English for Special Purposes- Engineering Dimensions & Comparing Games


Describing and comparing technologies games

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Lesson Plan Content:

Engineering vocabulary dimensions and comparing games

Numbers, comparatives and making uncountable nouns countable

Part One: Definitions and comparatives guessing game

Choose one of the words below and describe it, starting with its dimensions, until your partner guesses what it is. They can only guess once for each hint that you give. If they are wrong, compare the real object and what they guessed, e.g. “No, it’s (much/ quite a lot/ a bit/ a tiny bit) longer than a ruler”.

Useful phrases for describing objects


It weighs…

It is … high/ wide/ tall/ long/ thick.

Its dimensions are… by … (by…)

Its surface area/ volume/ radius/ diameter/ circumference/ height/ width/ length is…

Its biggest/ smallest/ most important part is…

The biggest/ heaviest/ smallest/ lightest example of this is…

It weighs/ costs + twice/ three times/ four times as much as…


Other properties

It costs…

It lasts for…

You need… to use it/ make it.

It’s made of (more or less)… parts.

You can draw one with… circles/ squares/ rectangles/ ovals/ triangles.


Other numbers

There are… in this office/ building/ street/ area/ town.

It was invented in…/ The first one in this city/ country…/ It has been around for…

I see/ use/ pass this … a day/ week/ month/ year.

It’s usually… above the ground/ from the door.

The one I designed/ use/ usually see/ have is…



Approximately/ About/ Around/ More or less

Between … and…

(Just) under/ Less than/ Up to/ Almost… – (Just) over/ More than…

(Almost) exactly…

On average…

I imagine/ estimate/ think…



a 40W light bulb


a bag of cement


a ball of string


a bath plug


a bathroom tile


a bed spring


a bicycle pump


a nut and bolt


a bulldog clip


a Bunsen burner


a calculator’s solar panel

a camera tripod


a TV aerial (= antenna)

a car dashboard


a gear lever


a coat hook


a cog from a wind-up toy

a desk lamp


a door hinge


a door knob


a dustbin


a fluorescent lighting strip

a garden hose


a hard hat


a house brick


a household fan


a freezer


a kitchen bin (= garbage can)

a lab coat


a laptop’s transformer

a laser beam


a mechanical (= automatic) pencil

a padlock


a pair of pliers


a pair of rubber gloves

a pair of goggles

a pair of tweezers


a Phillips screwdriver

a pill battery


a pocket torch (= flashlight)

a projector remote control

a protractor


a pushchair axle


a ramp into a driveway

a roll of sewing thread

a school microscope

a screw


a set square


a sheet of bubble wrap

a smoke detector


a soldering iron


a spanner (= a wrench)

a spirit level


a steering wheel


a stepladder


a sushi-bar conveyor belt

a tape measure


a tube of superglue

a sink’s U bend pipe

a USB (memory) (stick)

a hoover (= vacuum cleaner)

a vacuum flask (= a Thermos)

a voltmeter/ a multi-meter

a washer from a tap (= a faucet)

a whiteboard magnet

an AA battery


an accelerator pedal

an air conditioner filter

an electric drill


an electrical outlet (= socket)

a two-pin plug


an extension cable

an oil funnel


an oscilloscope


a set of kitchen scales


Do the same with other objects connected to science and engineering.

Part Two: Comparatives pelmanism

Ask your partner and then the class about any words above that you don’t understand.

Choose two of the words in the list and compare them in some way, e.g. “A bicycle pump is simpler than a sushi bar conveyor belt”. If your partner accepts that your statement is true and that your grammar was okay you can cross those two off and write your name on it. You must use a different adjective each time.

Suggested adjectives

Use the adjectives below to help you with the random pelmanism game if you get stuck.

  • bendy/ flexible – inflexible/ stiff
  • blunt - sharp
  • bright – dark/ dull
  • brittle/ delicate/ easily damaged/ fragile – hard wearing/ shock resistant
    dated/ old fashioned/ out of date – high tech/ up to date
  • bulky – portable
  • buoyant
  • cheap/ good value – expensive
  • clean – dirty
  • cold/ cool – hot/ warm
  • common – rare
  • complex/ complicated – simple
  • curved – straight
  • dangerous – safe
  • deep – shallow
  • difficult to… - easy to…
  • dry – wet
  • effective – ineffective
  • efficient – inefficient/ wasteful
  • fast/ quick – slow
  • fire resistant – flammable
  • flat
  • hard – soft/ spongy
  • heavy – light
  • leaky - waterproof/ watertight
  • long – short
  • matt/ unreflective - reflective/ shiny
  • narrow – wide
  • necessary – unnecessary
  • noisy – quiet
  • pointy - rounded
  • powerful/ strong – weak
  • rough – smooth
  • short – tall
  • slippery – sticky
  • smelly
  • specialised – standard
  • stable – unstable/ wobbly
  • symmetrical – unsymmetrical
  • thick – thin
  • useful

Part Three: Grammar – Making things countable

Can you remember the missing words from these expressions? You will sometimes need to use the same word more than once.

  • a _______ of cement
  • a ________ of string
  • a ________ of rubber gloves
  • a _________ of pliers
  • a _________ of goggles
  • a __________ of tweezers
  • a __________ of sewing thread
  • a __________ of bubble wrap
  • a ______________ of kitchen scales
  • a ____________ of superglue

Check your answers with the first worksheet.

What other similar words can you think of? 

---------------------------------cover, fold or cut-----------------------------------------

Suggested answers

  • bar of
  • barrel of
  • bottle of
  • bowl of
  • box of
  • bucket of
  • can/ tin of
  • carton of
  • cup of
  • packet of
  • piece of
  • sachet of
  • spoonful of
  • tank of

For homework, think of or find at least three way of completing each phrase above.

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