Would you pass a polygraph test? Crime – lexis
Level(s): (B1) Intermediate/(B2) Upper-Intermediate
Aimed at: Teenagers/young adults/adults
Aims: Vocabulary focus/Speaking/Authentic listening/
Materials: Handout 1
Time: +/- 60 min
The video link:
1. Brainstorming/Types of crime:
Ask the students to work in small groups and make a list of crimes for the following categories:
Have their ideas listed on the board and add some of your own ideas to their lists. Take it as an opportunity to introduce vocabulary, e.g. arson or larceny. At the end of this activity you should have something similar to this on the board:
+/- 10 minutes
2. Tell the students that they are going to watch a video about POLYGRAPH MACHINES. Distribute Handout 1 to each student and ask them to read it individually before you play the video.
Watch the video and answer the following questions:
- What does POLY stand for?
- What does POLY refer to?
- What does GRAPH stand for?
- What does GRAPH refer to?
- What´s the difference between the old and the modern polygraph machines?
- What are the three stages of an interrogation?
- What does a big sign of activity indicate?
- Can the polygraph machines indicate whether or not someone is lying?
- From Greek: MANY.
- Sensor used by the machine that detect changes in your body.
- From Greek: WRITING.
- A strip of paper where you see the needle making a line.
- The modern machines use digital readouts instead of paper.
- a) base questions, e.g. What is your name? Have you showered today?
- b) a mix of target and base questions.
- the analysis – the interrogator is looking for big signs of activity.
7. It might indicate that someone is lying.
8. No, what they can determine is whether or not a person feels comfortable with certain questions.
4. Students compare their answers in pairs before you play the video again. Have a brief class feedback.
+/- 20 minutes
5. Ask the students if they have ever wondered how easy or difficult it is to become a police officer in the US and what kind of tests the candidates are required to perform. Tell the class that among the tests that you will be required to pass is the police polygraph.
Would you pass a polygraph test? Have students work in small groups and prepare 10 police polygraph test questions for the other group. Remind them to start with some base questions before they move on to the target ones. Provide them with some examples. When they have finished, have the groups interview one another!
Here are some questions my students came up with (just to give you an idea)
- Are you wearing shoes?
- Are you wearing underwear?
- Did you brush your teeth this morning?
- Do you like Justin Bieber?
- Did you flush the toilet this morning?
- Have you ever stolen anything?
- Have you ever driven a car after drinking?
- Have you ever taken an illegal drug?
- Have you got a criminal record?
- Have you ever made a racist comment?