IELTS|Intermediate| 13. Old innovation

mobile phone
a mobile phone

 

syringe
a syringe

 

a plane
a plane

 

air conditioning
air conditioning

 

washing machine
a washing machine

 

camera
a camera

 


Look at the pictures and discuss the questions

1. Name each of the things in the photos .

2. How often do you use these things? How would your life be different without them?

3. We rarely think that many things that we use everyday have been innovations at some point. Which innovation do you think was the most revolutionary when it appeared?

Discuss the questions

pic4_Adults|Grammar|El|L20

What type of word is it?

When dealing with a difficult word in a passage, it’s important to decide which type of word it is: a noun, a verb or an adjective.

1. Look at the two sentences below, pay attention to the highlighted words «moisture» and «cited» and decide what type of word each is. What helped you decide?

pic1_IELTS|Int|L13

2. Complete the definitions with cite or moisture


3. Underline all unknown words in the sentences and try to define them.


Look at the highlighted words in the reading passage. Decide what type of word each one is and choose the definition which can be applied in this case


Air conditioning

The history of an invention that makes life more pleasant

Willis Carrier designed the first air-conditioning unit in 1902, just a year after graduating from Cornell University with a Masters in Engineering. At a Brooklyn printing plant, fluctuations in heat and moisture were causing the size of the printing paper to keep changing slightly, making it hard to align different colours. Carrier’s invention made it possible to control temperature and humidity levels and so align the colours. The invention also allowed industries such as film, processed food, textiles and pharmaceuticals to improve the quality of their products.

In 1914, the first air-conditioning device was installed in a private house. However, its size, similar to that of an early computer, meant it took up too much space to come into widespread use, and later models, such as the Weathermaker, which Carrier brought out in the 1920s, cost too much for most people. Cooling for human comfort, rather than industrial need, really took off when three air conditioners were installed in the J.L. Hudson Department Store in Detroit, Michigan. People crowded into the shop to experience the new invention. The fashion spread from department stores to cinemas, whose income rose steeply as a result of the comfort they provided.

To start with, money-conscious employers regarded air conditioning as a luxury. They considered that if they were paying people to work, they should not be paying for them to be comfortable as well. So in the 1940s and ’50s, the industry started putting out a different message about its product: according to their research, installing air conditioning increased productivity amongst employees. They found that typists increased their output by 24% when transferred from a regular office to a cooled one. Another study into office working conditions, which was carried out in the late ’50s, showed that the majority of companies cited air conditioning as the single most important contributor to efficiency in offices.

However, air conditioning has its critics. Jed Brown, an environmentalist, complains that air conditioning is a factor in global warming. Unfortunately, he adds, because air conditioning leads to higher temperatures, people have to use it even more. However, he admits that it provides a healthier environment for many people in the heat of summer.


Deciding the type of word

When we don’t know the meaning of a word we read, it’s helpful to first decide which type of word it is (a noun, a verb, an adjective, etc.). This will help us to:

get closer to the meaning if we are guessing the meaning from the context;

choose the correct definition if we are using a dictionary. For example, if you look up design in the online version of the Cambridge dictionary (at 🔗dictionaries), you will find:

design n

design v

If you know what type of word it is, you will know which definition to click on.
We can tell what type of word it is by the words near it and its position in the sentence.

Nouns…

  • often have a, an or the before them:
    They produced a design for the house.
  • usually end in -s if they are plural:
    His designs have been very popular with the public.
  • come near the beginning of a sentence before a verb:
    The design impressed us.
  • come after a verb:
    They chose my design.
  • often have adjectives before them:
    It was an unusual design.

Verbs…

  • are often in a tense formed by -ed or -ing and with an auxiliary verb (is / are / have / has / may / will, etc.) before them:
    They are designing a new bridge.
  • usually come after a noun or pronoun (he, it, they, etc.):
    He designed the first one in 1904.
  • do not usually come at the beginning of a sentence unless in the -ing form:
    Designing the new bridge was his first job.
  • have to before them in the infinitive:
    He decided to design it using recycled materials.

Adjectives…

  • usually come before nouns: an unusual design
  • can come after the forms of the verb to be (is, was, etc.), become, feel, grow:
    The design was extraordinary.
    The climbers soon became exhausted.

Look at the reading task below and choose which strategy, skimming or scanning, is best to apply. Explain your choice

Table1_IELTS|Int|L13

Read the passage and find out who Willis Carrier and Jed Brown are/were

Skimming refers to looking only for the general or main ideas, and works best with non-fiction (or factual) material.

  • skimming takes place while reading,
  • it allows you to look for details in addition to the main ideas.

How to skim?

  • read the first few paragraphs in detail, you will get a good idea of what kind of information will be discussed.
  • then read only the first sentence of each paragraph. Also called topic sentences, they give you the main idea of the paragraph.
  • at the end of each topic sentence, your eyes should drop down through the rest of the paragraph, looking for important pieces of information, such as names, dates, or events.

 

Scanning is another useful tool for speeding up your reading. Unlike skimming, when scanning, you look only for a specific fact or piece of information without reading everything.

How to scan?

  • establish your purpose,
  • locate the appropriate material,
  • getting to know how the information is structured before you start scanning is essential.

The material you scan is typically arranged in the following ways:

  • alphabetically,
  • chronologically,
  • non-alphabetically,
  • by category,
  • textually.

Alphabetical information is arranged in order from A to Z, while chronological information is arranged in time or numerical order.



Read the passage and find out who Willis Carrier and Jed Brown are/were


Air conditioning

The history of an invention that makes life more pleasant

Willis Carrier designed the first air-conditioning unit in 1902, just a year after graduating from Cornell University with a Masters in Engineering. At a Brooklyn printing plant, fluctuations in heat and moisture were causing the size of the printing paper to keep changing slightly, making it hard to align different colours. Carrier’s invention made it possible to control temperature and humidity levels and so align the colours. The invention also allowed industries such as film, processed food, textiles and pharmaceuticals to improve the quality of their products.

In 1914, the first air-conditioning device was installed in a private house. However, its size, similar to that of an early computer, meant it took up too much space to come into widespread use, and later models, such as the Weathermaker, which Carrier brought out in the 1920s, cost too much for most people. Cooling for human comfort, rather than industrial need, really took off when three air conditioners were installed in the J.L. Hudson Department Store in Detroit, Michigan. People crowded into the shop to experience the new invention. The fashion spread from department stores to cinemas, whose income rose steeply as a result of the comfort they provided.

To start with, money-conscious employers regarded air conditioning as a luxury. They considered that if they were paying people to work, they should not be paying for them to be comfortable as well. So in the 1940s and ’50s, the industry started putting out a different message about its product: according to their research, installing air conditioning increased productivity amongst employees. They found that typists increased their output by 24% when transferred from a regular office to a cooled one. Another study into office working conditions, which was carried out in the late ’50s, showed that the majority of companies cited air conditioning as the single most important contributor to efficiency in offices.

However, air conditioning has its critics. Jed Brown, an environmentalist, complains that air conditioning is a factor in global warming. Unfortunately, he adds, because air conditioning leads to higher temperatures, people have to use it even more. However, he admits that it provides a healthier environment for many people in the heat of summer.

Read the questions and underline the key ideas. Do not read the options yet

Scanning is another useful tool for speeding up your reading. Unlike skimming, when scanning, you look only for a specific fact or piece of information without reading everything.

How to scan?

  • Establish your purpose,
  • locate the appropriate material,
  • getting to know how the information is structured before you start scanning is essential.

The material you scan is typically arranged in the following ways:

  • alphabetically,
  • chronologically,
  • non-alphabetically,
  • by category, or
  • textually.

Alphabetical information is arranged in order from A to Z, while chronological information is arranged in time or numerical order.

pic2_IELTS|Int|L13

Exam advice

Multiple choice

  • Underline the key idea in the question.
  • Find the part of the passage which deals with the key idea and read it carefully.
  • Choose the option which matches the information in the passage.

Read the passage and find where each question is dealt with. Read those parts carefully and choose the correct option

Air conditioning

The history of an invention that makes life more pleasant

Willis Carrier designed the first air-conditioning unit in 1902, just a year after graduating from Cornell University with a Masters in Engineering. At a Brooklyn printing plant, fluctuations in heat and moisture were causing the size of the printing paper to keep changing slightly, making it hard to align different colours. Carrier’s invention made it possible to control temperature and humidity levels and so align the colours. The invention also allowed industries such as film, processed food, textiles and pharmaceuticals to improve the quality of their products.

In 1914, the first air-conditioning device was installed in a private house. However, its size, similar to that of an early computer, meant it took up too much space to come into widespread use, and later models, such as the Weathermaker, which Carrier brought out in the 1920s, cost too much for most people. Cooling for human comfort, rather than industrial need, really took off when three air conditioners were installed in the J.L. Hudson Department Store in Detroit, Michigan. People crowded into the shop to experience the new invention. The fashion spread from department stores to cinemas, whose income rose steeply as a result of the comfort they provided.

To start with, money-conscious employers regarded air conditioning as a luxury. They considered that if they were paying people to work, they should not be paying for them to be comfortable as well. So in the 1940s and ’50s, the industry started putting out a different message about its product: according to their research, installing air conditioning increased productivity amongst employees. They found that typists increased their output by 24% when transferred from a regular office to a cooled one. Another study into office working conditions, which was carried out in the late ’50s, showed that the majority of companies cited air conditioning as the single most important contributor to efficiency in offices.

However, air conditioning has its critics. Jed Brown, an environmentalist, complains that air conditioning is a factor in global warming. Unfortunately, he adds, because air conditioning leads to higher temperatures, people have to use it even more. However, he admits that it provides a healthier environment for many people in the heat of summer.


Questions 1-5

pic3_IELTS|Int|L13

Match each statement to the sentence with a similar meaning below

Jack was asked about important innovations of the XXth century. Agree or disagree with the statements. Comment on your answers

pic4_IELTS|Int|L13


Make your own list of important innovations and comment on it, using the highlighted words from the previous exercise

Read the exam card, make notes and prepare a 2-minute speech

When dealing with the speaking task, make sure you

  1. answer all the points;
  2. keep going for more than a minute;
  3. introduce and round off the talk;
  4. use some of the signposting phrases;
  5. use past tenses correctly;
  6. use your notes;
  7. sound interested in what you are saying;
  8. look at the examiner while speaking.

pic5_IELTS|Int|L13

Exam advice

Speaking. Part 2

  • Structure your talk by using your notes and introducing your points clearly to the examiner.
  • Use appropriate phrases to mark the stages in your talk.

pic6_IELTS|Int|L13

Wordlist

Wordlist1_IELTS|Int|L13

Useful language

  • dangerous pointless
  • couldn’t live without
  • It makes it much easier to get around.
  • to dismiss something as
  • pretty useless
  • to have no practical purpose
  • long-distance communication
  • money-conscious
  • to make an important contribution

Evaluate your answer according to the criteria. Tick those which you have sticked to

pic7_IELTS|Int|L13

Read the text and decide if the statements below agree with the information given in the reading passage

Domestic robots

Machines that look after your home are getting cleverer, but they still need care and attention if they are to perform as intended.

Floor-cleaning machines capable of responding to their environment were among the first commercially available domestic products worthy of being called robots. The best known is the Roomba, made by iRobot, an American company which has sold more than three million of the disc-­shaped, frisbee-sized vacuuming robots. The latest model, the fifth version of the Roomba, has more sensors and cleverer software than its predecessors. Press the «Clean» button and the robot glides out of its docking station and sets off across the floor.

Domestic robots are supposed to free up time so that you can do other things, but watching how the Roomba deals with obstacles is strangely compelling. It is capable of sensing its surroundings, and does not simply try to adhere to a pre-planned route, so it is not upset if furniture is moved, or if it is picked up and taken to clean another room. Its infra-red sensors enable it to slow down before reaching an obstacle — such as a dozy cat — changing direction and setting off again.

It steadily works its way around the room, figuring out how to get out from under the television stand or untangle itself from a stray Game Boy recharging lead. Watch it for long enough, and you can sometimes predict its next move. The machine has a «dirt sensor» and flashes a blue light when it finds things to clean up. Only when it detects no more dirt does it stop going over the same area and, eventually, conclude that the whole room is clean. It then trundles back to dock at its recharging station.

So the first observation of life with a domestic robot is that you will keep watching it before you trust it completely. Perhaps that is not surprising: after all, when automatic washing machines first appeared, people used to draw up a chair and sit and watch them complete their wash, rinse and spin cycles. Now they just load them, switch them on and leave them to it.

The second observation is that, despite their current level of intelligence, certain allowances must be made to get the best out of a domestic robot. The Roomba can be set up to clean at particular times, and to clean more than one room (small infra-red «lighthouses» can be positioned in doorways, creating an invisible barrier between one room and the next that is only removed when the first room has been cleaned). A «drop-off» sensor underneath the robot prevents it from falling downstairs. All very clever, but what the Roomba will not do is pick up toys, shoes and other items left lying around. Rooms cared for by robots must be kept tidy. To start with, children will happily put things away in order to watch the robot set off, but unfortunately the novelty soon wears off.

Similar allowances must be made for other domestic robots. Sweden’s Husqvarna recently launched a new version of its Automower lawn mowing robot. Before it can be used, a wire must be placed around the perimeter of the lawn to define the part to be cut. If toys and other obstacles are not cleared from the lawn before it starts work, the robot will steer around them, leaving uncut areas. However, the latest version can top up its batteries with solar power, or send its owner a text message if it gets into trouble trying to climb a mole-hill.

But there is still only a limited range of domestic robots. Machines that mop the floor, clean a swimming pool and clear muck from guttering are made by iRobot Several surveillance robots are also on offer. The Rovio, made by WowWee of Hong Kong, is a wi-fi-enabled webcam, mounted on an extending arm, which rides along smoothly on a nimble set of three wheels. Its movement can be remotely operated over the Internet via a laptop or mobile phone. The idea is that Rovio can patrol the home when its owner is away, either automatically or under manual control: in the latter case, two-way communication allows the operator to see and talk via the machine. So you could, for instance, shout at the cat if it is sleeping on your best sofa.

Some machines are called robots even though they cannot move around. There is an ironing robot, for instance, that resembles an inflatable dummy: put a damp shirt on it, and it puffs up to remove the creases. Similarly, there are elaborate trouser presses that aspire to be robots. But do these devices really count as robots? If so, then surely dishwashers and washing machines do, too.

Yet whatever shape or size robots come in, many will be adored. Another important observation from living with a robot is that it tends to become part of the family. «People give them names, and if they have to be sent back for repair, they carefully add a mark to them to ensure they get the same machine back,» says Nancy Dussault Smith of iRobot.


True — if the statement agrees with the information.

False — if the statement contradicts the information.

Not Given — if there is no information on this in the text.

Read the text one more time and give short answers to the questions below

Domestic robots

Machines that look after your home are getting cleverer, but they still need care and attention if they are to perform as intended.

Floor-cleaning machines capable of responding to their environment were among the first commercially available domestic products worthy of being called robots. The best known is the Roomba, made by iRobot, an American company which has sold more than three million of the disc-­shaped, frisbee-sized vacuuming robots. The latest model, the fifth version of the Roomba, has more sensors and cleverer software than its predecessors. Press the «Clean» button and the robot glides out of its docking station and sets off across the floor.

Domestic robots are supposed to free up time so that you can do other things, but watching how the Roomba deals with obstacles is strangely compelling. It is capable of sensing its surroundings, and does not simply try to adhere to a pre-planned route, so it is not upset if furniture is moved, or if it is picked up and taken to clean another room. Its infra-red sensors enable it to slow down before reaching an obstacle — such as a dozy cat — changing direction and setting off again.

It steadily works its way around the room, figuring out how to get out from under the television stand or untangle itself from a stray Game Boy recharging lead. Watch it for long enough, and you can sometimes predict its next move. The machine has a «dirt sensor» and flashes a blue light when it finds things to clean up. Only when it detects no more dirt does it stop going over the same area and, eventually, conclude that the whole room is clean. It then trundles back to dock at its recharging station.

So the first observation of life with a domestic robot is that you will keep watching it before you trust it completely. Perhaps that is not surprising: after all, when automatic washing machines first appeared, people used to draw up a chair and sit and watch them complete their wash, rinse and spin cycles. Now they just load them, switch them on and leave them to it.

The second observation is that, despite their current level of intelligence, certain allowances must be made to get the best out of a domestic robot. The Roomba can be set up to clean at particular times, and to clean more than one room (small infra-red «lighthouses» can be positioned in doorways, creating an invisible barrier between one room and the next that is only removed when the first room has been cleaned). A «drop-off» sensor underneath the robot prevents it from falling downstairs. All very clever, but what the Roomba will not do is pick up toys, shoes and other items left lying around. Rooms cared for by robots must be kept tidy. To start with, children will happily put things away in order to watch the robot set off, but unfortunately the novelty soon wears off.

Similar allowances must be made for other domestic robots. Sweden’s Husqvarna recently launched a new version of its Automower lawn mowing robot. Before it can be used, a wire must be placed around the perimeter of the lawn to define the part to be cut. If toys and other obstacles are not cleared from the lawn before it starts work, the robot will steer around them, leaving uncut areas. However, the latest version can top up its batteries with solar power, or send its owner a text message if it gets into trouble trying to climb a mole-hill.

But there is still only a limited range of domestic robots. Machines that mop the floor, clean a swimming pool and clear muck from guttering are made by iRobot Several surveillance robots are also on offer. The Rovio, made by WowWee of Hong Kong, is a wi-fi-enabled webcam, mounted on an extending arm, which rides along smoothly on a nimble set of three wheels. Its movement can be remotely operated over the Internet via a laptop or mobile phone. The idea is that Rovio can patrol the home when its owner is away, either automatically or under manual control: in the latter case, two-way communication allows the operator to see and talk via the machine. So you could, for instance, shout at the cat if it is sleeping on your best sofa.

Some machines are called robots even though they cannot move around. There is an ironing robot, for instance, that resembles an inflatable dummy: put a damp shirt on it, and it puffs up to remove the creases. Similarly, there are elaborate trouser presses that aspire to be robots. But do these devices really count as robots? If so, then surely dishwashers and washing machines do, too.

Yet whatever shape or size robots come in, many will be adored. Another important observation from living with a robot is that it tends to become part of the family. «People give them names, and if they have to be sent back for repair, they carefully add a mark to them to ensure they get the same machine back,» says Nancy Dussault Smith of iRobot.


Label the diagram below

Choose no more than three words from the passage for each answer.

Listen and answer the questions below

pic12_T|Grammar act|L9

Today we’re going to look at an important area of science, namely nanotechnology. So what is it? Nano means tiny, so it’s science and engineering on the scale of atoms and molecules. The idea is that by controlling and rearranging atoms, you can literally create anything. However, as we’ll see, the science of the small has some big implications affecting us in many ways. There’s no doubt that nanotechnology promises so much for civilisation. However, all new technologies have their teething problems. And with nanotechnology, society often gets the wrong idea about its capabilities.

Numerous science-fiction books and movies have raised people’s fears about nanotechnology — with scenarios such as inserting little nano-robots into your body that monitor everything you do without you realising it, or self-replicating nano-robots that eventually take over the world.

So how do we safeguard such a potentially powerful technology? Some scientists recommend that nano-particles be treated as new chemicals with separate safety tests and clear labelling.

They believe that greater care should also be taken with nano-particles in laboratories and factories. Others have called for a withdrawal of new nano products such as cosmetics and a temporary halt to many kinds of nanotech research.

But as far as I’m concerned there’s a need to plough ahead with the discoveries and applications of nanotechnology.

I really believe that most scientists would welcome a way to guard against unethical uses of such technology. We can’t go around thinking that all innovation is bad, all advancement is bad. As with the debate about any new technology, it is how you use it that’s important. So let’s look at some of its possible uses.

Thanks to nanotechnology, there could be a major breakthrough in the field of transportation with the production of more durable metals.

These could be virtually unbreakable, lighter and much more pliable leading to planes that are 50 times lighter than at present. Those same improved capabilities will dramatically reduce the cost of travelling into space making it more accessible to ordinary people and opening up a totally new holiday destination.

In terms of technology, the computer industry will be able to shrink computer parts down to minute sizes. We need nanotechnology in order to create a new generation of computers that will work even faster and will have a million times more memory but will be about the size of a sugar cube.

Nanotechnology could also revolutionise the way that we generate power. The cost of solar cells will be drastically reduced so harnessing this energy will be far more economical than at present.

But nanotechnology has much wider applications than this and could have an enormous impact on our environment. For instance, tiny airborne nano-robots could be programmed to actually rebuild the ozone layer, which could lessen the impact of global warming on our planet. That’s a pretty amazing thought, isn’t it? On a more local scale, this new technology could help with the clean-up of environmental disasters as nanotechnology will allow us to remove oil and other contaminants from the water far more effectively. And, if nanotechnology progresses as expected — as a sort of building block set of about 90 atoms — then you could build anything you wanted from the bottom up. In terms of production, this means that you only use what you need and so there wouldn’t be any waste.

The notion that you could create anything at all has major implications for our health. It means that we’ll eventually be able to replicate anything. This would have a phenomenal effect on our society. In time it could even lead to the eradication of famine through the introduction of machines that produce food to feed the hungry.

But it’s in the area of medicine that nanotechnology may have its biggest impact. How we detect disease will change as tiny biosensors are developed to analyse tests in minutes rather than days.

There’s even speculation nano-robots could be used to slow the ageing process, lengthening life expectancy.

As you can see, I’m very excited by the implications that could be available to us in the next few decades. Just how long it’ll take, I honestly don’t know.



Complete the notes below

Write one word only for each answer.

Read the task and prepare your 2-minute speech on the topic «An invention that changed how people live»

pic8_IELTS|Int|L13

Speak no longer than 3 minutes.

Cover all of the points, use the active vocabulary of the lesson.

Exam tip

  1. Structure your talk by using your notes and introducing you points clearly.
  2. Use appropriate phrases to mark the stages in your talk.
  3. Give reasons for your answers.
  4. Offer extra details, extend your answer.
  5. Sound interested in what you are saying.
  6. Speak clearly so that the examiner can hear you easily.
  7. Use a wide range of vocabulary.

Describe an invention that changed how people live.

You should say:

  • what it is;
  • how it changed people’s lives;
  • the benefits it brought;
  • and say if it is more important for older or younger people.

Wordlist

Wordlist1_IELTS|Int|L13

Useful language

  • dangerous
  • pointless
  • couldn’t live without
  • It makes it much easier to get around
  • to dismiss smth as
  • pretty useless
  • to have (no) practical purpose
  • long-distance communication
  • money-conscious
  • to make an important contribution

Allow your browser access to your microphone, press the button «Record» and record the speech you have prepared

Read the information about IELTS Writing task 2

pic4_Adults|Grammar|El|L6

IELTS Writing Task 2. IELTS Essay

During the Exam you should spend about 40 minutes for this task and write at least 250 words.

Essays can be of different kinds: opinion essays, advantages and disadvantages essays, problem and solution essays, discuss both views essays, two-part question essays.


Read the exam task, instruction and plan carefully, then write an essay

There have been many inventions in human history, such as the wheel, phones, television, radio. Some people think the most important invention is the internet. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?

You should write at least 250 words.

Instruction

  • Firstly, think what you are going to write about.
  • Secondly, brainstorm ideas about pros and cons. Provide the example for each point. Think about the conclusion.
  • Write the plan following the given structure.
  • Follow the structure of the essay and use the given vocabulary.
  • Make sure you have used linking words and phrases to make your essay easy to read and understand.
  • Check your essay.

Plan

  • Introduction
    Sentence 1 — Paraphrase question

Sentence 2 — Outline sentence

  • Supporting Paragraph 1 (Agreeing)
    Sentence 3 — Topic sentence (Pros)

Sentence 4 — Explain how this is

Sentence 5 — Example

  • Supporting Paragraph 2 (Disagreeing)
    Sentence 6 — Topic sentence (Cons)

Sentence 7 — Explain how this is

Sentence 8 — Example

  • Conclusion
    Sentence 9 — Summary of main points

For more information refer to the following website

🔗IELTS Essay Structures

Wordlist

Wordlist1_IELTS|Int|L13

Useful language

  • dangerous
  • pointless
  • couldn’t live without
  • It makes it much easier to get around
  • to dismiss smth as
  • pretty useless
  • to have (no) practical purpose
  • long-distance communication
  • money-conscious
  • to make an important contribution
Урок Homework Курс
  • Warm-up
  • Old invention
  • Air conditioning
  • Comfort living
  • How to describe the invention
  • List of inventions
  • Innovations
  • Domestic robots
  • Robots at home
  • Nanotechnology
  • Innovations in our life
  • Writing an essay