Office Equipment Inventions- Past Tense review

A LESSON PLAN FOR ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHERS

Describing how things were invented with narrative tenses, with Technical English vocabulary

Guess the office equipment inventions past tense review

Worksheet 1 – Office equipment 20 questions

Choose one of the typical pieces of office equipment below. Answer Yes/ No questions like “Do you use it everyday?” until your partner guesses which one you chose.

Tippex (= correcting fluid= liquid paper)                             A pencil sharpener

A hole punch                                 Post its                             A Dictaphone (= voice recorder)

A ruler                                             A notice board                 A headset

A paper clip                                   Thumbtacks (= drawing pins)     An ashtray

A laptop                                          A wastepaper basket (= a bin)   A mouse pad

A stapler                                         A drinks machine                          A fire alarm

A box of staples                            A vending machine                      A smoke detector

A calculator                                   A ballpoint (pen) = A biro             Pot plants

A pair of scissors                          A fountain pen                Lockers

An A4 ring binder                         Bookends                                      A coat rack

A ream of photocopy paper       Bookshelves                   A projector screen

A diary                              A cubicle                                        An umbrella stand

A date stamp                                 An intercom                                   An automatic pencil      

An address book                          A mobile phone              A (permanent) marker  

A photocopier                  A fax (machine)              A picture frame

A mouse                                         A monitor                                       A projector

An answer machine                     Sellotape                                       A video cabinet

An eraser                                       Blinds                                             A glue stick (= a Pritt stick)

A rubber band                 An electronic dictionary A box of tissues                           

A printer                                         An instruction manual    A whiteboard marker

An envelope                                  A clipboard                                    A briefcase       

A (postage) stamp                        A desk calendar                            A light switch

A desk lamp                                  A business card holder  A plug

A filing cabinet                A key ring                                      A socket

A cupboard                                    A partition                                      A security badge

Some drawers                A board room table                      A coat hangar

A tube of glue                 A swivel chair                  A button

A water cooler                 A notepad                                      A bulb

A fire extinguisher                        A first aid box                  A fluorescent light

Ask about anything above which you don’t understand, couldn’t make or answer questions about, etc.

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Worksheet 2

Guess the name of the office equipment below

This was invented by a Hungarian called Laszlo Biro, who was working for a newspaper and was annoyed at wasting so much time filling fountain pens with ink.

I think this is the _________________________

 

This was invented by Dick Drew, the same man who had earlier invented masking tape who was working for 3M at the time. It became 3M’s most successful product ever.

I think this is ___________________________

 

Although Xerox later became the most famous brand for this product due to producing the first compact version that could be connected to a normal telephone line in 1966, in fact the first machine that could transmit writing through an electrical wire had been invented in 1843 by the Englishman Alexander Bain.

I think this is the ___________________________

 

This was invented by Bette Nesmith Graham, who was working as a typist and needed something to correct the many mistakes she made while she was typing. The invention was bought by Gillette Corporation in 1979 for $47.5 million plus royalties. IBM had previously rejected the product in the 1950s.

I think this is ___________________________

 

Although this invention seems very simple, the modern version wasn’t invented until 1899, by which time steel that was flexible enough to be bent into this shape had become commonly available. Before that time people had used string and pins etc. to hold paper together, but all those methods damaged the paper.

I think this is the ___________________________

 

These things were invented by accident when Spencer Silver was working in the 3M laboratories trying to develop a strong glue. Although the glue he developed was not strong enough for what he was looking for, it later became famous for how easy it was to remove it from the surface it had been stuck to.

I think these are ____________________________

Check as a class.  

Ask about any stories which you don’t understand, don’t seem to be true, etc.

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Worksheet 3

Past tenses grammar presentation and practice

Fill in the gaps below with the right past tenses without looking at the worksheet above.

This _____________ (invent) by a Hungarian called Laszlo Biro, who _____________ (work) for a newspaper and was annoyed at wasting so much time filling fountain pens with ink.

 

This ______________ (invent) by Dick Drew, who was working for 3M, the same man who had earlier invented masking tape. It became 3M’s most successful product ever.

 

Although Xerox later ________________ (become) the most famous brand for this product due to producing the first compact version that could be connected to a normal telephone line in 1966, in fact the first machine that could transmit writing through an electrical wire ___________________ (invent) in 1843 by the Englishman Alexander Bain.

 

This ________________ (invent) by Bette Nesmith Graham, who _______________ (work) as a typist and needed something to correct the many mistakes she ____________ (make) while she ___________________ (type). The invention ___________________ (buy) by Gillette Corporation in 1979 for $47.5 million plus royalties. IBM ___________________ (previously reject) the product in the 1950’s.

 

Although this invention seems very simple, the modern version ______________ (not invented) until 1899, by which time steel that was flexible enough to be bent into this shape ______________ (become) commonly available. Before that time people ___________ (use) string and pins etc. to hold paper together, but all those methods damaged the paper.

 

These things ________________ (invent) by accident when Spencer Silver ________________ (work) in the 3M laboratories trying to develop a strong glue. Although the glue he developed was not strong enough for what he was looking for, it later ______________ (become) famous for how easy it was to remove it from the surface it _______________________ (stick) to.

Check your answers with Worksheet 2. Why are the different tenses used in each case?

Test each other on the facts above with questions using the same tenses.  

Make up stories about the inventions of the other objects on Worksheet 1 and see if your partner can guess which one you are describing.

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