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Robot Baby to Increase Japanese Birthrate (23rd March, 2010)

Japanese students have created a robot that looks like a baby to get couples to have children. The birthrate in Japan is falling. The population may shrink by a third over the next 50 years. The students hope their new robot baby will reverse this trend. The baby is called Yotara. It really looks and acts like a real baby. It giggles, wakes up when it hears a rattle and smiles when someone rubs its tummy. Project leader Hiroki Kunimara said: "We wanted to create a new type of robot that is soft, cuddly and cute.”

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It’s amazing what they are doing with robots these days. The Yotara robot looks like a really good idea. Japan needs all the help it can get to increase its birthrate. If the population falls by thirty per cent, the country will have serious problems. It seems to make sense – people get to see and interact with the robot and that might encourage them to start a family or have more children. Maybe the robot has other purposes, such as in hospitals or schools. Many young Japanese people rarely get to hold a real baby these days.

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PHRASE MATCH

Match the following phrases from the article.

Paragraph 1

1.

a robot that looks

a.

this trend

2

The population may shrink

b.

like a baby

3.

reverse

c.

and cute

4.

wakes up when it

d.

of robot

5.

create a new type

e.

by a third

6.

soft, cuddly

f.

hears a rattle

 

Paragraph 2

1.

It’s amazing what they are

a.

get to hold a real baby

2

Japan needs all the help

b.

to start a family

3.

If the population falls

c.

doing with robots

4.

encourage them

d.

by thirty per cent

5.

the robot has

e.

it can get

6.

young Japanese people rarely

f.

other purposes


LISTENING GAP FILL

Japanese students have created a robot __________________ baby to get couples to have children. The birthrate in Japan is falling. The population may shrink __________________ next 50 years. The students hope their new robot baby __________________. The baby is called Yotara. It really looks and acts like a real baby. It giggles, wakes __________________ a rattle and smiles when someone rubs its tummy. Project leader Hiroki Kunimara said: "We wanted __________________ of robot that is soft, cuddly and cute.”

It’s amazing what __________________ robots these days. The Yotara robot looks like a really good idea. Japan needs all the __________________ increase its birthrate. If the population falls by thirty per cent, the country ___________________. It seems to make sense – people get __________________ with the robot and that might encourage them to start a family or have more children. Maybe the robot __________________, such as in hospitals or schools. Many young Japanese people __________________ real baby these days.


MULTIPLE CHOICE

Japanese students have (1) ____ a robot that looks like a baby to get couples to have children. The birthrate in Japan is (2) ____. The population may shrink by a (3) ____ over the next 50 years. The students hope their new robot baby will reverse this trend. The baby is called Yotara. It really looks and acts (4) ____ a real baby. It giggles, wakes up when it hears a rattle and smiles when someone rubs its tummy. Project leader Hiroki Kunimara said: "We wanted to create a new type (5) ____ robot that is soft, cuddly and cute.”

It’s amazing what they are doing with robots these (6) ____. The Yotara robot looks like a really good idea. Japan needs all the help it can get to increase its birthrate. If the population (7) ____ by thirty per cent, the country will have serious problems. It seems to make (8) ____ – people get to see and interact with the robot and that might encourage them to (9) ____ a family or have more children. Maybe the robot has other purposes, such as in hospitals or schools. Many young Japanese people rarely (10) ____ to hold a real baby these days.

Put the correct words from this table into the article.

1.

(a)

create

(b)

created

(c)

creation

2.

(a)

falling

(b)

fell

(c)

falls

3.

(a)

thirty

(b)

thirds

(c)

third

4.

(a)

so

(b)

like

(c)

as

5.

(a)

of

(b)

for

(c)

on

6.

(a)

daily

(b)

day

(c)

days

7.

(a)

fallen

(b)

falls

(c)

falling

8.

(a)

cents

(b)

sense

(c)

senses

9.

(a)

go

(b)

launch

(c)

start

10.

(a)

get

(b)

take

(c)

have


SPELLING

Spell the jumbled words (from the text) correctly.

Paragraph 1

1.

students have eetdrca a robot

2.

eopcsul to have children

3.

sreever this trend

4.

someone rubs its muytm

5.

tjcerop leader

6.

ldyduc and cute

 

Paragraph 2

7.

It’s igazmna

8.

ecearnsi its birthrate

9.

ruseois problems

10.

that might nrocueage them

11.

other osspuepr

12.

eyrlar get to hold a real baby


PUT THE TEXT BACK TOGETHER

Number these lines in the correct order.

(    )

interact with the robot and that might encourage them to start a family or have more children. Maybe the robot has other

1  )

Japanese students have created a robot that looks like a baby to get couples to have children. The birthrate

(    )

idea. Japan needs all the help it can get to increase its birthrate. If the population falls by thirty

(    )

robot baby will reverse this trend. The baby is called Yotara. It really looks and acts like a real baby. It giggles,

(    )

purposes, such as in hospitals or schools. Many young Japanese people rarely get to hold a real baby these days.

(    )

in Japan is falling. The population may shrink by a third over the next 50 years. The students hope their new

(    )

per cent, the country will have serious problems. It seems to make sense – people get to see and

(    )

It’s amazing what they are doing with robots these days. The Yotara robot looks like a really good

(    )

wakes up when it hears a rattle and smiles when someone rubs its tummy. Project

(    )

leader Hiroki Kunimara said: "We wanted to create a new type of robot that is soft, cuddly and cute.”


THE READING / TAPESCRIPT

With a partner, put the words back into the correct order.

1.

looks    like    a    baby    Students    have    created    a    robot    that.   

2.

is     birthrate     Japan     falling     The     in.    

3.

a     third     The     .     population     may     shrink     by

4.

real     It     and     a     looks     like     baby     really     acts.    

5.

robot     wanted     a     of     We     create     type     to     new.    

6.

what     are     amazing     they     doing     It’s.    

7.

a     idea     Yotara     like     good     The     looks     really     robot.     

8.

all     get     the     help     Japan     it     needs     can.    

9.

family     them     to     That     start     might     a     encourage.    

10.

to    hold    a    real    baby    these    days    People    rarely    get.   


DISCUSSION (Write your own questions)

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

1.

________________________________________________________

2.

________________________________________________________

3.

________________________________________________________

4.

________________________________________________________

5.

________________________________________________________

6.

________________________________________________________

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

1.

________________________________________________________

2.

________________________________________________________

3.

________________________________________________________

4.

________________________________________________________

5.

________________________________________________________

6.

________________________________________________________


WRITING

Write about robot babies for 10 minutes. Show your partner your paper. Correct each other’s work.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________


HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find more information about the Japanese robot baby. Talk about what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. MAGAZINE ARTICLE: Write a magazine article about the robot baby. Include imaginary interviews with two people who think this is a good idea and a bad idea. Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Give each other feedback on your articles.

4. WHAT HAPPENED NEXT? Write a newspaper article about the next stage in this news story. Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Give each other feedback on your articles.

5. LETTER: Write a letter to the creator of Yotara. Ask him/her three questions about robot babies. Give him/her three of your opinions on Yotara. Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Your partner will answer the questions you asked.

 

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