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ESL / EFL Lesson Plan on Airplane Toilets

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Airplane toilet drama


Sunday November 7, 2004
Pre-Intermediate +

ACTIVITIES

1. Talk to your partner about toilets (on airplanes & trains, in McDonalds or public toilets, at train stations & airports, the school toilet or your own toilet, your country’s and other country’s toilets…)

2. Look at the newspaper headline. Can you guess what the article will be about?

3. In a dictionary and find the meanings of the words   flushed    anger   horror
    Do you now have a better idea about the story?

4. Read the article. In pairs, choose the correct words from those in italics:

Airplane toilet drama

 

An American woman did not need to tie / fasten / clip  her seatbelt yesterday on a transatlantic / transport / transit  flight from London to New York. While she was sitting on the toilet, a high-pressure vacuum sealed / glued / nailed her to the toilet seat, making it impossible for her to stand up.

Last night the woman filed a nail / complaint / folder  with United Airlines after her embarrassing ordeal / time / moment on the Boeing 747 flight.

She got sucked in after pushing the doors open / emergency / flush button while seated, starting a system to clean the toilet by vacuum. She was a large woman so there were no air spaces between her ass / arse / butt / behind and the toilet seat.

She could not get up by herself and had to sit on the floor / toilet / plane until the flight had landed / taxied / taken off so that the airport technicians could help her get loose. “She was glued / stuck / flying there for over three hours,” an airline spokesperson explained.


 
 

5. Cover your text and listen to your teacher reading the article. Check to make sure you made the right choices.

6. Talk with your partner about the text. (Have three conversations starting with “I can’t believe…)

7. Look at the other words in italics from the text. Find / explain the meaning of these with your partner/group. Your teacher will help you.

8. Below is what the woman said about her ordeal. Number them in the correct order:

(   )   I thought to myself that something strange was happening.

(   )   I boarded the plane.

(   )   It was a huge relief when the technicians arrived, but I was very angry

(   )   I waited for the ‘toilets occupied’ light to go off.

(   )   After I’d finished, I pushed the flush button.

(   )   I sat in my seat and read the inflight magazines.

(   )   I sat on the seat, and .... ooooooAll 33 Chilean miners rescued  ... it was heaven!

(   )   I thought I was going to die.

(   )   I decided not to bang or shout for help - it was too embarassing.

(   )   I was dying to go to the toilet.

(   )   I imagined myself being sucked inside the airplane and being spat out of the back of the plane.

(   )   Then suddenly it felt like I was stuck to the seat. I couldn’t get up.

9. Here are some questions her best friend asked her later. Can you write 3 more questions to ask her?
When you have finished take turns in asking the questions – your partner will role play the large lady, you will role play her best friend.

            How did you get stuck?

            Why didn’t you call for help?

            What did you think about while you were stuck to the toilet?

            How did you feel when you were rescued?

            How do you feel now?

           Will you fly again?

10.  Role play the meeting between the large, angry, shocked, hurt lady (Student A) and the airline staff (Student B).
Before beginning the role play, Student A writes down what she wants from the airline.
After the role play, Students A get together in pairs/groups, and Students B get together in different groups. Talk about your meeting.

11. Decide in pairs what kind of compensation the lady should receive.

12.  Increase your vocabulary knowledge. Look in a dictionary and write down which words come before or after these:

            trans----      fasten      pressure     embarassing  vacuum      horror

13.  With your partner, group (or for homework) think of four questions you’d like to ask the rest of the group / your teacher / your partner, about flying. Ask as many people as you can and report back to your original partner/group, or the class.

14. Talk with your partner about flying.

15. Describe something that happened to you recently in great detail (you have to think of every small thing that happened, minute by minute).

16. A drama is a kind of theatrical play, and some event-filled happening in our life. Describe any dramas you`ve had to your partner ( a flying drama, a hospital drama, a cooking drama, a boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse drama ...).

17. Airplane Toilet Survey: Write down 3 questions you would like to ask your partner / other class members about airplane toilets. Ask a number of students and share your answers with the class / your group / partner.

18. You are the lady from the article. Write a letter to the airline explaining what happened and what kind of compensation you would like.

19. You are the president of the toilet company. Write instructions on how to use an airplane toilet correctly.

20. On the Internet, check out how airplane toilets work. Go to <http://travel.howstuffworks.com/question314.htm>

ANSWERS:

#4 - Choosing the correct words
fasten / transatlantic / sealed (although 'glued' also acceptable) / complaint / ordeal / flush / 'behind' is the most polite, others acceptable in informal conversation / toilet / landed / stuck (although 'glued' also acceptable)

 
#8 - Numbering the lady's ordeal

( 7 )   I thought to myself that something strange was happening.

( 1 )   I boarded the plane.

( 12 )   It was a huge relief when the technicians arrived, but I was very angry

( 4 )   I waited for the ‘toilets occupied’ light to go off.

( 6 )   After I’d finished, I pushed the flush button.

( 2 )   I sat in my seat and read the inflight magazines.

( 5 )   I sat on the seat, and .... oooooo  ... it was heaven!

( 11 )   I thought I was going to die.

( 9 )   I decided not to bang or shout for help - it was too embarassing.

( 3 )   I was dying to go to the toilet.

( 10 )   I imagined myself being sucked inside the airplane and being spat out of the back of the plane.

( 8 )   Then suddenly it felt like I was stuck to the seat. I couldn’t get up.

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