Listening

Warm Up

Helpful Words and Phrases

Listen and repeat.

  1. lightning
    • ex. We just saw lightning, so you should get out of the pool.
  2. a physicist
    • ex. My daughter loves science and wants to become a physicist.
  3. a power outage
    • ex. The hurricane may cause power outages.
  4. predict
    • ex. They predicted that we’re going to get lots of snow this winter.
  5. infrastructure
    • ex. The government wants to improve highways, bridges, and other types of infrastructure.

Article

Read the article below and answer your tutor's questions.

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Scientists have created a giant laser to try to control lightning. They’ve installed the 5,000-kilogram, 9-meter-long laser on Mount Säntis, an area in the Swiss Alps that’s hit by lightning hundreds of times every year. The scientists hope that this new technology will help protect airports, skyscrapers, forests, and other places that are negatively affected by lightning.

The team of scientists spent four years creating the giant laser. They were led by Jean-Pierre Wolf, a Swiss physicist who studies how to control the weather with lasers. The scientists hope to use the laser to safely guide lightning from storm clouds to areas where it won’t cause damage.

Every year, lightning starts forest fires, causes power outages, and hurts or kills people and animals all over the world. It creates billions of euros (trillions of yen) of damage, and experts predict that it will only get worse in the near future. Climate change is creating stronger storms, increasing the chances that lightning will hit important infrastructure.

Discussion

Choose a topic and discuss the questions with your tutor.

Lightning and Storms

  • Scientists hope to use the laser to guide lightning from storm clouds to areas where it won't cause damage. In your opinion, is this a good idea? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Do you think it's safe to be outside when there's a storm? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • In English, it’s often said that lightning never hits the same place twice. Do you think this is true? Why or why not? Discuss.

Weather

  • Do you think that humans will be able to control the weather in the future? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Do you agree that climate change is creating stronger storms? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Do you trust the weather forecast in your area? Why or why not? Discuss.