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Listen&Learn: Cloning

30th December 2020 by Jaksyn Peacock

Pre-listening vocabulary

  • genetic: relating to genes
  • identical: exactly the same
  • organism: any individual living thing
  • embryo: an unborn, developing organism
  • advanced: modern and complex
  • ethical: relating to the moral concepts of “right” or “wrong”

Listening activity

Gapfill exercise

Cloning is the process of a genetically identical copy of an organism. Researchers have been experimenting with cloning since the 1900s, when they attempted to create genetic copies of animal embryos. As became more advanced, it became possible to make clones of fully-grown creatures. The first successful cloning of an adult organism was in 1996, when a British group managed to produce a cloned sheep. The sheep’s name was Dolly, and she lived for six years. Scientists have since managed to clone many other types of animals. In fact, there are now that offer expensive pet cloning services. The idea of human cloning has come up in scientific , but many people have ethical concerns about the consequences. Because of this, human cloning is illegal in several countries.

Comprehension questions

1. In the 1900s, researchers attempted to clone

Correct! Wrong!

In the 1900s, researchers attempted to clone animal embryos.

2. The 1996 cloning experiment produced a cloned

Correct! Wrong!

The 1996 cloning experiment produced a cloned sheep.

3. Scientists have not cloned humans because

Correct! Wrong!

Scientists have not cloned humans because people have ethical concerns.

Discussion/essay questions

  1. The article says that many people have ethical concerns about the consequences of human cloning. What do you think some of those concerns might be?
  2. Do you think human cloning should be legal? Why or why not?

Transcript

Cloning is the process of creating a genetically identical copy of an organism. Researchers have been experimenting with cloning since the 1900s, when they attempted to create genetic copies of animal embryos. As technology became more advanced, it became possible to make clones of fully-grown creatures. The first successful cloning of an adult organism was in 1996, when a British research group managed to produce a cloned sheep. The sheep’s name was Dolly, and she lived for six years. Scientists have since managed to clone many other types of animals. In fact, there are now companies that offer expensive pet cloning services. The idea of human cloning has come up in scientific discussions, but many people have ethical concerns about the consequences. Because of this, human cloning is illegal in several countries. 

Listen&Learn: Stem Cells

25th November 2020 by Jaksyn Peacock

Pre-listening vocabulary

  • cell: the smallest unit of life, which all living things are made up of
  • specialized: specific; serving a certain purpose
  • embryo: a developing being in a womb, egg, or plant seed
  • tissue: a group of similar cells that have a specific function
  • regenerate: to repair or restore something damaged or lost
  • transplant: an organ that is taken from a donor and given to a patient who needs it

Listening activity

Gapfill exercise

A stem cell is a type of cell that can divide into more specialised cells during reproduction. There are two different types of human stem cells: embryonic stem cells, which are found in the tissue of embryos, and adult stem cells, which are found in fully developed humans. The main difference is that embryonic stem cells can become any kind of cell, but stem cells can only become cells for certain types of tissue. In recent years, doctors and have become very interested in the medical uses of human stem cells. Stem cells could be used to treat illnesses such as , and regenerate tissue in organs that would otherwise require a transplant. Research has even shown that it is possible to genetically modify adult stem cells to like embryonic stem cells, which would make it much easier to grow any kind of tissue.

Comprehension questions

1. Embryonic stem cells can divide into

Correct! Wrong!

Embryonic stem cells can divide into any kind of cell.

2. Stem cells could be used to

Correct! Wrong!

Stem cells could be used to treat cancer.

3. Research has shown that adult stem cells can be

Correct! Wrong!

Research has shown that adult stem cells can be modified to behave like embryonic cells.

Discussion/essay questions

  1. Stem cell research is a bit of a controversial topic in some places. Why do you think there is so much debate about it?

Transcript

A stem cell is a basic type of cell that can divide into more specialized cells during reproduction. There are two different types of human stem cells: embryonic stem cells, which are found in the tissue of embryos, and adult stem cells, which are found in fully developed humans. The main difference is that embryonic stem cells can become any kind of cell, but adult stem cells can only become cells for certain types of tissue. In recent years, doctors and researchers have become very interested in the medical uses of human stem cells. Stem cells could be used to treat illnesses such as cancer, and regenerate tissue in organs that would otherwise require a transplant. Research has even shown that it is possible to genetically modify adult stem cells to behave like embryonic stem cells, which would make it much easier to grow any kind of tissue.

Listen&Learn: The Renaissance

18th November 2020 by Jaksyn Peacock

Pre-listening vocabulary

  • humanism: a movement during the Renaissance that focused on human happiness and success
  • emerge: to develop and become well-known
  • philosophy: the study of existence, thought, and reality
  • contrast: a noticeable difference between two things
  • Middle Ages: the time period between the fall of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance
  • influential: able to affect something in a major way

Listening activity

Gapfill exercise

The Renaissance was a period of change in Europe. The term ‘renaissance’ is a French word, meaning ‘rebirth’. The Renaissance began in Italy in the 14th century, when a movement called humanism became very popular. Humanism emerged after 14th-century Europeans began to ancient Greek philosophy. The main ideas of humanism were that humans deserved to pursue wealth and happiness, and that science, literature, and the arts were essential to human life. This was a contrast to the Middle Ages, when was often considered the most important part of life. Humanism encouraged many people to study and create art. One of the most well-known artists of this period was Italian Leonardo Da Vinci, the creator of the Mona Lisa. Although the Renaissance ended around the 17th century, the and discoveries from back then are still influential in many cultures today.

Comprehension questions

1. Humanism was inspired by writings of philosophers from

Correct! Wrong!

Humanism was inspired by writings of philosophers from Ancient Greece.

2. One of the main ideas of humanism was that

Correct! Wrong!

One of the main ideas of humanism was that humans deserved wealth and happiness.

3. One of the most famous artists from the Renaissance period was

Correct! Wrong!

One of the most famous artists from the Renaissance period was Leonardo da Vinci.

Discussion/essay questions

  1. How has the Renaissance affected art, science, culture, and politics today?
  2. What do you think was the most important invention from the Renaissance period?

Transcript

The Renaissance was a period of cultural change in Europe. The term ‘renaissance’ is a French word, meaning ‘rebirth’. The Renaissance began in Italy in the 14th century, when a movement called humanism became very popular. Humanism emerged after 14th-century Europeans began to rediscover ancient Greek philosophy. The main ideas of humanism were that humans deserved to pursue wealth and happiness, and that science, literature, and the arts were essential to human life. This was a contrast to the Middle Ages, when religion was often considered the most important part of life. Humanism encouraged many people to study and create art. One of the most well-known artists of this period was Italian painter Leonardo Da Vinci, the creator of the Mona Lisa. Although the Renaissance ended around the 17th century, the ideas and discoveries from back then are still influential in many cultures today.

Listen&Learn: Stephen Hawking

7th October 2020 by Jaksyn Peacock
Stephen Hawking

Pre-listening vocabulary

  • physicist: a scientist who studies physics
  • diagnose: to identify an illness by studying a person’s symptoms
  • condition: a medical issue
  • black hole: a region of space where gravity is so strong that nothing can escape
  • speech synthesizer: a machine used to produce human speech

Listening activity

Gapfill exercise

Stephen Hawking was an English physicist. He was born in 1942 in Oxford, England. Growing up, Hawking was always very in math and science, and at age 17, he decided to pursue a degree. However, at age 21, Hawking was diagnosed with ALS, a serious condition that weakens nerves and muscles. His didn’t expect him to live more than two years after his diagnosis, but Hawking was determined to get his degree. He achieved his goal, and he is now well-known for his research on black holes. Throughout his life, he also published several books about the universe. His most book, titled A Brief History of Time, was written to help ordinary people complex scientific concepts. Hawking lived much longer than expected, but his condition worsened as his life went on. Eventually, he had to use a wheelchair to move around, and a speech synthesizer to communicate. Hawking died at the age of 76, after living a full and accomplished life.

Comprehension questions

1. After Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with ALS, his doctor told him that

Correct! Wrong!

After Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with ALS, his doctor told him that he would only have two years to live.

2. Hawking was known for his research on

Correct! Wrong!

Hawking was known for his research on black holes.

3. Hawking lived until the age of

Correct! Wrong!

Hawking lived until the age of 76.

Discussion/essay questions

  1. Stephen Hawking once had a party for time travellers. He didn’t send the invitations out until the day after the party, so that only people from the future could show up. It was an experiment that was meant to show that time travel to the past was unlikely to be possible. Do you think that time travel could ever be possible? Why or why not?

Transcript

Stephen Hawking was an English physicist. He was born in 1942 in Oxford, England. Growing up, Hawking was always very interested in math and science, and at age 17, he decided to pursue a physics degree. However, at age 21, Hawking was diagnosed with ALS, a serious condition that weakens nerves and muscles. His doctor didn’t expect him to live more than two years after his diagnosis, but Hawking was determined to get his degree. He achieved his goal, and he is now well-known for his research on black holes. Throughout his life, he also published several books about the universe. His most famous book, titled A Brief History of Time, was written to help ordinary people understand complex scientific concepts. Hawking lived much longer than expected, but his condition worsened as his life went on. Eventually, he had to use a wheelchair to move around, and a speech synthesizer to communicate. Hawking died at the age of 76, after living a full and accomplished life.

Listen&Learn: How 3D Printers Work

16th September 2020 by Jaksyn Peacock

Pre-listening vocabulary

  • computer-generated: something made using a computer program
  • nozzle: a spout that liquid can flow through
  • solidify: to become solid
  • prosthetic: an artificial limb or other body part
  • manufacturing: the production of goods

Listening activity

Gapfill exercise

A 3D printer is a device that is used to objects from computer-generated models. 3D printers may seem like complex machines, but they are actually very to regular printers. A normal printer uses nozzles filled with ink to print words on paper. A standard 3D printer uses nozzles containing liquid polymer, a waxy substance that solidifies quickly. The machine receives instructions from a , and the nozzles follow these instructions. They print the by building up thin layers of polymer from the bottom to the top. Although the average person might use a 3D printer to make something fun like a toy or figurine, this technology also has a lot of practical uses – especially in the medical field. Scientists have used 3D printers to make prosthetics for injured and disabled patients. This is important because 3D printing can often be much than other types of manufacturing.

Comprehension questions

1. The nozzles of a standard 3D printer contain

Correct! Wrong!

The nozzles of a standard 3D printer contain liquid polymer.

2. A 3D printer creates an object by

Correct! Wrong!

A 3D printer creates an object by building up layers of polymer.

3. Scientists have used 3D printers to

Correct! Wrong!

Scientists have used 3D printers to make prosthetics.

Discussion/essay questions

  1. As 3D printers become easier for people to access, they also become more dangerous. Many people have used 3D printers to make guns, knives, and other weapons. Should 3D printing be regulated to keep everyone safe? If so, what would be the best way to do this?

Transcript

A 3D printer is a device that is used to create objects from computer-generated models. 3D printers may seem like complex machines, but they are actually very similar to regular printers. A normal printer uses nozzles filled with ink to print words on paper. A standard 3D printer uses nozzles containing liquid polymer, a waxy substance that solidifies quickly. The machine receives instructions from a computer, and the nozzles follow these instructions. They print the object by building up thin layers of polymer from the bottom to the top. Although the average person might use a 3D printer to make something fun like a toy or figurine, this technology also has a lot of practical uses – especially in the medical field. Scientists have used 3D printers to make prosthetics for injured and disabled patients. This is important because 3D printing can often be much cheaper than other types of manufacturing.

Listen&Learn: The Mystery of Antimatter

12th August 2020 by Jaksyn Peacock

Pre-listening vocabulary

  • theory: an attempt to explain a scientific concept
  • matter: anything that has mass and occupies space
  • antimatter: material made up of antiparticles
  • subatomic particle: a particle that is smaller than an atom
  • identical: exactly the same as something else
  • electron: a type of subatomic particle with a negative electrical charge
  • Big Bang: the explosion that likely created the universe

Listening activity

Gapfill exercise

In 1928, British physicist Paul Dirac the existence of antimatter. His theory was that every type of subatomic particle had an antiparticle. He believed that an antiparticle would be almost identical to a normal particle, only with an electrical charge. This theory was proven two years later, when American physicist Carl David Anderson discovered a positively-charged electron, later named the “positron”. Today, physicists know that our is made up of both matter and antimatter. They have even successfully created antimatter atoms. However, antimatter is still one of the greatest in the universe. Scientific theory states that the Big Bang should have created equal amounts of matter and antimatter. The problem with this idea is the fact that matter and antimatter instantly destroy each other when they come into contact. This means that if the Big Bang had as much antimatter as it did matter, the universe would not exist today.

Comprehension questions

1. The physicist who predicted the existence of antimatter was

Correct! Wrong!

The physicist who predicted the existence of antimatter was Paul Dirac.

2. An antiparticle is almost identical to a particle, except for its

Correct! Wrong!

An antiparticle is almost identical to a particle, except for its charge.

3. When particles and antiparticles come into contact, they

Correct! Wrong!

When particles and antiparticles come into contact, they destroy each other.

Discussion/essay questions

  1. For years, scientists have debated the reason why our universe has more matter than antimatter. Some scientists have even suggested the idea that the Big Bang created another, parallel universe, made up mostly of antimatter. However, there isn’t a lot of evidence for this. Do you think scientists will ever know the answer to this question, or are there just some things about the universe we will never understand?

Transcript

In 1928, British physicist Paul Dirac predicted the existence of antimatter. His theory was that every type of subatomic particle had an antiparticle. He believed that an antiparticle would be almost identical to a normal particle, only with an opposite electrical charge. This theory was proven two years later, when American physicist Carl David Anderson discovered a positively-charged electron, later named the “positron”. Today, physicists know that our universe contains both matter and antimatter. They have even successfully created antimatter atoms. However, antimatter is still one of the greatest mysteries in the universe. Scientific theory states that the Big Bang should have created equal amounts of matter and antimatter. The problem with this idea is the fact that matter and antimatter instantly destroy each other when they come into contact. This means that if the Big Bang had created as much antimatter as it did matter, the universe would not exist today.

Listen&Learn: Marie Curie

24th June 2020 by Jaksyn Peacock

Pre-listening vocabulary

  • physicist: a type of scientist who studies physics
  • admit: to allow someone to enter a place
  • mineral: a solid natural substance
  • property: an attribute or quality that something has
  • radioactivity: the emission of radiation from certain elements
  • exposure: the state of coming into contact with something, especially something dangerous

Listening activity

Gapfill exercise

Marie Curie was a Polish-born French physicist, known for her of radioactive chemicals. She was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1867, the youngest of five children in her family. Growing up, Curie was smart and , and dreamed of getting a university degree. However, the University of Warsaw only admitted male students at the time. In order to get her degree, Curie moved to Paris. She studied physics at Sorbonne University, and later received another degree in math. After her , Curie went on to become a scientist. While working with a mineral known as pitchblende, Curie discovered a new chemical property, which we now know as radioactivity. She also discovered two new elements, which she called polonium and radium. Because of these scientific discoveries, Curie became the first person to ever win two Nobel Prizes. Curie died in 1934 from an caused by her exposure to radiation. However, her research has helped modern develop treatments for cancer, and she is still seen as one of the greatest scientists of all time.

Comprehension questions

1. Marie Curie was born in

Correct! Wrong!

Marie Curie was born in Warsaw, Poland.

2. Curie moved to Paris for her degree because

Correct! Wrong!

Curie moved to Paris for her degree because the University of Warsaw only admitted male students.

3. Curie was the first person to

Correct! Wrong!

Curie was the first person to win two Nobel Prizes.

Discussion/essay questions

  1. While Marie Curie’s research did help scientists develop cancer treatments, her research was also important for the invention of the atomic bomb during World War II. The atomic bomb is still a controversial subject because of the amount of deaths it caused. Do you think Curie’s discoveries had a positive impact on the world, or a negative one?

Transcript

Marie Curie was a Polish-born French physicist, known for her research of radioactive chemicals. She was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1867, the youngest of five children in her family. Growing up, Curie was smart and curious, and dreamed of getting a university degree. However, the University of Warsaw only admitted male students at the time. In order to get her degree, Curie moved to Paris. She studied physics at Sorbonne University, and later received another degree in math. After her education, Curie went on to become a scientist. While working with a mineral known as pitchblende, Curie discovered a new chemical property, which we now know as radioactivity. She also discovered two new elements, which she called polonium and radium. Because of these scientific discoveries, Curie became the first person to ever win two Nobel Prizes. Curie died in 1934 from an illness caused by her exposure to radiation. However, her research has helped modern scientists develop treatments for cancer, and she is still seen as one of the greatest scientists of all time.

The Big Bang Theory

3rd June 2020 by Jaksyn Peacock

Pre-listening vocabulary

  • theory: a possible scientific explanation for something
  • astronomer: a scientist who studies space
  • evidence: proof that supports an idea
  • observe: to notice something while performing an experiment
  • matter: any substance that has mass and takes up space
  • criticism: comments expressing a negative opinion about something
  • accurate: true; correct

Listening activity

Gapfill exercise

The Big Bang theory is a theory scientists use to the creation of the universe. The theory states that all of the matter in the universe began to expand from one single point. This idea was first proposed by astronomer Georges Lemaître in 1927. He received evidence to support his theory when another astronomer named Edwin Hubble observed that seemed to be moving away from each other. This was an indication that the universe was expanding. Because of this new information, Lemaître concluded that the universe must have once been smaller and denser. According to the theory, the universe began as something known as a singularity, which is an where matter is infinitely dense. Over 13 billion years ago, this singularity began to expand, and the matter inside it formed atoms that would later form stars and planets. Lemaître’s idea received a lot of criticism, because most scientists at the time believed that the universe had existed . However, throughout the 20th century, scientists continued to find proof that Lemaître’s theory was accurate. Today, the Big Bang theory is the most widely accepted explanation for how the universe was .

Comprehension questions

1. The idea of the Big Bang was first proposed by

Correct! Wrong!

The idea of the Big Bang was first proposed by Georges Lemaître.

2. Edwin Hubble made the observation that

Correct! Wrong!

Edwin Hubble made the observation that galaxies were moving away from each other.

3. Lemaître's idea received criticism because

Correct! Wrong!

Lemaître's idea received criticism because most scientists believed that the universe had existed forever.

Discussion/essay questions

  1. While most scientists today agree that the universe was created by a Big Bang, some have other theories. Do you believe that the Big Bang theory is the correct explanation? Why or why not?

Transcript

The Big Bang theory is a theory scientists use to explain the creation of the universe. The theory states that all of the matter in the universe began to expand from one single point. This idea was first proposed by astronomer Georges Lemaître in 1927. He received evidence to support his theory when another astronomer named Edwin Hubble observed that galaxies seemed to be moving away from each other. This was an indication that the universe was expanding. Because of this new information, Lemaître concluded that the universe must have once been smaller and denser. According to the theory, the universe began as something known as a singularity, which is an area where matter is infinitely dense. Over 13 billion years ago, this singularity began to expand, and the matter inside it formed atoms that would later form stars and planets. Lemaître’s idea received a lot of criticism, because most scientists at the time believed that the universe had existed forever. However, throughout the 20th century, scientists continued to find proof that Lemaître’s theory was accurate. Today, the Big Bang theory is the most widely accepted explanation for how the universe was created.

Albert Einstein

11th March 2020 by Jaksyn Peacock

Pre-listening vocabulary

  • influential: important and powerful; having influence
  • fascinated: very interested in something
  • introduce: to make something known for the first time
  • achievement: something that is completed successfully
  • target: a person that a certain group wants to attack
  • physicist: a scientist that specializes in physics

Listening activity

Gapfill exercise

Albert Einstein was one of the most influential of the 20th century. He was born in Germany in 1879, and began attending school in 1885. As Einstein got older, he became fascinated with the nature of . He published his first scientific paper at the age of 16, and later went on to study at a university in Switzerland. In 1905, Einstein published four scientific papers. The papers introduced his theory of special relativity, which allowed scientists to better understand the between time and space. Einstein won the Nobel Prize in 1921 for his achievements. In the 1930s, however, Einstein became a target of the Nazi Party of Germany. He moved to the U.S. to protect himself, and continued to work as a physicist. Einstein died in 1955, but his brain is kept in the Princeton University Medical Center, and it is still by scientists today.

Comprehension questions

1. Albert Einstein was born in

Correct! Wrong!

Albert Einstein was born in Germany.

2. At university, Einstein studied

Correct! Wrong!

At university, Einstein studied physics.

3. Einstein moved to the U.S. because

Correct! Wrong!

Einstein moved to the U.S. because he had to protect himself from the Nazis.

Discussion/essay questions

  1. Some people wanted to use Einstein’s discoveries to develop weapons, such as the atomic bomb. What is your opinion on the use of new scientific discoveries to build stronger weapons?

Transcript

Albert Einstein was one of the most influential scientists of the 20th century. He was born in Germany in 1879, and he began attending school in 1885. As Einstein got older, he became fascinated with the nature of light. He wrote his first scientific paper at the age of 16, and later went on to study physics at a university in Switzerland. In 1905, Einstein published four scientific papers. The papers introduced his theory of special relativity, which allowed scientists to better understand the connection between time and space. Einstein won the Nobel Prize in 1921 for his achievements. In the 1930s, however, Einstein became a target of the Nazi Party of Germany. He moved to the U.S. to protect himself, and continued to work as a physicist. Einstein died in 1955, but his brain is still kept in the Princeton University Medical Center. Scientists still study it today.