Daily life in the USA – 2

Stereotypes and typical features of Americans:

  • most of the families live in the suburb in detached-houses
  • these neighborhoods are friendly and the homes have no fences around them
  • BUT they all have: a driveway, a front and a backyard, a porch, trees, bushes and hedges in the garde
  • Americans eat fast food and junk food (snacks, peanut butter, marshmallows, candies, pizza etc.), however, they all try to maintain a healthy diet
  • they do sports, especially at school

What if we all lived like Americans? We would…

  • drive a lot and eat our meals on the highway in the car (American drive 13,476 miles per year – the most in the world, also have the highest rate of vehicle collision; 20% of all meals are eaten in vehicles)
  • eat 8 ounces (ca. 220g) of beef per person a day
  • drink 403 Coca-Cola products per person a year on average (world’s average: 92)
  • have the highest caloric, sugar and fat, but also vegetable intake in the world
  • throw 1.6 billion pens and 220 million car tires away yearly
  • produce 729 kg of garbage per person every year
  • live quite long (life expectancy for woman is 82.1 years and for men it’s 77.5 yrs)




Made in the USA

Read the following extracts from stories about American inventions or famous stuff from the USA.

Visit QUIZLET for the vocabulary.

One day in 1906, a newspaper cartoonist named Tad Dorgan went to a baseball game where he saw men selling dachshund sausages to the spectators.

Blue Jeans
Strauss came to California to sell canvas to the gold miners in the 1850s. Later he had changed this canvas for softer material called denim and made pants from it for the gold miners.

The Telephone
In the 1870 Scottish teacher and inventor Alexander Graham Bell was experimenting with a machine to help the deaf hear. He had an idea to use electricity and wires to send the human voice from one place to another.

John Pemberton made a brown syrup by mixing coca leaves and cola nuts and sold the mixture as an all-purpose medicine. Later, another drugstore owner Asa Candler mixed this syrup with soda and began selling it in his stores.

The Statue of Liberty
French scupltor Frédéric-Augustine Bartholdi who admired the USA thought of a gift to send the Americans. He and his friends all contributed to help – Bartholdi offered to design a statue, Alexandre Eiffel offered to figure out how it would stand.

The Doubleday myth says that the Union’s general in the American Civil War might have invented one of the most popular sports in America in 1839. However, he never claimed it himself.

McDonald’s Hamburgers
Patrick McDonald first sold hot-dogs at The Airdome, a food stand in Monrovia City, CA. Later he added hamburger and all-you-can-drink orange juice for 5 cents. Some years later his sons realized that the most profitable food is the burger served on a bun.

Las Vegas
In 1905, the place was a small train stop in the desert with some buildings around it. Forty years later Bugsy Siegel built his first casino there. Nowadays the place is the gambling capital of the world.

The Oscar
Executive Director of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, Margaret Harrick looked at the statue and said, “He looks just like my Uncle Oscar.” The name stuck and became official in 1939.

Mount Rushmore
Sculptor Gutzon Borglum started the project in 1927 and worked on it with about 400 men for 14 years. Ho died shortly before the official opening of this monumental work of art on the side of a mountain.

In 1975, Bill dropped out of Harvard University to work on a computer program in a dormitory room with his friend Allen. This software would run one of the first personal computers and later it made Bill the youngest billionaire ever in US history.

The T-Model
Ford realized that using the assembly line method would make it a lot faster and cheaper to produce his Model T. And it actually did, the 14-hour-long process dropped to 2 hours and the price of the car from $850 to $265.

Kellogg’s Cornflakes
Will Keith Kellogg joined his brother John, who was a doctor at a sanitarium. Will tried to make healthy food for the patients. He forgot about the wheat he had cooked for bread-making and when he put it into the roller some hours later, the grains became flakes. It worked even better with corn when he tried.


More; Infographic: 20 Inventions you didn’t know were American


Click for a high resolution version of this infographic


Sports and recreation in the USA – 1


Visit Quizlet and do the matcing and other tasks by clicking HERE.



Visit Ninh Ly website on Youtube and choose one of the following sports:

  • baseball
  • softball
  • lacrosse (outdoor or indoor)
  • ice-hockey
  • fooball (American of course)
  • ultimate frisbee

Introduce the sport you’ve chosen in speaking:

– make a list of terms i.e. key vocabulary (players, equipment, gear etc.);

– the basic rules (timing; aim of the game; where the sport is played; number of players; do’s and don’ts – what players can / can’t / mustn’t do)

While speaking, you can use the notes you’ve taken.



School in the USA – British vs American English

Here are some words / expressions related to school.

British English

American English

primary school elementary school
secondary school high school (junior high / senior high)
high school college
university university
state school state school / public school
public school private school
head-teacher principal
caretaker janitor
marks / marking grades / grading
Class / Year Grade
staffroom teachers’ lounge
holiday vacation
autumn term fall term
Citizenship Global Studies
Maths Math
Assembly Pledge of Allegiance
Break(time) /Play time Recess
timetable schedule
Open Day (for parents) Open House
School dinner hot lunch
friend (pal / mate / chum) mate / buddy
rubber eraser
glue gum
drawing pins pushpins / thumbtacks
dustbin trashcan
plimsolls (an athletic shoe with a canvas upper and rubber lower part) gym shoes
label tag
football soccer
rounders baseball
table tennis bat ping-pong paddle
pitch (e.g.: football) field (e.g. football)
chips French Fries
takeaway (food) takeout (food)
999 (for emergency calls) 911 (for emergency calls)
car park parking lot
crossroads intersection

The system of Checks and Balances


Minimum requirements to become the U.S. president:

  • age limit: 35 max. age limit: NO
  • nationality at birth: American; U.S. residence: yes; min. length: 14 yrs

Presidential roles / duties:

  • Chief of State; Head of Government; Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces;
  • Must live in the White House? Yes.
  • Greet leaders of other nations; help to create treaties;
  • the U.S. president is elected for 4 years, maximum 2 times
  • Sign or veto bills made by the Legislative Branch


The Congress: The House of Representatives and  The Senate


  • Make laws; regulate trade (= commerce);
    tax the people;
  • declare wars;

A member of the H. of Reps:

  • must live in the state s/he represents;
  • is one of the total of 435 members elected every two years;
  • age limit: 25 max. age limit: NO; U.S. residence: yes; min. length: 7 yrs

Member of the Senate:

  • must live in the state s/he represents;
  • is one of the total of 100; each state gives two senators;
  • age limit: 30 max. age limit: NO; U.S. residence:  yes; min. length: 9 yrs;
  • 1/3 of the Senate is elected every two years, a senator is elected for 6 years;
  • the President of the Senate is the Vice President


  • courts; the highest is: the Supreme Court
  • Chief Justices are chosen by the President and approved by The Senate
  • length of term: till death or retirement
  • decides if a bill is unconstitutional or not