Activities

Reading comprehension

The objective of this activity is to practise the comprehension of a written text and write the answers in well-structured and complete sentences.

Read the following text and answer the questions below.

Electricity

Many people do not really understand how electricity works. They just know that when they need power to run an appliance, they have to plug it into the wall.

Energy comes from charged particles that are moving around. Have you ever rubbed a balloon against your clothes to make it stick? Have you held a balloon or a comb over someone’s head to watch his hair stand up straight? That’s static electricity and electrically charged particles. But these particles don’t do much unless we control their energy.

Static electricity builds up on certain materials. Other materials, though, let electrical charges flow through them. This creates an electric current. Electric current travels very easily through metals like copper, gold, silver and aluminium. Conductors allow electricity to flow through them. Pure water is not conductive. However, since the water from the tap, bath, kitchen sink, etc., contains impurities and dissolved minerals, which allows charge to flow, it will conduct electricity. That’s why electrical charges can travel through people, too. There is water in every cell of a person’s body. Electric current can travel through these cells.

Since metal is a good conductor of electricity, electrical wires are often made out of metal. Wiring can also be made out of non-metal materials, such as graphite.

Conductors have to be enclosed in a material that is an insulator.

Insulators do not allow electric current to pass through them. The rubber coating that you see on electrical cords covers the metal.

The electric current stays inside the cord so we can direct the current to the appliance that needs power. Other good insulators are glass and some plastics.

Comprehension questions:

  1. The text mentions two good conductors of electricity, could you name them?
  2. How is static electricity different from electric current?
  3. Can electric current flow through the human body?
  4. What are electrical wires often made of?
  5. In your own words, explain the difference between a conductor and an insulator.
  6. What is your experience with electricity? Write a short text describing an anecdote, something that happened to you in relation to electrical appliances, when changing a fluorescent or a fuse, manipulating a transistor, etc.

  1. Two materials that are good conductors of electricity are water and metal.
  2. Static electricity consists of charged particles moving around the air. Electric current is the controlled flow of charged particles.
  3. Yes, it can.
  4. Electrical wires are often made of metal.
  5. A conductor allows electric current to pass through it easily. An insulator does not.
  6. Once, while I was ironing my clothes and watching TV, the iron fell on the floor and suddenly there was a lot of smoke. I was scared and called the emergency services. They advised me to unplug the iron and call an electrician to check the circuit breaker.

Translation: English to Spanish

The objective of this activity is to learn how to use an automatic translator to translate an English text and be aware of the possible mistakes implied in the use of such a resource.

Use an automatic translator and translate the following text into Catalan. Then review the text and check if there are any mistakes. Correct them if necessary.

Computers

While a computer can, in theory, be made out of almost anything, and mechanical examples of computers have existed through much of recorded human history, the first electronic computers were developed in the mid-20th century (1940–1945). Originally, they were the size of a large room, consuming as much power as several hundred modern personal computers (PCs). Modern computers based on integrated circuits are millions to billions of times more capable than the early machines and occupy a fraction of the space. Simple computers are small enough to fit into mobile devices and can be powered by a small battery. Personal computers in their various forms are icons of the Information Age and are what most people think of as “computers”. However, the embedded computers found in many devices from MP3 players to fighter aircraft and from toys to industrial robots are the most numerous.

From Wikipedia

Translator version (based on Google translator):

Mentre que un ordinador pot, en teoria , ser feta de gairebé qualsevol cosa , i exemples mecàniques d’ordinadors han existit a través de gran part de la història humana , les primeres computadores electròniques es van desenvolupar en la meitat del segle 20 ( 1940-1945) . Originalment , eren de la mida d’una habitació gran , consumeix tanta energia com diversos centenars d’ordinadors personals moderns ( PC ) . Els ordinadors moderns basats en circuits integrats milions a milers de milions de vegades més poderós que les primeres màquines i ocupen una fracció de l’espai. Ordinadors simples són prou petit com per cabre en els dispositius mòbils i poden ser alimentats per una petita bateria . Ordinadors personals en les seves diverses formes són icones de l’era de la informació i són el que la majoria de la gent considera com ” ordinadors” . No obstant això , els ordinadors integrats es troben en molts dispositius dels reproductors de MP3 als avions de combat i de joguines als robots industrials són els més nombrosos.

Corrected version (corrections in bold type):

Mentre que un ordinador pot, en teoria, estar fet de gairebé qualsevol cosa, i exemples d’ordinadors mecànics han existit durant la major part de la història humana documentada, els primers ordinadors electrònics es van desenvolupar a mitjan segle XX (1940-1945). Originalment, eren de la mida d’una habitació gran, i consumien tanta energia com diversos centenars d’ordinadors personals moderns (PCs). Els ordinadors moderns basats en circuits integrats són de milions a mils de milions de vegades més potents que les primeres màquines i ocupen una fracció de l’espai del que ocupaven aquestes. Els ordinadors senzills són prou petits com per cabre en els dispositius mòbils i poden ser alimentats per una petita bateria. Els ordinadors personals en les seves diverses formes són icones de l’era de la informació i són el que la majoria de gent considera com “ordinadors”. No obstant això, els ordinadors integrats, que es troben en molts dispositius, des dels reproductors MP3 als avions de combat, i des de les joguines a robots industrials, són els més nombrosos.

Translation: Spanish to English

The objective of this activity is to learn how to use an automatic translator in order to write an English text and be aware of the possible mistakes implied in the use of such a resource.

Translate the following text into English by means of an automatic translator. Review the English text and then correct any possible mistakes.

Energia solar

L’energia solar tèrmica se sol usar per a escalfar aigua. És molt habitual a hotels, on s’aprofita sobretot per l’aigua utilitzada per a rentar els llençols, tovalloles i estovalles. Els usuaris particular l’usen per al bany, la rentadora, el rentaplats, piscines, etc. A més, també es pot fer passar aquesta aigua calenta per sota del terra per a escalfar-ho, en comptes d’un altre tipus de calefacció.

L’energia solar fotovoltaica s’usa de la mateixa manera que l’electricitat provinent de centrals tèrmiques, nuclears, hidràuliques o de qualsevol altre mena. És possible emmmagatzemar-la durant un cert temps. En moments en els quals el consum d’electricitat és menor que la producció, l’excés es pot vendre a la xarxa, perquè se n’aprofitin altres persones. En canvi, hi haurà moments en què l’obtinguda no és suficient per al que necessitem, llavors cal aportar a més electricitat d’altres fonts, com per exemple la xarxa elèctrica habitual.

From Wikipedia

Translator version (based on Google translator):

Solar Energy

Solar thermal energy is often used to heat water. It is very common in hotels, which is used primarily for water used to wash the sheets, towels and tablecloths. Individual users to use the bathroom, washing machine, dishwasher, swimming pools, etc. Also, you can spend this hot water below the earth to heat it instead of other types of heating.

Photovoltaic solar energy is used in the same way that electricity from power plants, nuclear, hydraulic or any other kind. Emmmagatzemar it is possible for some time. At times when electricity consumption is lower than production, the excess can be sold on the network, so exploit others. Instead, there will be times when obtained is not enough for what we need, then you need to provide more electricity from other sources, such as the common grid.

Corrected version (corrections in bold type):

Solar Energy

Solar thermal energy is often used to heat water. It is very common in hotels, where it is used primarily for water used to wash the sheets, towels and tablecloths. Individual users use it for the bathroom, washing machine, dishwasher, swimming pools, etc. Also, you can make this hot water flow under the floor to heat it instead of other types of heating.

Photovoltaic solar energy is used in the same way like electricity from power plants, nuclear, hydraulic or any other kind. It is possible to store it for some time. At times when electricity consumption is lower than production, the excess can be sold to the network, so that others can benefit from it. Alternatively, there will be times when the energy obtained is not enough for what we need, then you need to provide more electricity from other sources, such as the common grid.

(1) The relative pronoun “where” is replacing the phrase “in hotels”. We cannot use the pronoun “which”, as it would replace only the word “hotels” and we need to convey the idea of a place, not a thing.

It” stands for “solar thermal energy”. In English, unlike other Roman languages, we always need a subject.

(2) In the Google translation we get a grammatically incorrect sentence: “Individual users to use the bathroom...”. We cannot use “to”, as it is the infinitive and the sentence would not be understood.

Apart from that, the meaning of this sentence is not the same in Catalan. The meaning of the English automated translation is: “Els usuaris individuals usen el bany, la rentadora, el rentaplats, piscines, etc.”, which is not the same meaning as the original. In order to obtain the same meaning we have added “it” in the correction, which refers to “hot water”.

(3) According to some dictionaries, the word “passar” means “spend” in English. Unfortunately, it is not true for all contexts. You can “spend some time doing something”, but water does not “spend”, water “flows”. In fact, in this case, the translation offered by the automated translator is meaningless. “Below” is not the correct preposition and “Earth” is the planet “Earth”. When we refer to “el terra” in a house, we use the word “floor” in English.

(4) The pronoun “that” makes the sentence lose coherence in English. The actual meaning is “the way in which energy is used”. We can get this meaning with the word “like”.

(5) See how the word “Emmagatzemar” is not in Google translator’s database. The translation is “store”.

it” has been added to refer to “energy”. In the Catalan version it is understood, but not in English.

(6) The sentence so exploit others does not have a meaning in English, it is completely wrong. First, it does not have a subject. Secondly, the meaning is quite different in Catalan. In the English sentence it looks as if “someone or something is exploiting others”, whereas the Catalan sentence means that “others exploit something”. Besides, the word “benefit” is the one that conveys the meaning of the Catalan version.

(7) In the English version, we do not know what is obtained. In Catalan, the pronoun “l’” stands for “the energy”, but in the English automated translation it has been disregarded.

Answer yes/no questions

The objective of this activity is to practise the answer to yes/no questions, and use the auxiliary verbs appropriately.

Answer these questions about yourself with “yes” or “no”, adding the information that you think is necessary.

  1. Are you married?
  2. Have you got any children?
  3. Are you currently working?
  4. Have you got your own car?
  5. Do you speak any foreign languages?
  6. Have you worked in a similar post before?
  7. Do you like dealing with people?
  8. Are you good at working in a team?

Suggested answers:

  1. Yes, I am / No, I’m not
  2. Yes, I have. (Two daughters) / No, I haven’t.
  3. Yes, I am (I’m working at …) / No, I’m not (I have no job at the moment)
  4. Yes, I have / No, I haven’t (I can’t drive actually)
  5. Yes, I do (I speak English) / No, I don’t (but I’m learning English)
  6. Yes, I have (I have worked as a …) / No, I haven’t
  7. Yes, I do / No, I don’t (I prefer working in the office)
  8. Yes, (I think) I am / No, I’m not (I’m much better at individual work)

Punctuation

The objective of this activity is to practice the use of punctuation when writing a text.

Re-write the following text with the correct punctuation (commas, stops, capital letters, etc.)

Text with no punctuation:

a network is a complex system that is composed of many different elements as for example the cabling a workstation and a server among many others there are differet types of connection in a network the different shapes of a network connection are called topologies and there are four types star ring bus and mesh thanks to the networks a person in spain can connect with his australian friends in only seconds

Suggested answers

A network is a complex system that is composed of many different elements, as for example , the cabling , a workstation and a server , among many others . There are differet types of connection in a network . The different shapes of a network connection are called topologies and there are four types : star , ring , bus and mesh . Thanks to the networks , a person in Spain can connect with his Australian friends in only seconds .

Use of online dictionaries

The objective of this activity is to practice the use of an online dictionary to get information about a word.

Go to the English-Spanish section of the Wordreference online dictionary and look up the words in bold type in the text below. Then write the part of speech and the meaning of each word in this specific context, as in the example.

Computers

A computer is a machine that changes information according to well defined rules. Computers have existed for much of human history. Examples of early computers are the astrolabe and the abacus. Modern computers have changed very much. They are able to control traffic lights, cars or locks. Most modern computers can be used to play music or video. The basic principle is still the same though: the computer has a set of rules, usually called an algorithm. The computer changes information based on these rules.

From the Wikipedia

Example: machine: sustantivo; máquina

  1. able:
  2. locks:
  3. still:
  4. though:
  5. set:
  6. rules:

Answers

  1. able: adjetivo; capaz; to be…to; poder
  2. locks: sustantivo; cerraduras
  3. still: adverbio; aún, todavía
  4. though: adverbio; sin embargo
  5. set: sustantivo; serie, conjunto
  6. rules: sustantivo; reglas, normas

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Types of circuits: Series and parallel
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Self-correcting exercices