tackle obesity. They're also coming down hard on smokers. (Health care and compulsory wellness programs, business, pair crossword, opinion essays and discussion.)
Advanced
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That's Not Junk
One man's garbage is another man's riches, so the old saying goes. "University professor Jeff Ferrell is something of a U.S. urban Robin Hood, although what he gives away is not stolen but the result of dumpster diving. The professor of sociology looks through dumpsters and gives [most] of what he finds to the needy or to friends. (Reusing and recycling, waste disposal, vocabulary, true, false or not given, matching statements, second conditional, Trash or treasure Game, offering, requesting.)
Intermediate
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The Doll with the Dragon Tattoo?
The doll with the dragon tattoo? Mattel's latest collector's edition Barbie doll has pink hair and tattoos across her shoulders and neck. (Toys, Barbie dolls, role models, tattoos.)
Intermediate
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Change of Energy Source?
The lakeside town of Port Hope, Ontario, encompasses both the promise and the dark side of the nuclear industry. The town is home to the world's longest running facility to process nuclear fuel, a massive white eyesore that towers over the sailboats bobbing in its tranquil harbor. (Nuclear energy, the environment, business, nuclear accidents, like and unlike.)
Advanced
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Sprucing Up The Down-at-heel
In Paris' upmarket St Germain district, hairdresser Lucia Iraci spends her days coiffing the city's glitterati, including actors, models and musicians. Yet once a month she opens her doors to a more downtrodden clientèle, offering free pampering and a dash of glamor to women from poor districts who are often long-term unemployed or victims of abuse and even slavery. (Hairdressing and beauty, amazing life stories, women's rights, helping others.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Hot bodies
Using body heat from train commuters to warm buildings. (Energy, the future, word families, discussion, mixed questions, comprehension, will used to describe facts in the future, completing a diagram.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Mobile Phone Health Question
Experts who studied almost 13,000 cell phone users over 10 years, hoping to find out whether the [cell phones] cause brain tumors, said their research gave no clear answer. A study threw up inconclusive results but researchers said suggestions of a possible link demanded deeper examination. (Health hazards, mobile phones, graphs, summarizing, use of may or might.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Making Up
The average British woman's cosmetic bag is out of date by ... four years, according to a study on Wednesday. Women are using cosmetics well past the use-by date. Debenhams asked 1,000 women aged 18 to 70 about the contents of their cosmetic bags and their understanding of the health considerations. (Makeup, consumer issues, expiry dates, surveys, doing a makeover.)
Intermediate
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Welcome To Clone Farm
To the untrained eye, Pollard Farms looks much like any other cattle ranch. Similar looking cows huddled in similar looking pens. But some of the cattle here don't just resemble each other. They are literally identical - clear down to their genes. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the sale of food from clones and their offspring, stating the products are indistinguishable from their non-clone counterparts. (Cloning, degrees of certainty, second conditional.)
Advanced
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Expensive Weddings
Thousands of Chinese women are vying to attend a lavish ball lured by the dream of a possible fairytale match with a millionaire. More than 7,000 women from all over the country are applying for just 40 tickets to Cinderella's ball, where several multi-millionaires will pay around $5,400 for the privilege of meeting them. (Marriage, finding a partner, weddings, fairytales, Cinderella quantifiers - expressions of quantity.)
Intermediate
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Going Shopping
The Christmas rush is showing the problems of internet-only retailers as increasing orders cause delivery delays. Stores fight back. Spaniards will spend more while Germans plan to spend less on Christmas presents this year and will instead open their wallets to charities. (Shopping trends, gift-giving, Internet shopping, choosing a gift.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Shine A Light
Vegetable seller Ramiben Waghri took out a loan to buy a solar lantern which she uses to light up her stall at night. The lantern costs between $66-$112, about a week's income for Waghri. "The vegetables look better by this light, and it's cheaper than kerosene and doesn't smell," said Waghri. "If we can use the sun to save some money, why not?" (Renewable energy sources, developing countries, solar power, micro finance.)
Advanced
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"American Dream"
Kim Bischof is entering the U.S. job market after she finishes college in May with a degree in special education and is confident that the "American Dream' is still alive for her, recession be dammed. Her optimism, echoed by other students in interviews, may reflect the fact that many young Americans today are indeed better off than their parents were at the same age. (American dream, reality of life for young Americans compared to parents, summarizing, verb forms.)
Advanced
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The Gleaners
It's closing time at a market in Belleville, a working-class neighborhood in Paris, and a young woman in a black parka and white cap is rummaging through the abandoned crates. After a thorough inspection, she slips a cauliflower and some slightly squashed oranges into her shopping bag. "That's going to be my dinner," says the woman, who will only give her name as Yng. (Economic difficulty, scavenging for food, summarizing key points.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Swishing
Welcome to swishing--for people who want shopping, clothes and entertainment but don't want to spend any money. "Swishing dos" are parties where people swap second-hand clothes. (Swishing, clothes shopping in a recession, ordering a conversation, the present continuous.)
Pre-Intermediate
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New Year's Resolutions
Many consumers have decided to make this the year they whittle down their debts. That's good, because most people can help themselves to lower debts without calling in outside help. Here's how to attack that pile of bills....(Personal debt, giving advice, problem solving, role playing, going to and will.)
Intermediate
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Tightening Their Belts
China's office workers are tightening their belts, cutting back spending on everything from clothes to fast food, despite government efforts to boost consumption to stave off the worst effects of a global recession. Wang Hao, a 24-year-old Beijing office worker, has launched a campaign to curb weekly living expenses to 100 yuan ($14.60). (People and a global recession, China, shopping and habits, present continuous.)
Upper-Intermediate
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The personal touch for survival
Many U.S. retailers, large and small, have good reason to envy Sue Opeka -- sales at her store have been up 15 percent for the past four months and she's up 5 percent for the year so far. Staring into the face of a possible recession as the holiday shopping season approaches, many small U.S. stores and boutiques catering to wealthier consumers are adjusting strategies and inventories. (Business, recessions, retailing.)
Advanced
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Try wrapping this!
Our annual look at the Neiman Marcus fantasy Christmas catalog. The 90th edition of this legendary book continues the Neiman Marcus tradition of offering its customers a selection of spectacular and unique holiday gifts sure to make even their wildest dreams come true. (Christmas, very expensive gifts, role play, vocabulary work, summarizing.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Getting Smashed
Welcome to Sarah's Smash Shack, where customers can relieve stress by throwing dinnerware and bric-a-brac against a wall, as hard as they can, day and night, seven days a week. (Stress, smashing plates, setting up a business, verb patterns: like/love/dislike + infinitive or verb-ing and enjoy + verb-ing.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Germs Everywhere!
A study from Britain indicates people in the north of Britain are three times as likely to have hands contaminated with fecal bacteria than their compatriots in the south while two other articles look at the best ways to sterilize a sponge and keep a bathroom and kitchen clean. (Cleanliness, health and hygiene, imperatives and instructions.)
Intermediate
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Money Money Money Money Money
The credit crisis and tight student budgets hold no fears for a British teenager who won 7 million pounds ($12.68 million) on the Lottery. (Lottery jackpots, students, unreal situations, first and second conditional, discussion, comprehension, giving an opinion, sequencing.)
Pre-Intermediate
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World's Largest Lesson 2008
This lesson looks at two problems: the prevalence of landmines and the current global food crisis. Countries with landmines have problems rehabilitating victims and being able to use land for farming. Commodity prices have soared recently and poorer people in many places are going hungry because the basic things they need to survive have become so expensive. There are four different articles so if possible allocate each student in your class to read a different article.
Intermediate
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Trim the grocery bill, not nutrition
Food prices, fuel costs and economic fears are growing, but that doesn't mean you can't eat healthfully while on a recession diet. Feeding yourself and your family on a budget can still include nutritious lean protein, fruits and vegetables in your diet every day... It just requires an open mind and a bit of extra time. (Nutrition, health, shopping and cooking, must/ must not/ should/ should not/ have to.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Kid Food
Most food products aimed specifically at children have poor nutritional content even though more than half of the products are marketed to the contrary. (Nutrition, food for children, consumer issues, will for future forms.)
Intermediate
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"Made in China?"
These days, many fashionistas are still confused over what is real, what is fake, and whether a product's country of origin says anything about its quality. Even a "Made in Italy" label no longer guarantees that a bag or a pair of shoes was hand crafted by artisans in a Tuscan workshop. (Luxury items, consumers, ethical consumerism.)
Advanced
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Birthday Hell!
Welcome to the deepest inner circle of parenting hell - the kiddie birthday party. Who knew a simple celebration could generate so much anxiety and overindulgence? Most adults remember when kids' birthdays meant ice cream and a game of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. Today children have come to expect lavish orgies of gifts, gimmicks and goody bags. (Children, parenting, birthday parties, consumerism, brainstorming, planning a birthday party.)
Advanced
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Restaurants Try E-menus
Restaurants in Europe, the United States and Japan are testing technology to let diners order their food direct from a screen at their table instead of depending on a fellow human being to note their choice, (Restaurants, technology, consumer trends, will and be going to for predictions.)
Intermediate
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Smoking in the Movies
Young children may be influenced to start smoking through exposure to movie characters who smoke, researchers suggest.(Hollywood,children, movie stars as role models, smoking, marketing, predicting, choose the best answer, crossword, verb + to + infinitive or verb + -ing, 'what would you do?' quiz about lying, expressing opinions.)
Intermediate
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Urban Foragers
Eating locally means different things to different people, but to urban foragers it can literally mean eating close to home. You may not realize it, but a wealth of healthy -- and free -- food may be growing just outside your front door. (Foraging in urban settings, eating locally grown food, restaurants, scanning, completing a table, comprehension, idioms using fruit and vegetables.)
Advanced
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Gifts to Kill a Romance
Yahoo! Personals has some advice on how to ensure it stays on track by avoiding gifts that can kill the romance. Kristen Sasser, Yahoo! Personals' online dating expert, has put together a list of the top 10 worst gifts for new relationships after asking Web site users for suggestions. (Dating, gift giving, Valentine's Day, brainstorming, working with unfamiliar vocabulary, reading for gist, some/any).
Intermediate
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Big and Beautiful Cappuccinos
Jack Hanna is the world champion of coffee art--using the froth on your cappuccino to make pictures. The man from Sydney beat the Italians in the World Latte Art Champions and an Italian barman made a 330-gallon cappuccino, setting what he said was a world record. (Coffee, world records, spelling, prepositions.)
Elementary
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Guns, Guns and More Guns
The United States has 90 guns for every 100 citizens, making it the most heavily armed society in the world, a report released on Tuesday said. (Guns, arms control, poverty and wealth, reading for the main idea, thinking carefully.)
Intermediate
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Yellow cabs to go Green
New York City's famed yellow taxi cabs will go green within five years...1,000 hybrid taxis -- powered by gasoline and electricity -- would be introduced by October 2008. (Alternative fuels, transport, the environment, hybrid vehicles, discussion, skimming, choose the best answer, reading and notetaking, first conditional, Internet research.)
Intermediate
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Killer Games
A 2007 article says that violent video games do not make children into murderers. (Violent video games and effect on children, violence, discussion, vocabulary hunt, filling the gaps in a table, finding and correcting grammatical errors.)
Intermediate
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"Not Mad" Cows Created
U.S. and Japanese scientists said on Sunday that they had used genetic engineering to produce cattle that resist mad cow disease.(Genetic engineering, Mad Cow Disease, BSE, CJD, scientific research, the passive.)
Intermediate
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