In time, these lessons and "stubs" will be migrated to the Buzzwords site.
Until then, consider them historical.

Mini-Lessons from Thursday, Mar. 29, 2012

These Mini-Lessons are posted on Twitter, and in China on Weibo, throughout the day. You can follow them there!

To get the most from them, you should try to use them in sentences, or discuss them with friends. Writing something on Twitter or Weibo is a great way to practice!
  • Science: experiment: a test to find if something is true or not. Many are done in laboratories following the rules of science.
  • Language Study: interjection: a short sound, word or phrase (NOT a sentence) used to express emotion. "Ouch!" "Wow!" "Really!" "No way."
  • Business: allocate: to give something officially for a certain purpose: "The company allocated 15% of their budget to advertising."
  • Literature: Ali Baba: main character in a story called "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves," where he finds treasure belonging to robbers.
  • New Words: perfect storm: a combination of rare events leading to a tragedy. Several unusual things must go wrong for a perfect storm to happen.
  • Slang: ruins every party he goes to: behaves badly. "Don't invite Ben; he ruins every party he goes to. Last time he got so drunk…"
  • Modern History: Martin Luther King, Jr.: (1929-1968) American Civil Rights leader who used nonviolence to change the law. He was a Baptist minister.


Read the Mini-Lessons above. Make cards and study them. When you think you know them, answer the questions below. You may have to look up some new words to answer the questions!


1. Today's New Word is "perfect storm." Which of these is NOT an example of this?
a. Michael Jackson's death due to a mixture of drugs
b. The 2002-2003 global SARS outbreak
c. The assassination of President John F. Kennedy
d. The destruction of New Orleans by hurricane Katrina

2. Today's Language Study term is "interjection." Which of the following is NOT an interjection?
a. Hello.
b. I'm sorry.
c. No.
d. Oh, hell!
e. Yikes.

3. Match the Science, Literature, and Modern History terms below to these related ideas:
a. spent time in jail
b. sometimes means cooking a new dish
c. uses the famous phrase "Open, Sesame."
d. results must be repeatable
e. was shot in Memphis in 1968
f. in fact, a woman is featured in most of the story

(1) experiment
(2) Ali Baba
(3) Martin Luther King, Jr.

4. Today's Slang term is "[he] ruins every party he goes to." Which of the following would probably ruin a party? (There may be more than one answer.)

a. someone getting sick
b. someone forgetting to bring the ice
c. someone coming without a date
d. someone starting a fight

5. Use the correct form of today's Business term "allocate" in these sentences:
a. The board __________ plenty of money for office supplies last year.
b. My boss is __________ extra days off for all of us.
c. My secretary needs to __________ more time for filing.
d. ABC Company __________ 15% of its profit to share with employees.
e. I'm afraid the __________ for company cars isn't sufficient.


If you can, try to talk about these questions in English with a friend. If not, try writing your answers. You may need to do some research in your language, but then you should express your answers in English.

1. Have you ever done an experiment? If yes, what did you do? What was it like? If not, what would you like to try?
2. Read the story of Ali Baba in your language, then tell it in English. Try to be creative!
3. Read and listen to some of the speeches of Martin Luther King, jr. He was considered to be a powerful speaker. Why do you think people say so? If you can, try practicing some of his techniques yourself.


1. c. JFK's death was probably the result of one man shooting a gun. The other tragedies were caused by a combination of things:

a. Michael Jackson took a bad combination of drugs
b. It required modern transportation, warm weather, and lack of cooperation between governments for SARS to spread so rapidly
d. New Orleans has had hurricanes before; but Katrina was particularly strong, the system to control flooding failed, people and the government were slow to respond, etc. All of this made it one of the worst in US history.

2. Language Study term:
b. "I am sorry" is a sentence.

3. Matching:
a. (3) Martin Luther King, Jr.; Dr. King broke minor laws to show that they were unfair.
b. (1) experiment; the word can be used in many ways outside of the laboratory: a musical experiment, a social experiment, etc.
c. (2) Ali Baba; "Open, Sesame" is used to open the thieves' cave.
d. (1) experiment; if other scientists do the experiment and get different results, the results of the first experiment are considered invalid (not able to be trusted)
e. (3) Martin Luther King, Jr.; Dr. King was assassinated for trying to get equal rights for black people.
f. (2) Ali Baba; Ali Baba's servant Morgiana is a clever girl who prevents the thieves from hurting her master many times.

4. a and d

5. Business term:
a. allocated
b. allocating
c. allocate
d. allocates
e. allocation

  1. The Idiom, the History and Government words, and some of the Pop Culture words, are from lists in the Dictionary of Cultural Literacy. I wrote the definitions and examples myself.
  2. The Link was found online; the Slang words, the Irregular Verbs, and some of the Pop Culture words are from my own lists, and I wrote the definitions and examples myself.

This lesson is ©2012 by James Baquet. You may share this work freely. Teachers may use it in the classroom, as long as students are told the source (URL). You may not publish this material or sell it. Please write to me if you have any questions about "fair use."

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