“Life in Space”



Pre-Listening Question

Are birthdays celebrated in your culture and/or family, and if so, how are they observed (activities, food, guests, gifts)?

Vocabulary and Expressions

Here are some words and expressions that appear in the video:

take off (verb): take a vacation from an activity or work
– I’m going to take off Friday to spend time with family for our son’s birthday.

sweet sixteen (expression): a time that signals a girl becoming a young woman in some parts of the United States
– How did you celebrate your sweet sixteen last week?

extinguish (verb): cause something to stop burning
– The kids accidentally caught some newspapers on fire at the birthday party, and I extinguished it quickly before there was a problem.

ruin (verb): damage or destroy
– My son left his toys on the floor after the birthday party, and our dog ruined them.
– We had planned to have a fun party outside, but the bad weather ruined our plans.

Listening Comprehension Questions

Now, watch the interview and answer the comprehension questions. You can also turn on the automatically-generated captions for the video once you start it.

Conversation Questions

  1. In which situations would you take off work and for how long? Explain your ideas.
  • You are sick.
  • Your child is sick.
  • Your pet needs an operation.
  • You car needs to be repaired.
  • You overslept.
  • Your house has flooded because of a broken pipe.
  • A child is graduating from high school.
  • A friend or family member has passed away.

2. Do companies in your area provide paid leave for any of the situations mentioned above? In what cases would you have to take time off without pay?

3. In your family or culture, are there any celebrations to commemorate the transition from childhood to adulthood similar to a “sweet sixteen” event?

4. What kinds of activities or situations could ruin a fun party (for example, bad weather or unexpected unruly guests)? Has anything like this happened to you before?

Related Language Activities on Randall’s Web Site

The following activities deal with related topics to give you additional language practice.

Try More Free Listening at