Robot Guards & Robot News (Upper-Intermediate Lesson Plan)

Download the Robots ESL Lesson plan here: Robot-News-ESL-UppIntermediate-04122011.doc

A robot is watching you

Upper-Intermediate 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 4th, 2011)

Three 152-centimeter tall robots are nearly ready to 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 sensors that allow them to detect behavior among inmates that could lead to violence. Cameras on the robots also allow guards to communicate remotely with prisoners.
The program, scheduled to start in March 2012, is part of a larger effort to make South Korea the world leader in robotics. Elsewhere, English-speaking robots have been deployed as teaching assistants for children 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. The robot can transmit images and withstand extreme radioactive conditions.
In space news, a new NASA space rover named Curiosity is now on its way to Mars. The rover has improved landing capabilities and is much larger than previous Mars rovers. Curiosity is scheduled to land in August 2012, and its main objective is to evaluate if humans can inhabit the planet. The mission cost is approximately 2.5 billion dollars. (263 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)    How is Curiosity different from previous rovers?
6)    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 leaks.
  5. It is much bigger, and it has improved landing capabilities.
  6. 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)
relieve sb (verb)
detect (verb)
deploy (verb)
in the works
navigate (verb)
transmit (verb)
withstand (verb)
inhabit (verb)
  • relieve sb – replace sb who is on duty…
  • rehabilitation – recuperation, recovery from illness
  • inmate – prisoner
  • detect – discover or notice sth that …
  • remote – faraway
  • deploy – move soldiers/weapons/equipment…
  • in the works – being developed or scheduled to happen…
  • navigate – find the direction you need to go in
  • leak – a small hole or crack from which liquid is released
  • transmit – send an electronic signal
  • withstand – resist, be strong enough to…
  • inhabit – live in a particular place

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

government / uprising
relieve / humans
rehabilitation/ inmates
detect / leak
transmit / remote
deploy / robot / army
in the works / inhabit
navigate / underground
withstand / temperatures

Robots ESL Lesson Plan: Idiom Focus

in the wake of

Meaning: 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.
Example: 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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