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Most of the questions posed in the Widgets Inc. coursebook are intentionally open-ended in order to invite authentic discussion. Therefore please bear in mind that many of the answers here are suggestive only, and simply meant to guide the teacher as they facilitate group and whole-class discussion.


Stage 1

p. 3 (B) Example questions for Michael: "What kind of music does your band play?" "How long have you played the drums?" "Do you play any other instruments?" etc. Example questions for Rachel: "How long did it take to get a black belt?" "Do you still practice regularly?" "Is judo good for self-defense?" etc.

p. 5 (A) 1. Your future, today. 2. Widgets was started 5 years ago by three university students. 3. Widgets has offices in Tokyo, Hong Kong, and London (and more). 4. Meet Miki May, the CEO of Widgets. A magazine called her a true marketing genius of our time. 5. Titus Pinsch. This superstar CFO has doubled Widgets' profits. 6. Jessica Sparks. CTO and head of R&D (Research & Development).

p.5 (D) Possible answers: What kind of company is Widgets? It's a major international company with offices in many cities. It's exciting. It makes products to change your life. It's a startup. What are some Widgets products? Several flash quickly on the screen. Does Widgets seem like a good place to work? Hopefully yes! Does Widgets reminds you of any other companies you know? We were thinking of tech-oriented startup companies that became big in the 90's and 00's such as Google, Apple, Facebook, etc. which were often conceived while its founders were still in university.

p. 6-7 (A) Answers will certainly vary, although a few are more ridiculous than others. Students often give high marks to the X-Ray Fridge and the Doggy BFF.

p. 8 (A) Possible answers: 1. About 3 km. How about you? Do you run? 2. I had dinner with my grandmother. 3. Movies are fun, but you know what's even more fun? Going to a music concert. Have you gone to a concert recently?

p. 8 (B) Examples: 1. (follow-up question) "Oh cool! Where did you go?", "I heard it's hard to navigate.", "Are you going to have a big family dinner?" 2. (detailed answer) "It was, but you know, luckily I had some friends there [...] I had some avocado toast, ‘cause that’s really big there right now.", "no, not really. This time it’s just gonna be me, and a couple of friends of my mom. 3. (change of topic "And how about you? Are you gonna go anywhere for the long weekend?"

p. 9 (A) Possible answers will vary, but should include some of this information: Miki first had the idea for the Shock Watch because she was falling asleep in her university classes and her grades were going down. Jessica, Miki's classmate, made the first prototype, then 20 more watches in the first year. They approached Titus, who was in the "young capitalists' society". He was doubtful at first, but eventually saw the potential and made a business plan (market research, finding investors, registering the company — "all of the real work", according to him.)

p. 9 (B) Answers will vary, and of course there isn't enough information in the video to be precise. Generally speaking, we were thinking along these lines about the characters:

Dream team qualities.png

p. 10 (B) Ask students to share a way of contact which they prefer. It could be email, a social media address, a phone number, etc. Under "Notes" they can write at which times they are available, or any other important instructions; for example: "Email me anytime, but please don't call me on Saturdays."

p. 11 (Paperwork!) This is filled out by the student, except the "Comments" section at the bottom. That should be a comment from the teacher. NOTE: This is not a graded task; it is meant simply to get students thinking about the aims of the course and their effort so far. General comments such as "You're doing a great job, but please try to use more English during group discussions" are appropriate here.


Stage 2

p. 12 (A - C) Answers will vary, but can revolve around the personal qualities that came up on p. 9. Avoid letting students simply select a project manager randomly. If they vote, it will generally be the student who is most confident, best at English, etc. who is selected. This is good, because it will set a high bar for the next project managers.

p. 13 (A) 1. a) road reflector. 2. b) hook-and-loop fastener. 3. c) sticky notes.

p. 13 (B) 1. Cat's Eye. 2. Velcro. 3. Post-It Notes.

p. 14 (C) 2 (Velcro), 3 (Post-It Notes), and 1 (Cat's Eye).

p. 14 (D) Items shown are: potato peeler, wheelchair, seat belt, and paper clips. Other possible items under each category could be: (kitchen items) non-stick pans, plastic wrap, dishwasher machines; (medical equipment) portable heart defibrillators, capsule medicines, face masks; (car accessories) windshield wipers, turn signals, cup holders; (other) jogging lights, GPS, drones, air conditioning, etc.

p. 15 (B) Jessica's message main points: R&D is where new products are created; without successful ideas the company wouldn't exist; everyone is creative, so everyone can do well in this stage; the main project has 3 parts: 1) brainstorm ideas, 2) write a product proposal, 3) write an elevator pitch.

p. 16 (B) Answers will vary, but could include that the Sticky Phone may be useful and original, but perhaps not very safe, as the phone could fall and break. It also may not possible to produce, as it's not clear how it works — if it is sticky, wouldn't it get dirty when you put it in your pocket, and become less sticky over time?

p. 17 (A) Answers will vary, but bear in mind that this task is crucial to the overall success of the course. Therefore, encourage students to think about the underlying reasons for their problems. For example, "I fall asleep a lot in class" is a fine problem, but "I fall asleep in class because I play video games all night" is better, as it allows the student to get to the real root of their problem later. In this case, perhaps a device which can shut off their video game after a certain time.

p. 22 (B) Important points: short pitch of an idea; could be in an elevator, taxi, etc.; clear and exciting; less than a minute

p. 22 (D) How does she make it exciting? Answers will vary, but could include: She starts politely by saying "I'm really sorry to take up your time"; she engages Titus with phrases like "a new product idea that I think you will love"; she assures him it will be quick, and uses persuasive language: "It will just be a minute, I swear"; her pitch is concise and well-structured, and she keeps it to under a minute; she uses enthusiastic language and superlatives: "I really think it could be a best-seller for us. It could change the diet industry"; etc.

p. 25 (Paperwork!) This is filled out by the student, except the "Comments" section at the bottom. That should be a comment from the teacher. NOTE: This is not a graded task; it is meant simply to get students thinking about the aims of the course and their effort so far. General comments such as "You're doing a great job, but please try to use more English during group discussions" are appropriate here.


Stage 3

Stage 4

Stage 5

Stage 6