In this activity, students are given key phrases from the video before watching it. Students use these phrases to construct a narrative – a predictive description of how the experiment works and what they think happens.
- Language level: Intermediate (B1) +
- Learner type: Teens; Adults; CLIL
- Time: 50 minutes
- Activity: Speaking
- Topic: Fairness, morality and ethics
- Language: Describing an experiment; Present tenses
- Materials: Video clip
Lesson plan outline
- Show students the book cover image which can be downloaded here. Ask them to translate the phrase It’s not fair! into their own language and find out if it is something that they used to say when they were children. If so, ask them to share their stories.
- Elicit the following words and write them on the board:
- Tell students that you are going to show them an excerpt from a 2010 publicity video for a British political party. Play the first 20 seconds of this clip.
- Ask students if they are aware of any political campaigns from their own backgrounds that centred around the idea of fairness.
- Suggest that the video clip demonstrates the importance of fairness to humans. But despite the importance, the word fairness can be difficult to define. Tell students that for the next 5 minutes, they are going to be dictionary writers. Ask them to write definitions for either the adjective fair or the noun fairness. Also ask them to include synonyms and collocations if possible. This will work best if students collaborate in pairs or small groups.
- Allow a spokesperson from each group to share their definition with the rest of the class before looking at some real dictionary definitions of the words (here, for example).
- Ask students to recall a time in their lives (the memory of an experience or an incident, etc.) that that involved unfairness. Put them into pairs or small groups and ask them to share their stories. This could be done as a writing activity.
- Tell students that you are going to show them a video in which a man called Frans de Waal demonstrates a famous experiment on fairness. Write the following phrases on the board:
Positive adjective: Fair | Negative adjective: Unfair
Positive noun: Fairness | Negative noun: Unfairness
- “A very famous experiment”
- “A fairness study”
- “A simple task”
- “Slices of cucumber”
- “Creating inequity”
Tell students that these are phrases which Frans uses in the video to explain the experiment to us. Make sure that they are aware that the word study means research project and inequity is a synonym of unfairness.
Put students into pairs or small groups to try and answer the following questions:
- How does the experiment work?
- How does the experimenter create inequity?
- What do you think happens as a result?
Follow up ideas are included in the PDF download.
The capuchin monkey photograph used in this activity was taken by David M Jensen and was found on Wikimedia Commons.
The video clip used in this activity is an excerpt from a TED talk by Frans de Waal: Moral behavior in animals.