High-Altitude Wind Energy from Kites, by Saul Griffith

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Energy… climate change… technology… these are are all common IELTS topics, and in this TED video we can see them being discussed by Saul Griffith. Let’s watch this fascinating video together and practice our listening skills!

Collocations

First, let’s practice some of the vocabulary from the video. Below are several common collocated phrases that Saul uses while discussing wind power. They have been split up. Join them together. (Answers can be found below)

generate a target
clean up
hit electricity
working plans
audacious the use of something
power energy
pioneer towards

 

Listen

Main Idea

Next, let’s do a bit of practice speaking. Watch the video and focus on the main idea. Make notes on what you hear, but don’t worry too much about the details. For now, ignore numbers and names. Just focus on the key concepts.

After watching the video, discuss with a partner what it is about.

Say:

  • What the man wants to do and why he wants to do it.
  • Do you think he will be successful or not? Why?

 

Listen for Details

Now, let’s listen more closely. Listen and explain the significance of the numbers below by filling in the blanks:

30 knots the __________ at which his hydrofoil can travel
1000 years _________ have a history that is this old
1827 George Pocock used kites for racing in _________
12 seconds the length of time taken by the first ever ________
1970s there was an _______ crisis
12 terawatts humans can generate this much energy from _________________
above 300 feet where the ________ of wind power is located
100 kilowatts “Here we are _________ 100 kilowatts.”
747 can generate ___ megawatts
100,000 number of _________  being made there in 1945

 

Speaking

Here are some practice speaking questions that relate to the video. Try practicing these with a partner, or perhaps add your answer to the comment section below.

  1. What kinds of “clean” energy do you know?
  2. What do you think about wind power?
  3. What are some of the disadvantages of wind power?
  4. How would you feel if there were wind turbines in your hometown providing power to the community?
  5. Do you think humans will remain dependent upon fossil fuels in the future?
  6. In 2050, how will society provide power for our cities?

Answers

Collocations

generate electricity
working towards
power up
hit a target
clean electricity
pioneer the use of

audacious plans

Listening for Details

30 knots – speed

1000 years – kites

1827 – England

12 seconds – flight

1970s – energy

12 terawatts – fossil fuels

above 300 feet – majority

100 kilowatts – generating

747 – 6

100,000 – planes

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Author: David S. Wills

David S. Wills is the author of Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the 'Weird Cult' and the founder/editor of Beatdom literary journal. He lives and works in rural China, and loves to travel.

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