Maha Maha

12-year-old girl builds a robot
Intermediate level


In this lesson,


Abc Whiteboard & Markers
Abc Guessing Game HandOut
Abc Smithosian Article "This 12-year-old girl built a robot that can find microplastics in the ocean"
Abc Stuffed Toy Ball
Abc Questions on the article HandOut

Main Aims

  • To provide gist, scan, detailed, deduction and inference reading practice using a text about young inventor in the context of changing the world into a better place by inventing robots
  • Increasing their anticipation skills (through word-guessing activity)

Subsidiary Aims

  • To provide fluency speaking practice in a discussion in the context of science fair projects
  • To provide clarification of competition lexicon in the context of being a finalist in a STEM competition
  • To deduce meaning of unfamiliar words from the context


Warmer/Lead-in (3-5 minutes) • To set lesson context and engage students

Since in a reading class, there is a lot of reading, it is fun to start with a physical activity. I'll write the word "Inventions" on the board. Then, I'll give a stuffed toy ball, and is asked to write down any word on the board related to the keyword on the board then toss the ball to someone else. The game is to get them moving, and be quick, the quicker they are, the more chances they get to write on the board. We'll have a timer set for 2 minutes to get them amped up. Every 30 seconds I will add another word; the 4 words that will be added on the board are: science, kids, adventure, competition This is to give the students more chances to come up with words related to our article.

Pre-Reading (15-17 minutes) • To prepare students for the text and make it accessible

In this stage, I want the students to be comfortable with the words on the board, so I will ask them to write 3 example sentences for any 3 words on the board. The students will then share these sentences with the rest of the class. Students will then share one sentence with the rest of the class as I keep crossing words off the board. I will ask my students how many are interested in participating in this year's science fair? Do they frequently participate? Do they enjoy inventing new things? After we finish our discussion about the science fair, and what they invent in their science classes, I will expose today's article title on the PowerPoint. I will ask the students to put a tick if they think the word is going to be in the reading text and put a cross if they think that it is not.

While-Reading#1 (10-12 minutes) • To provide students with less challenging gist and specific information reading tasks

Now, students will get to read the article and answer only the first page of the HandOut. The questions are: 1. The main idea of the article is that: A girl saves ocean life from oil spills A girl helps remove plastics from the ocean by building a robot A girl is happy that she won prize money 2. True/False 12 year old’s robot can detect and remove microplastics from the ocean Daughters parents want her to stop inventing things Du is a smart and hardworking kid 3. What encouraged Du to build her robot? After the students finish them, if their partner finishes early too, they can discuss them in pairs before our class discussion begins.

While-Reading #2 (25-30 minutes) • To provide students with more challenging detailed, deduction and inference reading/listening tasks

Now, the students are asked 4, 5 and 6 only. These questions are about "Understanding References": 4. Du credits her parents for fostering and supporting her interest in STEM. They took her to MIT’s student outreach activities on weekends. They substitutes for ………………………………………… . 5. Du entered her ROV in the Broadcom Masters competition. It is a contest. Contest likely means: Robot Competition Hard It substitutes for ………………………………………… . 6. She built something that could help solve the issue. She built a remote-operated vehicle. Something substitutes for ……………………………………………………………….. We discuss the anaphoric references, and then move on to questions 7 and 8. Students are given time to answer them. Question 7 is easily answered from the article, and checks understanding.question 8 is about inferring the meaning of new words from context. 7. What does Du want to be when she grows up? WHY? 8. Find a word or expression in the text which, in context, is similar in meaning to: a. encourage the growth/development of someone (paragraph 8) b. to think about and deal with an issue (paragraph 6). After we discuss these 2 questions, students are instructed to answer question 9. Question 9 is about arranging sentences in logical sequences. This requires the students to notice linkers and connector words. It also gives them a chance to notice the logic behind good story telling. 9. Put these sentences in order: Nearly 5,000 students were nominated this year. They were in sixth grade. They were in seventh grade. And they were in eighth grade. They were nominated after competing in regional science fairs. The top 30 finalists gathered in Washington, D.C. They came to showcase their projects. The top prize was $25,000. There were other cash prizes as well. The competition is organized by the Broadcom Foundation and Society for Science and the Public. It has been running for eight years. Of those, 2,500 applied online for consideration. That pool was narrowed down to 300 projects. These were dubbed “Broadcom Masters.” Then students answer the last 2 questions, hopefully we have had quite a discussion by now to enable them to predict answers that are inferred from the text. There is no right answer here, just the students' forecasts based on the knowledge they gained from the articles. 10. Do you think Du would be successful when she grows up? Why? Bonus: Critical Thinking Question 11. How do you think Anna's invention could be helpful on a global scale?

Post-Reading (8-10 minutes) • To provide with an opportunity to respond to the text and expand on what they've learned

We will end the class with a discussion: How does this article affect your views on what kids are capable of? Will this article influence your decisions in the upcoming school science fair?

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