Gadget-proof

Posted on October 23, 2012

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I was just going to tweet the video below and leave it at that, but I had a few ideas while on the train to work so have decided to turn it into a post.

The lesson deals with the topics of gadgets, advertising and sales, and provides opportunities to present and practice a variety of adjectival suffixes. It is suitable for use with upper-intermediate and advanced learners of English.

Step One : Spill-proof gadget video

a) Do a little open-class chatting about things that can go wrong when clubbing / going out.

b) Show your students the video below and ask them for their reactions.

Step Two : Vocabulary focus

a) Explain the meaning of proof (resistant, able to withstand) and ask students to think of things which could be: bulletproof, idiot-proof, shockproof, waterproof, childproof, foolproof etc

b) In preparation for the next activity you might like to present/elicit a few other adjectives for describing products e.g. stylish, economical, well-made, portable, foldable, top-quality, robust, reliable, useful, colourful, fashionable, easy-to-use, practical, attractive, elegant, portable, unique, washable, unbreakable etc

Step Three : Conversation + Roleplay

a) Ask your students to discuss the following questions.

  1. Has a door-to-door salesperson ever tried to sell you something on your doorstep?
  2. When somebody offers you an advertising leaflet in the street do you accept it?
  3. How do you react when a shop assistant approaches you and asks: “Can I help you?” or “Are you looking for anything in particular?”
  4. How often do you get phone calls from companies trying to sell you products or services?
  5. Can you imagine being a salesperson? Do you think it’s an easy job

b) Choose (or get your students to choose) a “strange gadget” for each of your students by doing a Google image search and clicking through to the web page to get more details about the product.

c) Ask your students to move around the classroom and attempt to sell their gadgets to as many people as they can. They should give a detailed description of their products and say why they are so useful. At the end of the activity have a vote on which student gave the most persuasive sales pitch.

Step Four (Optional) : More conversation

Ask your students to discuss the following questions on advertising in pairs or small groups (I usually project these documents on the screen in full-screen mode, it saves on photocopies).
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Step Five : Fotobabble your sales pitch

For homework, ask your students to make a one-minute recording of their sales pitches from Step Three using Fotobabble. Here’s a quick example. If you are unacquainted with this tool, you might like to watch Russell Stannard’s excellent tutorials.

Hope you find this lesson useful!
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