3.en.10 Memory



Memory is our ability to encode, store, retain and subsequently recall information and past experiences in the human brain.

It is the sum total of what we remember, and gives us the capability to learn and adapt from previous experiences as well as to build relationships. It is the ability to remember past experiences, and the power or process of recalling to mind previously learned facts, experiences, impressions, skills and habits. It is the store of things learned and retained from our activity or experience, as evidenced by modification of structure or behaviour, or by recall and recognition.

In this lesson we are going to learn a bit more about memory through a series of articles and other resources focusing on this issue and will help us understand a bit more of this essential human skill.



Task 1

To begin with, watch a short clip of Antonio Damasio, an eminent neuroscientist and founder of the Brain and Creativity Institute, and try to answer the question below:

How different are the ideas about how memory works we have now from 20 years ago?


If you would like to learn more about memory you can visit the following exhibition:

Memory Exhibition

You can also learn a bit more about The Human Memory in this website:

The Human Memory

If you would like to improve your memory, you can visit this website:



Task 2

Now your task will be to write a summary of an article related to memory. (between 130-150 words)

Everybody has been assigned different articles, which you have to read and summarize: (scroll down to the bottom of the page for some help about how to write a summary)

Article 1: Emil Hristov, Miguel Angel Cabañero, Àngel Blanch, Claudia Puche

Article 2: Aina Tous, Lovepreet Kaur, Philline Vicente

Article 3: Jilin Ye, Tatiana Diéguez, Sarah Borràs, Daryl Malunay

Article 4: Pilar Alcalde, Xisco García, Neus Roser

Article 5: Andrea Cuervo, Zandalie Pizarro, Judit Echeverría

Article 6: Sara Bouza, Idaira Santana, Pep Toni Font

Article 7: Pepe Coca, Denis Rahovean


How to write a summary

1. What is a summary?

  • A summary is a short, concise method of stating the main idea and significant supporting details of a reading.

  • A summary condenses a larger piece of work down to its essential parts.

  • It does not include copied material or a string of quotes from the text.

2. Techniques for summarising

  • A good method in summary writing is to start by writing summaries of paragraphs.

  • The key for doing this is by using all essential points in a paragraph and condensing them into only a few sentences – expressed in your own words – to reflect the writer’s thoughts.

  • A summary statement shows the relationship between several important ideas in a paragraph.

  • A summary statement should include the points from the main idea sentence as well as the essential points from the supporting sentences.

To write the summary statement you can use one of these two methods annotation and mapping:

a) Annotation:

  • Read the paragraph looking for all the important ideas and facts.

  • [Place brackets around the main idea.]

  • Underline key words and phrases that support the main idea.

  • Write key words in the margins.

  • Cross out any information that is not important.

b) Mapping:

  • Make a map with the information you underlined and marked.

  • Write a summary that includes all the important information you’ve identified.

  • Paraphrase – don’t copy the exact words from the reading: try to put the information in your own words.


Look at an example in the following presentation:

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2.en.9 Back to the Future

Mankind has always wondered what the future might have ahead for us. For some the future conjures apocaliptical images of disaster and destruction while others look forward  to a better life. In this lesson we are going to reflect about our worries or expectations about what the future may bring to us and a famous  physicist and futurist , Dr. Michio Kaku, will share his ideas about robots with us.

Why Back to the Future? Well, Back to the Future is the title of an American science fiction adventure comedy film which was directed by Robert Zemeckis and produced by Steven Spielberg in 1985. The film tells the story of Marty McFly, a teenager who is accidentally sent back in time from 1985 to 1955. He meets his future-parents in high school and accidentally attracts his future mother’s romantic interest. Marty must repair the damage to history by causing his parents-to-be to fall in love, and with the help of scientist Dr. Emmett “Doc” Brown, he must find a way to return to 1985.

Unfortunately we won’t have time to watch the film, but I’ve thought we could start with something light before we delve into the deep thoughts of our future lives. Watch the video of a famous song from the 1950s: Que sera sera (Whatever will be, will be) in which a young girl asks herself about her future. The song won an Oscar in 1956 when it was used as soundtrack in a well known film. Try to find the answer to the following questions:

a. What film was it?

b. Who directed it?

c.Who sang the song in the film?

d.What role does the song play in the film?

Now listen to a modern version of the song by the American group Pink Martini and try to complete the missing words:

1. When I was just a ……………….. girl

I asked my mother what will I be

Will I be ………………..

Will I be rich

Here’s what she said to me

Que sera sera

Whatever will be will be

The future’s not ……………….. to see

Que sera sera

Que sera sera

2. When I was just a child in school

I asked my teacher what should I ………………..

Should I paint pictures

Should I sing songs

This was her ……………….. reply

Que sera sera

Whatever will be will be

The future’s not ………………..to see

Que sera sera

3. When I grew up and fell in love

I asked my ……………….. what lies ahead

Will there be ……………….. day after day

Here’s what my sweetheart said

Que sera sera

Whatever will be will be

The future’s not ………………..to see

Que sera sera

Okay, it might not have been the most exciting of songs, but it was only an excuse to talk about the future.

In fact, we have been talking about future plans and predictions and we have already learnt about this American physicist, Dr. Michio Kaku. Dr. Kaku works in the field of theoretical physics, just as Einstein, and he has devoted much of his time to think about how things will be different for us in the future. If you’re interested you can visit his website:


Well, today we are only going to explore some of Dr. Kaku’s ideas. He’s been considering about the possibility of developing robots to a point in which they could get ideas about killing humans. Well, let’s hope this will never happen. Indeed, he mentions the Three Laws of Robotics which were devised  in 1942 by a famous science-fiction author. These laws would prevent any robot from doing harm to a human.

a. Who was this writer?

b. One of his stories was made into a film in 2004 with Will Smith in it. What film was it?

c. Try to complete the Three Laws:

  1. A robot may not ………………………… a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to ………………………….
  2. A robot must ………………………… the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would …………………………with the First Law.
  3. A robot must ………………………… its own existence as long as such protection does not …………………………with the First or Second Laws.

Nevertheless, it seems that things could get a bit dangerous according to Dr. Kaku, so we better do something to keep safe. Now, watch the following video in which Dr. Kaku shares his ideas about the possibility of robots killing humans and answer the questions below:

Say whether these are True or False (and don’t forget to provide evidence from the clip)

a) The reported asked the experts gathered at the conference about the possibility of robots beings as intelligent as humans.

b) The experts gave quite different answers.

c) Nowadays, computers triple their power every 18 months.

d) Silicon is the best material for chips as it is stable at high temperatures.

e) Substitutes for silicon, such as DNA or protein chips will be in use in the next decades.

f) Computer machines are as intelligent as dogs now.

g) if computer machines were as intelligent as monkeys, we could be in danger.

h) Dr. Kaku thinks a possible solution to murderous robots would be to use defective circuits.

1.en.8 Writing a Film Review: Cold Comfort Farm

We have watched and enjoyed the film Cold Comfort Farm. This is a comedy based on the book of the same name by writer Stella Gibbons published in  1932 .cold comfort farm,

Use the links below if you need to see it again (only part of the beginning is missing):

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Film Reviews

You are going to write a film review of the film, so let’s start by looking at what a film review is and what it is not:

  • A review is a piece of writing that gives information about something and may include opinions of the quality of that thing.
  • Based on reviews they have read, people often make decisions about where to go or what to do. There are many kinds of reviews that we read (and sometimes have to write) in daily life.
  • A film review is not a detailed explanation of everything that took place in the film.
  • The real purpose of writing a film review is to show why you liked or disliked a particular film, the film’s place among cinema, how the actors played their roles, and why someone should watch it.

Reviews can be factual (giving facts and information about a topic), or may express opinions of the writer about the topic. Most reviews are a combination of facts and opinions. The writer uses facts to support his or her opinions.

Let’s have a look at some examples:

A) This is from a Teenagers’ Magazine called Teen Ink

B) This is from a newspaper The Telegraph

How to write a Film Review

You will find some help about how to write a film review in the following links:

Bitesize 2

Austin Peay State University


You can also make use of these videos:

Here you will find some useful language:

Language of Film Reviews

Your Film review

Now you are ready to write your own Film Review. Remember the notes you took while watching Cold Comfort Farm and write a review of about 250 words.

Deadline 7 January 2013

1.en.7 Global Issues: International Solidarity

Last year in class we talked a lot about Global issues. Next Tuesday we are going to Caixafòrum to participate in a talk with Ignasi Carreras called Viure Solidàriament which is part of a series of talks called Trobades amb Compromís.

Look for information about him on the Internet and note down any information that you consider relevant.

What is his background: qualifications, job, others?

What do you think he is going to talk about?

International Solidarity

Read these two quotes:

In our interconnected world, the human family cannot enjoy security without development, cannot enjoy development without security, and cannot enjoy either without respect for human rights . . . to act on that understanding, we need a strong United Nations, and true solidarity among Governments and peoples working together to fulfil those goals.”

Kofi Annan, former United Nations Secretary-General

“In a world of common challenges, no nation can succeed on its own; but by working together in common cause, we can build a safer, more prosperous future for all. Solidarity must be the foundation for global solutions.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

What do you think about this? Do you agree with Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-moon?


The Headlines

Read these recent headlines.

What situation are they describing? Sit in groups and comment them.


Stop Poverty

How can we fight against poverty? Every year thousands of international volunteers collaborating with NGOs participate in campaigns and millions of dollars are donated and spent in aid programmes to stop poverty. Now, some people think that this might not be the best way to help people in need as it makes them dependable on international aid. Watch the following video showing a talk by Iqbal Quadir in which he advocates for a different approach.

Answer the following questions:

1. Who is Iqbal Quadir?        

2. Where is he from?                        

3. What was his job in the US?

4. Why has international aid failed, according to Mr. Quadir?                               

5. How can international aid be improved?

6. What is Mr. Quadir’s criticism towards the World Bank?

 7. How can we empower citizens?

8. What happened in Mr. Quadir’s country in 1979?   

9. Complete Mr. Quadir’s sentence: C…………………….. is P……………………… 

10.  What kind of weapon is the cell phone? 

11. Why people in poor countries don’t have cell phones?  

12. What kind of company did Mr. Quadir create?   

13. Who provided the technological expertise?

14. How many people benefit from the service the company provides?

15. Why does Mr. Quadir say that international aid has damaged poor people?

Copy the questions in your notebook and try to get the answers while you watch the video.


Slavery Footprint

Are you aware that your comsumption habits may contribute to human slavery?

It’s not easy to be a socially responsible consumer. Even if you buy mostly local products and diligently keep track of corporate environmental footprints, you may still be leaving a trail of slaves in your wake. After all, who do you think is digging up the minerals in your smartphone or picking the cotton for your T-shirts?

Watch the following video:

Now, click on the image below. It belongs to a website called Slavery Footprint. Use the application at home to look at your purchases and determine the amount of forced labour that’s gone into everything you own. The number may surprise you.

Bring the results to class.

Deadline Monday 29 October 2012   

1.en.6 A piece of news: A new British expedition to the South Pole

We have been talking about newspapers for some time now, so it is (high) time we started looking at newspapers articles.

This year the 100th anniversary of Robert F. Scott expedition to the South Pole and although it was only partly successful a famous British adventurer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, has decided to organise a new expedition to the South Pole to commemorate the centenary.  This was disclosed to the public last month and the news appeared in newspapers all over the world (I learnt about it on Spanish TV).

Look at the two photos. Could you say who is who?

Here you are four articles that appeared in several online newspapers at the end of September:

1. Read the article that your teacher has given you and select the 10 pieces of information that you consider essential in order to retell the story. Copy a grid similar to the one below in your notebook and fill it with the 10 details:

                                                 Information Grid

2. Now, together with the people who has read the same article try to agree on what are the most relevant details. Then write a summary of the story in your notebook.

3. Sit in small groups with people who read articles from different newspapers. Compare the headlines: are they similar? Then, read your summary aloud to your group and listen to other people’s summaries: Are there any differences or similarities between your summary and the other summaries? What are these? Could you tell the reason why?

1.en.5 Newspapers: Past & Present

1.History of the Newspaper

Modern technologies allow people to inform themselves about current events in a faster way than in the past. However, for an extended and deeper approach to news we will still need newspapers, either in the old paper versions or the newest online ones.

We are going to learn a bit about the history of newspapers in order to start wondering what is all this fuss about being informed. Watch the following video and answer the questions below:


True or False?

1. Roman citizens could buy Acta Diurna at the nearest newsagent.

2. Kaiyuan Za Bao was the first newspaper printed on paper.

3. Gazetta was the name of an ancient coin.

4. The oldest European newspaper is the London Gazette.

5. The funeral of the hero of Trafalgar was the first newspaper illustration.

6. Cartoons were first published in the XIX century.

7. The first newspaper to include news in its front page was the Daily Mirror.

8. The first tabloid was published at the beginning of the XX century.

2.Who reads the newspapers ?

Watch the following video. It’s from a British comedy called Yes, Prime Minister.

Yes, Prime Minister is a comedy sitcom which was very popular in the 1980s. It is set in the PM’s office. There are three main characters, Jim Hacker, The Prime Minister; Sir Humphrey Appleby, his permanent secretary and Bernard Woolley, his private secretary.

In the scene the PM and his permanent secretary comment on some recent news and the PM  classifies British newspapers by the people who read them.

Do you know the name of Britain’s current PM? Where does the British PM live? What public office in Spain  is the equivalent of that of PM? Where does he live? Who is currently holding this office in Spain?

Well, now you can watch the video and answer the questions below:

Questions 2:

1. What news has hit the headlines recently?

2. What has the PM decided to do about it? For what reason?

3. Look at the list of British newspapers in the box. What people read each of them according to the PM? Match the names of the newspapers with the descriptions.

 The Daily Telegraph     The Daily Mail     The Times     The Guardian            The Morning Star     The Financial Times     The Daily Mirror

a) People who think they run the country: …………………………………………………………

b) People who think they ought to run the country: …………………………………………….

c) People who actually do run the country: ………………………………………………………..

d) The wives of the people who run the country: ………………………………………………….

e) People who own the country: ……………………………………………………………………….

f) People who think the country ought to be run by another country: …………………….

g) People who think the country is run by another country: ………………………………….

4. Now, what people read The Sun according to Bernard, the PM’s private secretary ?

5. Think about Spanish National newspapers. Would you be able yo say what people read them? Do these newspapers cater for people with different social, political or religious views? You might need to ask an adult about this. I suggest you ask at home or somebody you trust. Bring the result of your interview to class. We will see whether everybody agrees.

DEADLINE: 15 October 2012

1.en.2 Celebrities speak foreign languages!!!

You might not know but many famous people can speak one or even more foreign languages. In the following video you will find celebrities that will surprise you because of their mastery in using them. Do you know any of them?

Did any of the celebrities surprise you?

Now try these two things.

1. Choose two of the celebrities, note down what languages they speak and how they learnt them. Then, find out who they are in order to write down a brief text about these two people.

2. Think of somebody from your social environment (family, relatives, acquaintances, friends) who can speak foreign languages (the more, the better).  Interview him/her about how and when they learnt them, how useful this has been for them and whether they recommend everybody to do the same. You will share your findings with the rest of the class.

Deadline: Friday, 5 October 2012