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A Conversation Idea - Rate the Apparatus

Level: Medium

Activity A

The many household apparatus/machines/gadgets we use at home make life a
little bit easier; the micro-wave oven heats things up quickly; the fridge keeps
perishable goods fresh; the washing-machine cleans our clothes and saves us
time. So, when put to the test, which of these machines/apparatus could we
do without-IF WE HAD TO. In other words, which of these machines is the
most important, generally speaking. Get your students to make a list of ten
common ones, and then get them to list them in order of perceived necessity
(for want of a better word). Here is a list I gleaned from my pupils, don't
show it to the pupils at first.

Washing machine
Tea/Coffee maker
Light bulb

Of course, these items must be rated according to perceived necessity, and
the rating must be justified. Reasons for a choice must be given. Students
will debate the "top" necessity and so on, down to the least important

Activity B

Are these things necessary?

The activity A could branch out into further items we use to make life
easier and, presumably, make life better. For example:

Hair driers
Cigarette lighters
Special wine glasses
Mobile telephones
Expensive furniture
Sweets and savouries
Etc ...

The idea is not to embark on an ethical crusade, but simple to get people
thinking and speaking in English. All of this is, crucially, backed up by
realistic reasons for the comments made. Some of the items above are by no
means original, but they are everyday things which are part and parcel of
our lives.

Can you think of more normal, common-or-garden items which could be
dispensed with?

Submitted by Gerard Counihan

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