Leigh Davidson Leigh Davidson

Are You Afraid of the Dark? Part 2: Green-Blooded Hobgoblins
Upper-Intermediate to Advanced level


In this lesson, the second part of the 'Strange and Mysterious' LP series, Ss will discuss the existence of aliens (Is it possible or not for alien life forms to exist on other planets?) and the possibility (and probability) of alien contact with planet Earth. The first half of the lesson will focus on alien depiction in popular culture (specifically in cinema) and the second half will explore the potential of alien contact (how will it occur; has it occurred before; and how would the Ss respond to such an experience?). A short film will provide the Ss with a cinematic example of alien contact to explore, comment on, and improve. A pre-lesson reading activity will also explore the topic of hoaxes, highlighting some alien contact stories that have been later revealed to be hoaxes. The lesson will wrap up with a discussion of the 2016 movie 'Arrival'--an alien movie with a linguistic theme that can provide some poignant lessons for language learners and ESL instructors. This movie could be assigned as a pre-lesson or post-lesson supplementary homework activity.


Abc Take Me to Your Leader
Abc Alien Contact

Main Aims

  • To provide Ss with the opportunity for freer-speaking practice on the topic of aliens and alien contact.

Subsidiary Aims

  • To provide Ss with an opportunity to practice their gist and detailed reading skills, on the subject of historical hoaxes.


Warmer/Lead-in (15-17 minutes) • To set lesson context and engage students

Show the WC some film posters of famous alien movies (Alien, Arrival, Mars Attacks, Prometheus, Avatar, Star Trek, District 9, Starship Troopers, Pitch Black, and The Hitchhikers Guide). Elicit from the WC which movies they are familiar with and how those movies depict the aliens. Elicit from the WC which alien portrayal is their favorite and why. Elicit from the WC which of the aliens, in which of the movies, the Ss consider the scariest, and why? Focus on the common and popular depiction, in cinema, of aliens as dangerous invaders. Elicit from the WC their thoughts and explanation for this highly negative conception of alien contact. Expand the discussion further with a hypothetical question. "If aliens do visit the Earth one day, do you think their intentions will be peaceful, or will they come to conquer, kill or enslave us?" Focus on the physical aspects of each alien (from the previously discussed alien movies). "Why do you think aliens are generally depicted as having a human shape and eyes?" Elicit from the WC which physical form is most likely and probable for an alien race. "What do you think alien life might look like?" Elicit from the WC whether they believe that life on other planets is possible. "Do you think there might be life on other planets? Why [not]?"

Useful Language (5-7 minutes) • To highlight and clarify useful language for coming productive tasks

Write on the WB ALIEN VOCABULARY and beneath the header, the following words: SIGHTING, FOOTAGE, AN ENCOUNTER, COVER-UP, and BEAM-UP. Elicit from the WC the meaning of these words, when used in the context of discussing aliens and alien contact.

Productive Task: Alien Contact (27-31 minutes) • To provide an opportunity to practice target productive skills

Elicit from the WC their thoughts on the following hypothetical situations: 1) "If aliens landed somewhere in the United States and attempted to make contact with the American government, what do you think would happen?" 2) "What about Turkey? Would the response be similar, or any different?" Divide the WC into groups and distribute a HO, which includes images of some of the cinematic aliens discussed from the Warmer section ('Take Me to Your Leader'). Instruct the groups to consider each of the alien species and discuss how they think the Turkish Republic would respond to alien contact from each of those species. "What do you think Turkey would do if [this species of alien] landed in Ankara and asked to see your leader?" Following GW discussion, bring the WC together for FB. Inform the WC that they are going to watch a short film on this very topic. Mention that this film is very similar to the Hollywood movie 'District 9.' It was made by the same director. Instruct the WC to observe, while watching the film, how the city of Johannesburg (in South Africa) responds to the alien contact, and to consider the following questions: 1) "Why do you think the Government of South Africa responds the way that they do to this species contact?" Write on the WB REASON FOR RESPONSE? 2) "Do you think that this is a proper, and appropriate response, to the species of alien that contacts Johannesburg?" Write on the WB APPROPRIATE RESPONSE? 3) "If you were the Government of South Africa, what would you have done differently, if anything, when this species landed in your city?" Write on the WB WHAT WOULD YOU DO? "Alive in Joburg" [6:22] https://www.shortoftheweek.com/2007/05/23/alive-in-joburg/ Following a viewing of the film, have the Ss, in groups, discuss the pre-listening questions (on the WB) and come up with their own response to the alien contact and settlement in Johannesburg. Following GW discussion, bring the WC together for FB. Present the groups with another hypothetical situation. "If aliens visited Earth for a week, what do you think they should see (and do) to fully understand us and our achievements?" Provide the groups with a HO to complete during their discussion ('Alien Contact'). Following GW discussion, bring the WC together for FB. Write some of the Ss' answers on the WB, beneath the header ALIEN CONTACT ITINERARY.

Productive Task: Alien Questions (18-20 minutes) • To provide an opportunity to practice target productive skills

Elicit from the WC their thoughts concerning the public allure and fascination with the (possible) existence of alien life forms. "Why are humans so fascinated with the (possible) existence of aliens?" Distribute the HO on 'Alien Questions' and instruct the groups to read through and discuss some of the questions from each list. Instruct Student A to ask 5 of the questions from their list; Student B will ask 5 of the questions from their list as well. Emphasize that both Student A and Student B should ask 'why' follow-up Q's to the 5 Q's that they select. Following GW discussion, bring the Ss together for WC FB and a response to each other's thoughts.

Productive Task: Alien Hoaxes (15-18 minutes) • To provide an opportunity to practice target productive skills

Refer the WC to the pre-lesson reading task--the Hot English article on alien hoaxes ('Alien Tricks'). Elicit from the Ss their answers to the reading comprehension questions: 1) "Based on the examples described in the article, how would you define a 'hoax'?" 2) "What was the purpose behind each 'hoax'? Why did each person tell their alien contact story?" [T Answer: 1) April Fool's Day joke, for public entertainment; 2) A trick, for personal entertainment; 3) To provide validity and authenticity for the rumors surrounding Roswell/Area 51; 4) To highlight the gullibility of people] 3) "The article concludes with this final statement: 'They say that fiction is a lie that tells the truth. Maybe it's true in these cases.' What is the author of the article claiming in this statement? And do you agree with this claim?" "So if these hoaxes exist, what does that say about the existence of alien life forms and the possibility of alien contact (both in the past and in the present)? Have aliens actually contacted us if hoaxes, connected to stories of alien contact, exist?" Conclude the lesson with a general discussion of the 2016 film 'Arrival.' Assign the film as extended HW (for those interested Ss). Focus the WC on the linguistic nature of the film. Instruct the Ss to consider the following themes, concerning language learning, communication, and translation: [write on the WB] 1) The implications of misunderstanding 2) The cultural advantage of human translation 3) The importance of every word "How are these themes portrayed and what lessons can we learn, as ESL learners and instructors, from the film?"

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