My 1,000
Ideas
e-Book

Breaking News English

HOME  |  HELP MY SITE  |  000s MORE FREE LESSONS
 
My 1,000
Ideas
e-Book
 
 

PRINT

13-Page PDF
Handout -
with
all-skills activities

  

LISTEN

MP3 (2:01 - 967KB)

PLAY

GAMES


 

We Spend Half Our Time Daydreaming (13th November, 2010)


 

New research from America’s Harvard University shows people spend nearly half of their waking hours daydreaming, and not thinking about what they are actually doing. Moreover, they say this mind wandering is a sign of unhappiness. The study, to be published in the journal ‘Science,’ surveyed the thoughts and moods of over 2,200 volunteers. The participants downloaded an iPhone app and sent more than 250,000 messages during the day and night. Researchers Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert conclude that most of us are in another world for more than 46 per cent of our waking hours, and that means we are unhappy: "A human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind,” they said.

Dr Killingsworth said “mind-wandering” was “ubiquitous across all activities” in our daily lives. His study found that we are happiest when exercising, chatting with friends or making love and least happy when working or using our computer at home. He added: "Mind-wandering is an excellent predictor of people's happiness,” and that “our mental lives are [filled], to a remarkable degree, by the non-present”. Professor Gilbert believes daydreaming is one of the things that make us human. He said: “Unlike other animals, human beings spend a lot of time thinking about what is not going on around them, contemplating events that happened in the past, might happen in the future or will never happen at all.”


WARM-UPS

1. UNHAPPINESS: Walk around the class and talk to other students about unhappiness. Change partners often. Sit with your first partner(s) and share your findings.

2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words from the article are most interesting and which are most boring.

 

research / waking hours / daydreaming / unhappiness / journals / wandering minds / ubiquitous / exercising / chatting with friends / contemplating / what might happen

Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.

3. DAYDREAMING: What about and why? Complete this table and share what you wrote with your partner(s). Change partners and share again.

Daydreaming…

What about?

Why?

in class

 

 

on the bus/train

 

 

in the shower

 

 

at work

 

 

on your computer

 

 

other _________

 

 

4. WAKING HOURS: Students A strongly believe we make the most of our waking hours; Students B strongly believe we waste most of our time.  Change partners again and talk about your conversations.

5. HAPPY?: What makes you happiest? Rank these and share your rankings with your partner. Put the happiest at the top. Change partners and share your rankings again.

  • exercising
  • chatting with friends
  • reading / writing e-mail
  • eating
  • music
  • working on your computer
  • sleeping
  • going for a walk

6. ANOTHER WORLD: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the words ‘another world’. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Read the headline. Guess if  a-h  below are true (T) or false (F).

a.

A new study reveals we spend half our life asleep.

T / F

b.

The research says daydreaming is a sign of unhappiness.

T / F

c.

More than a quarter of a million people took part in the research.

T / F

d.

The researchers suggested we spend a lot of time in another world.

T / F

e.

The report says we tend to daydream whatever we’re doing in the day.

T / F

f.

The article says we’re particularly happy at home on our computer.

T / F

g.

A professor said daydreaming is something that makes us human.

T / F

h.

Many other animals spend time thinking about their future.

T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article.

1.

shows

a.

questioned

2

actually

b.

happening

3.

surveyed

c.

forecaster

4.

app

d.

reveals

5.

wandering

e.

everywhere

6.

ubiquitous

f.

straying

7.

predictor

g.

really

8.

remarkable

h.

extent

9.

degree

i.

piece of software

10.

going on

j.

amazing

3. PHRASE MATCH:  (Sometimes more than one choice is possible.)

1.

nearly half of their

a.

all activities

2

a sign

b.

happiness

3.

downloaded

c.

waking hours

4.

most of us are

d.

us human

5.

a wandering mind is

e.

in another world

6.

ubiquitous across

f.

of unhappiness

7.

an excellent predictor of people's

g.

happened in the past

8.

to a remarkable

h.

an unhappy mind

9.

one of the things that make

i.

degree

10.

contemplating events that

j.

an iPhone app

 

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words into the gaps in the text.

New research from America’s Harvard University shows people spend nearly half of their waking ____________ daydreaming, and not thinking about what they are ____________ doing. Moreover, they say this mind wandering is a ____________ of unhappiness. The study, to be published in the journal ‘Science,’ surveyed the thoughts and ____________ of over 2,200 volunteers. The participants downloaded an iPhone app and sent more than 250,000 messages ____________ the day and night. Researchers Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert conclude that most of us are in ____________ world for more than 46 per cent of our ____________ hours, and that means we are unhappy: "A human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an ____________ mind,” they said.

 

 

 

during
moods
actually
unhappy
another
hours
waking
sign

Dr Killingsworth said “mind-wandering” was “ubiquitous ____________ all activities” in our daily lives. His study found that we are happiest ____________ exercising, chatting with friends or making love and ____________ happy when working or using our computer at home. He added: "Mind-wandering is an ____________ predictor of people's happiness,” and that “our mental lives are [filled], to a remarkable ____________, by the non-____________”. Professor Gilbert believes daydreaming is one of the things that make us human. He said: “Unlike other animals, human beings ____________ a lot of time thinking about what is not going on around them, contemplating ____________ that happened in the past, might happen in the future or will never happen at all.”

 

 

excellent
events
least
across
present
when
degree
spend

LISTENING – Listen and fill in the gaps

New research from America’s Harvard University ______________________ half of their waking hours daydreaming, and not thinking about what they are actually doing. Moreover, they say ______________________ of unhappiness. The study, to be published in the journal ‘Science,’ surveyed the ______________________ over 2,200 volunteers. The participants downloaded an iPhone ______________________ 250,000 messages during the day and night. Researchers Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert conclude that most of us ______________________ for more than 46 per cent of our waking hours, and ______________________: "A human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind,” they said.

Dr Killingsworth said “mind-wandering” was “________________________” in our daily lives. His study found that we are happiest when exercising, chatting with friends or making love ______________________ working or using our computer at home. He added: "Mind-wandering is an excellent predictor of people's happiness,” and that “______________________, ______________________, by the non-present”. Professor Gilbert believes daydreaming ______________________ make us human. He said: “Unlike other animals, human beings spend a lot of time thinking about what is not going on around them, ______________________ happened in the past, might happen in the future or will never happen at all.”


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionary / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘day’ and ‘dream’.

day

dream

 

 

 

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall how they were used in the text:

  • shows
  • sign
  • moods
  • 250,000
  • 46
  • human
  • across
  • happiest
  • home
  • degree
  • animals
  • might

STUDENT DAYDREAMING SURVEY

Write five GOOD questions about daydreaming in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper.

When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

 

STUDENT 1

_____________

STUDENT 2

_____________

STUDENT 3

_____________

Q.1.

 

 

 

 

Q.2.

 

 

 

 

Q.3.

 

 

 

 

Q.4.

 

 

 

 

Q.5.

 

 

 

 

  • Now return to your original partner and share and talk about what you found out. Change partners often.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

DAYDREAMING DISCUSSION

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

a)

What did you think when you read the headline?

b)

What springs to mind when you hear the word ‘daydreaming’?

c)

How much of a daydreamer are you?

d)

Do you like daydreaming?

e)

Where and when do you daydream most?

f)

Are you surprised at what the article said?

g)

Do you think daydreaming is a sign of unhappiness?

h)

Do you think you’re in your own world (or another world) for half your waking hours?

i)

Is your daydream world better than the real world? (Why?)

j)

What do you daydream about most often?

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

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

a)

Did you like reading this article?

b)

Do you daydream in everything you do in life?

c)

Is it good to daydream?

d)

When are you happiest?

e)

Does it matter that our minds spend so long in the “non-present”?

f)

What do you think animals might daydream about?

g)

Do you prefer daydreams or the dreams you have when you sleep?

h)

Is it possible not to daydream about the future?

i)

What’s the difference between daydreaming about the future and thinking about the future?

j)

What questions would you like to ask the researchers?

LANGUAGE – MULTIPLE CHOICE

New research from America’s Harvard University shows people (1) ____ nearly half of their waking hours daydreaming, and not thinking about what they are actually doing. Moreover, they say this mind wandering is a sign (2) ____ unhappiness. The study, to (3) ____ published in the journal ‘Science,’ surveyed the thoughts and moods of over 2,200 volunteers. The (4) ____ downloaded an iPhone app and sent more than 250,000 messages during the day and night. Researchers Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert conclude (5) ____ most of us are in another world for more than 46 per cent of our waking hours, and that means we are unhappy: "A human mind is a wandering mind, and a (6) ____ mind is an unhappy mind,” they said.

Dr Killingsworth said “mind-wandering” was “ubiquitous across (7) ____ activities” in our daily lives. His study found that we are happiest (8) ____ exercising, chatting with friends or making love and least happy when working or using our computer at home. He added: "Mind-wandering is an excellent predictor of people's happiness,” and that “our mental (9) ____ are [filled], to a remarkable degree, by the non-present”. Professor Gilbert believes daydreaming is one of the (10) ____ that make us human. He said: “(11) ____ other animals, human beings spend a lot of time thinking about what is not going on around them, (12) ____ events that happened in the past, might happen in the future or will never happen at all.”

Put the correct words from the table below in the above article.

1.

(a)

spends

(b)

spent

(c)

spending

(d)

spend

2.

(a)

in

(b)

at

(c)

of

(d)

by

3.

(a)

have

(b)

be

(c)

do

(d)

write

4.

(a)

participants

(b)

participates

(c)

particulars

(d)

participles

5.

(a)

what

(b)

then

(c)

that

(d)

this

6.

(a)

withering

(b)

watching

(c)

wondering

(d)

wandering

7.

(a)

every

(b)

all

(c)

each

(d)

whole

8.

(a)

when

(b)

where

(c)

which

(d)

what

9.

(a)

living

(b)

lives

(c)

livelihood

(d)

lifelike

10.

(a)

happening

(b)

thing

(c)

things

(d)

something

11.

(a)

Unlike

(b)

Likely

(c)

Disliked

(d)

Unlikely

12.

(a)

contemplated

(b)

contemplates

(c)

contemplate

(d)

contemplating

WRITING

Write about daydreaming for 10 minutes. Correct your partner’s paper.

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

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 out more about daydreaming. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. DAYDREAMING: Make a poster about what you daydream about. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?

4. DAYDREAMER: Write a magazine article about people who daydream. Include imaginary interviews with them.

Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Write down any new words and expressions you hear from your partner(s).

5. LETTER: Write a letter to the researchers. Ask them three questions about daydreaming. Give them three of your opinions on daydreaming. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a.

F

b.

T

c.

F

d.

T

e.

T

f.

F

g.

T

h.

F

SYNONYM MATCH:

1.

shows

a.

reveals

2

actually

b.

really

3.

surveyed

c.

questioned

4.

app

d.

piece of software

5.

wandering

e.

straying

6.

ubiquitous

f.

everywhere

7.

predictor

g.

forecaster

8.

remarkable

h.

amazing

9.

degree

i.

extent

10.

going on

j.

happening

PHRASE MATCH:

1.

nearly half of their

a.

waking hours

2

a sign

b.

of unhappiness

3.

downloaded

c.

an iPhone app

4.

most of us are

d.

in another world

5.

a wandering mind is

e.

an unhappy mind

6.

ubiquitous across

f.

all activities

7.

an excellent predictor of people's

g.

happiness

8.

to a remarkable

h.

degree

9.

one of the things that make

i.

us human

10.

contemplating events that

j.

happened in the past

GAP FILL:

We spend half our time daydreaming

New research from America’s Harvard University shows people spend nearly half of their waking hours daydreaming, and not thinking about what they are actually doing. Moreover, they say this mind wandering is a sign of unhappiness. The study, to be published in the journal ‘Science,’ surveyed the thoughts and moods of over 2,200 volunteers. The participants downloaded an iPhone app and sent more than 250,000 messages during the day and night. Researchers Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert conclude that most of us are in another world for more than 46 per cent of our waking hours, and that means we are unhappy: "A human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind,” they said.

Dr Killingsworth said “mind-wandering” was “ubiquitous across all activities” in our daily lives. His study found that we are happiest when exercising, chatting with friends or making love and least happy when working or using our computer at home. He added: "Mind-wandering is an excellent predictor of people's happiness,” and that “our mental lives are [filled], to a remarkable degree, by the non-present”. Professor Gilbert believes daydreaming is one of the things that make us human. He said: “Unlike other animals, human beings spend a lot of time thinking about what is not going on around them, contemplating events that happened in the past, might happen in the future or will never happen at all.”

LANGUAGE WORK

1 - d

2 - c

3 - b

4 - a

5 - c

6 - d

7 - b

8 - a

9 - b

10 - c

11 - a

12 - d

Back to the top

Help Support This Web Site

  • Please consider helping Breaking News English.com

Sean Banville's Book

Thank You

Copyright © 2004-2010 by Sean Banville | Links | About | Privacy Policy


 
 
SHARE THIS LESSON: E-mail this lesson to someone who would like to use it in classroom or study with it.

000's more free lessons.