Five Stories to Watch in 2024 (Advanced Lesson)

ESL/EFL Level: Advanced (C1/C2)
Lesson Topics: Taiwan, AI, eVTOLs, climate change, BRICS
Skill Focus: Speaking, Reading, Vocabulary
Approximate Class Time: 2 hours
Lesson Plan Download: economist-stories-2024-advanced-lesson-012024.docx
Lesson Overview:

  • After warm-up questions, students predict the content of a passage entitled "Five Stories to Watch in 2024". The 372-word passage is based on a longer (17-min) video by The Economist. The passage mentions five stories: The Taiwanese election, eVTOL aircraft, AI safety, curbing greenhouse gases, and the expansion of the BRICS.
  • After reading, students complete comprehension questions, a vocabulary-matching exercise, and an activity where they make questions using the target vocabulary.
  • The first speaking activity is a debate on either AI regulation or eVTOLs. Next, students roleplay a scenario on whether it would be better to join the BRICS or the West/G7. This is followed by a group activity in which environmental activists plan a protest. Finally, students contemplate what they take for granted in life.
  • The lesson also includes famous quotations related to the themes of the lesson and an idiom review activity on phrases that can quell or spark altercations.
  • The lesson ends with a final vocabulary review, final discussion questions, and a review of collocations.

A cover for a lesson plan on 2024 themes.

ADVANCED (C1/C2) Five Stories to Watch in 2024 Lesson Plan


  1. What are your plans for 2024?
  2. Personally, nationally, or globally, do you think 2024 will be a good year?
  3. Predicting: You are about to read a passage about five stories to watch out for in 2024 (summarized from a video by The Economist). What stories do you think the passage will mention? Make a list.

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 This lesson plan was created by Matthew Barton of (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. For questions, contact the author.

Comprehension Question Answer Key

  1. The re-election of the current Taiwanese leadership, which emphasizes self-rule and resistance to Chinese influence, would likely worsen relations with China.
  2. The 2024 Olympics may showcase commercial eVTOL (Electric Vertical Take Off and Landing) flights, which are battery-powered and resemble helicopters.
  3. eVTOLs will include a driver initially to meet regulatory approvals and appease authorities, despite many designs envisioning pilotless models.
  4. Ken Karklin is confident that eVTOLs will become a common form of transportation in the future.
  5. The 2021 Dutch example is used to illustrate the potential misuse of AI in government decision-making, where an AI system wrongfully accused families of welfare fraud.
  6. Despite their differences, BRICS members commonly have strained relationships with Western powers.

Vocabulary Answers: 1-b, 2-h, 3-l, 4-a, 5-k, 6-d, 7-e, 8-f, 9-g, 10-c, 11-j, 12-i

Collocation Answers: 1-b, 2-h, 3-i, 4-d, 5-g, 6-a, 7-f, 8-c, 9-e

Idiom Bonus

  • These idioms could be used to solve an altercation: my bad, let’s agree to disagree, it’s time to bury the hatchet (meaning: it’s time to make peace).
  • These idioms would likely cause one: Take a hike (meaning: Get lost), Do you want a piece of me? (meaning: Do you want to fight?), You and what army? (Meaning: You are going to need an army to beat me.)


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