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April 2021 - Year 23 - Issue 2

ISSN 1755-9715

YouTube Stories for the Classroom

Part one: Lead-in with an image

The story is about a young Dutch man called Zwier. Look – my illustrator Danny Butcher has created this lovely piece of work. I suggest that you show it to your students and ask them to guess what's going on – what's the story?


Part two: Story items

The story involves the following items:

  • a DJI Phantom (see below)
  • a cold day in December
  • an automatic landing
  • a canal filled with ice-cold water
  • a desperate man

Give these story items to your students and invite them to ask you questions. This will allow them to clarify the meaning of any unknown language and start to construct a narrative.

Note: The DJI Phantom is a popular make of drone. Show your students an image and find out if there are any drone enthusiasts in the class. 


Part three: The story

Read the following story to your students. Speak slowly and clearly, make use of space, and don't be scared to repeat the text, or parts of it, multiple times.

Zwier's new toy

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you were flying a drone and the battery died?

Well, the DJI Phantom has a safety feature. Just before the battery dies, the drone will make an automatic landing. A Global Positioning System (GPS) inside the machine will guide it back to the same spot where it took off from. Clever, eh? What could possibly go wrong?

It’s a cold day in December. A young Dutch man called Zwier goes out with a group of friends to test his new DJI Phantom. He places it in the middle of a quiet road. It takes off and Zwier flies it above the houses, the trees, the roads, and the canals.

But ...

... after about fifteen minutes, the battery starts to die. The drone begins its automatic landing. But instead of landing on the road, the drone slowly starts to come down above a canal.

Zwier didn’t set the GPS correctly!

The canal is wide and deep. The drone is going to land right in the middle of it. Zwier has no choice. He runs to the canal and jumps in. The ice-cold water comes up to his waist.

Zwier moves to the centre of the canal as quickly as he can. He is desperate to catch the drone before it lands in the water. The water gets deeper and deeper as he goes: up to his chest, up to his neck, and then up to his chin.

The drone is just centimetres from the surface. With all his effort, Zwier throws himself forward and reaches out his arms.

So does Zwier manage to save his drone before it lands in the water?


Part four: The video

The great thing about this story is that it was all caught on camera. Ask students if they can guess who filmed it. The answer is the drone itself.

After finding out who wants Zwier to save his drone and who wants him to fail (Isn't schadenfreude a lovely thing?) show the video.

Click here to see the video on YouTube

Click here to see the video on YouTube



Part five: Follow-up

Invite reactions.

Elicit similar stories.


Please check the Enhancing Language Learning through Creativity course at Pilgrims website.

Please check the CLIL for Primary Teachers course at Pilgrims website.

Please check the CLIL for Secondary Teachers course at Pilgrims website

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