Robot Guards & Robot News (Advanced Robot ESL Lesson Plan)

Download the Robots ESL Lesson plan here: Robot-News-ESL-Advanced-05122011.doc

A robot is watching you

Advanced Robot ESL News Lesson Plan : Warm-up (Pair Work)

1)    What is your favorite movie that features robots?
2)    Is there a difference between a machine, like a microwave, and a robot? How would you define “robot”?
3)    Is there a strong robotics industry in your country?
4)    How do we currently use robots?

Robot Guards & Other Robot News (Dec 5th, 2011)

Three 152-centimeter tall automatons will soon begin working as prison guards in the South Korean city of Pohang. The four-wheeled robots were developed as part of the government’s $864,000 robotic guard program. The robots have been designed to relieve human guards, not replace them, in order to allow guards to focus more on the rehabilitation of inmates. The robots are equipped with an affable appearance and sensors that allow them to detect behavior among inmates that could escalate into violence or suicide.
The program, slated to launch in March 2012, is part of a larger effort to make South Korea a world leader in robotics. Elsewhere, English-speaking robots have been deployed as teaching assistants in some Korean schools. Many other projects are in the works, such as personal assistant robots to care for the elderly.
Abroad & Beyond
In the wake of the nuclear reactor problems in Japan, there has been increased focus on improving nuclear power plant safety worldwide. Engineers in America, home to 104 reactors, have developed an egg-size robot that can navigate underground pipes in order to check for leaks and corrosion. The robot is able to withstand extreme radioactive conditions.
In space news, a new NASA space rover named Curiosity is now on its way to Mars. The large rover has an elaborate landing procedure that allows it to land in tight spots of geological interest. Curiosity is scheduled to land in August 2012, and its main objective is to evaluate the inhabitability of the planet. While engineers are confident in the rover’s landing abilities, there is always the possibility a software bug of glitch could endanger the approximately 2.5 billion-dollar mission. [276 words]

Robots ESL Lesson Plan: Comprehension Questions

1)    True or False: Robots have been designed to help with the rehabilitation of inmates.
2)    What’s the purpose of the robots’ sensors?
3)    True or False: South Korea is the world leader in robotics.
4)    What have engineers developed in America for the nuclear power industry?
5)    Where is Curiosity now?
  1. False.
  2. The sensors allow the robots to monitor inmate behavior and detect any behavior that may lead to violence.
  3. False.
  4. They have developed a small egg-size robot that can check pipes for erosion.
  5. Curiosity is in space, on its way to Mars.

Robots ESL Lesson Plan: Vocabulary Matching

Match the words with their meaning as used in the news lesson. (Note: good as homework for students)
escalate (verb)
deploy (verb)
in the works
elaborate (adjective)
  • automaton – robot
  • affable – pleasant, friendly, and easy to talk to
  • escalate – become greater, worse, or more serious, etc.
  • slated – planned for a particular time in the future.
  • deploy – move soldiers/weapons/equipment into position for action
  • in the works – being developed for the future
  • erosion – the gradual deterioration of sth over time due to wind, rain, etc.
  • withstand – resist; be strong enough not to be damaged.
  • elaborate – complicated and detailed; carefully prepared
  • inhabitability – the ability to live in a particular place.
  • glitch – a small problem or fault that stops sth working successfully

Robots ESL Lesson Plan: Connect the below idea(s) to make a sentence.

government / uprising
affable / robot
escalate / war
slated / deploy / 2018
in the works / elderly
automaton / corrosion
withstand / temperatures
elaborate / software / glitch
rover / inhabitability

Robots ESL Lesson Plan: Idiom Focus

in the wake of

  1. following something; coming after something
* hint: a wake is a track that a boat or ship leaves in water. A wake is a trail that always follows a boat. When something happens in the wake of something, it happens after it; it follows it.
In the wake of the protests, the government agreed to lower taxes.
Read and complete the below sentences where necessary.

In the wake of the Hiroshiima bomb attack, Japan .

In the wake of  , I decided to .

Possible Answers:

  • … Japan surrendered.
  • In the wake of the recent terrorist attacks in the city, I decided to  move to the countryside.

Robots ESL Lesson Plan: Design Project (Pair Work)

Your teacher is a rich investor. He/she has sponsored a robotics design competition. The team who comes up with the best idea for a new robot will be awarded 10 million dollars to have their product developed. You and your partner have entered the contest. You have 5 minutes to think of a new robotics product. When finished, try to sell your idea to your teacher.

Robot ESL Lesson Plan: Role-play (Pair Work)

(note: each student reads his/her role only)

Student A: You believe that space exploration is the key to the survival of the human race. Take a minute to think of other reasons why space exploration is important. When ready, ask your partner what she/he thinks of the new mission to Mars.

Student B: Governments worldwide spend billions of dollars on space exploration. You believe it’s a waste of time and money. The Earth has many problems. We need to fix our own problems instead of flying off into space. Think of other reasons to support your argument. Your partner will start the conversation.<

Robot ESL Lesson Plan: Discussion Questions

(Write your answers in the Comments section below if you wish)

1) Could a robot do your job?
2) Why are humans so interested in robots?
3) What is AI?
4) Will robots cause rising unemployment in the future?


Lesson plan copyright Matthew Barton of

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