Dan Saunders & The ATM Glitch (Advanced Lesson)

ESL/EFL Level: Advanced (C1/C2)
Lesson Topics: money, indulgence, stealing, ethics
Skill Focus: Listening, Speaking, Vocabulary
Approximate Class Time: 1.75 hours
Lesson Plan Download: atm-glitch-dan-saunders-advanced-052024.docx
Lesson Overview:

  • This lesson is based on a 4:36-minute YouTube video about an Australian man who found an ATM glitch and proceeded to go on a 1.6-million-dollar spending spree.
  • After warm-up questions, students do a vocabulary-matching activity with 12 C1/C2-level phrases from the video. Next, students watch the short video (Australian accent) and complete comprehension questions. Finally, students match vocabulary from the video to definitions and then form discussion questions using the target vocabulary.
  • There is one debate topic about money and happiness. After, students complete a budget sheet on what they would purchase if they had 1.6 million dollars. There is one role-play scenario involving a friend trying to convince Dan to give up his unethical lifestyle.
  • Other speaking activities include an Off the Grid survival scenario and a pair-work roleplay interview for High Roller Magazine.
  • After famous quotations, the lesson ends with a review of vocabulary and collocations before presenting some final discussion questions.

Money shooting out of an ATM

ADVANCED (C1/C2) Lesson on Dan Saunders & The ATM Glitch


  1. What are the most expensive items that you sometimes buy?
  2. Have you ever found money or received a large financial gift? What did you do with it?
  3. How much money do you need to be happy in life?

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This lesson plan was created by Matthew Barton of EnglishCurrent.com (copyright). Site members may photocopy and edit the file for their classes. Permission is not given to rebrand the lesson, redistribute it on another platform, or sell it as part of commercial course curriculum. ChatGPT was used to generate answer keys and some famous quotations. For questions, contact the author. 

Comprehension Question Answer Key

  1. Dan discovered that by transferring money from his MasterCard to his savings account during the ATM's offline hours (usually late at night), the transactions would be marked as canceled, but the money would still appear in his account.
  2. He spent approximately 1.6 million dollars.
  3. … (It suggests that he doesn’t feel like he acted immorally. It suggests that the 1 year in prison wasn’t so bad compared to the joys of his spending spree.
  4. Saunders was sentenced to a year in jail and received an 18-month community corrections order.

Vocabulary 1-understatement, 2-glitch, 3-baffling, 4-splashed out, 5-loophole, 6-high roller, 7-lavish, 8-got the better of, 9-blur, 10-ritziest, 11-deception, 12-a far cry from 

Collocations 1-f, 2-I, 3-c, 4-a, 5-h, 6-g, 7-d, 8-c, 9-e

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