Sunday, October 25, 2015

Pompeii: Pompeii

Pompeii has an amazing history and its site is truly worth visiting. The movie tries to show a bit of that historical eruption. Pompeii is an open air museum and knowing about its history is enriching.

I. Let's play a game. The teacher reads the statements that will follow. The students receive two tags written TRUE and FALSE. When the teacher finishes reading each sentence, the students raise their tags together when the teacher says GO! If a student raises the tag after or before the teacher says GO!, he can't score a point. 

1. Mt. Vesuvius is still one of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes.

2. Although the eruption caught people off guard, the signs had been coming for years.

3. The eruption was catastrophic, lasting from 10 to 12 hours. 

4. We know much of what happened from an eyewitness account.

5. Thousands of people were buried alive.

6. There were various attempts to rebuild the cities.

7. It had happened before.

8. It can't happen again.

9. The eruption of Vesuvius was quite sudden, and many of Pompeii’s inhabitants lost their lives while going about their daily work.

II. Watch the movie segment and discuss the questions.

1. Describe the scene. What were people doing during the eruption?

2. Do you think people realized what could happen to them? Why (not)?

3. How do you think the inhabitants of that area would react to the same event nowadays?

4. Why do so many people still live near volcanoes, knowing an eruption could kill them at any given moment? 

5. What are the threats nature imposes to your living area? What are your major problems (volcanoes, earthquakes, floods, storms, tornadoes, tsunamis, cyclones, pollution, avalanches, sand storms, fire, drought, etc)?

GAME: Answer key:

1. T

2. T

3. F 
It lasted more than 24 hours.

4. T 
There is a detailed account of the eruption thanks to Pliny the Younger, who was a Roman administrator and poet. He watched the eruption from afar and questioned survivors, and then wrote of the event in letters to his friend Tacitus. 

5. T 
At that time, around 20,000 people — manufacturers, merchants, and farmers — lived in Pompeii, and another 5,000 lived in Herculaneum. Many of the people who did not flee when the eruption started were buried alive by ash and other molten material. It is estimated that about 16,000 people died in the eruption.

6. F 
There was no attempt to rebuild the cities

7. T 
Though the Romans didn’t know it at the time, Mt. Vesuvius had erupted catastrophically at least twice before.

8. F

Mt. Vesuvius is still considered an active volcano. The most recent eruption occurred in 1944, and experts believe that a massive eruption could happen again soon, posing potential danger to the more than 2 million people who now live in the area.

9. T

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Quiet Ones & Magic in the Moonlight: Supernatural


By definition, a supernatural or paranormal phenomenon is an event that defies explanation in terms of the typical human experience. In other words, it is something that science can't explain; at least not yet. 

Discuss the questions with a partner:

1. Do you believe in supernatural activities? Justify it.

2. Here are some supernatural phenomena know around the world. Do you believe them? Why do so many people believe them? Talk about each one of the phenomena below:

Adapted from:

- Ghosts - might be considered the grand-daddy of paranormal experiences. Everyone has some level of curiosity about what happens when they die. Is there really life after physical death? Are spirits capable of communicating with the living? 

Haunting - paranormal experiences that are typically attached to a location. 

Poltergeist : A type of energy that attach to people, causing unusual mayhem and activity wherever an affected person goes. Objects moving by themselves, cupboard doors opening on their own and projectiles thrown by unseen forces all fall under the heading of poltergeist activity.

Intelligent haunting: The classic type of haunting where a spirit attempts to interact with living beings at a particular location.

UFOs: Has Earth been visited by beings from another world? Does life exist beyond the earth's atmosphere? Have contacts been made? Have people been abducted by UFOs?

Cryptozoology (Cryptids) : A fascinating branch of paranormal research is all about animals as yet unidentified and cataloged by conventional science. Big foot, The Monster of the Lake Ness, Chupacabras ...

Myths and legends - This category includes famous legendary creatures such as werewolves, vampires, zombies... 

Metaphysical Phenomena: Reincarnation, telepathy, telekinesis, clairvoyance...

* Watch the movie segment from Magic in the Moonlight and answer the questions:


1. What kind of supernatural phenomenon is shown in the segment? What can she actually do with the powers?

2. Do you believe she has supernatural powers? Why (not)?

3. What are the advantages and disadvantages of having such a supernatural power?

4. Would you like to have that ability?

* Watch the movie segment from The Quiet Ones  and answer the questions:


1. What kind of supernatural phenomenon is shown in the segment? What can the boy, Michael,  actually do with the powers?

2. Do you believe she has supernatural powers? Why (not)?

3. What are the advantages and disadvantages of having such a supernatural power?

4. Would you like to have that ability?