Derek Sivers: Weird or just different? (Teens)

“There’s a flip side to everything,” the saying goes, and in 2 minutes, Derek Sivers shows this is true in a few ways you might not expect.

Through his new project, MuckWork, Derek Sivers wants to lessen the burdens (and boredom) of creative people.

Level Goals Themes
Pre-intermediate (high) Modals of speculation Cultural difference
Intermediate Modals of deduction Innovation and inspiration
Teens Discussion Creativity


  • What is unique to your country or culture? How do you think your country is different to others?
  • Is it a good thing for countries and cultures to be different? How can we use this difference?
  • Do you know anything about other countries that seems strange to you?


True or False?

  1. In Japan, streets are named in exactly the same way as they are in other countries.
  2. There are some doctors in China that you pay when you are healthy, and don’t pay when you are sick.
  3. Sivers says that whatever assumptions we have, the opposite may also be true.
  4. Houses in Japan are numbered in the way they are ordered around the outside of the block.
  5. West African music is exactly the same as every other type.


Vocab Definition
1. To assume A. To become aware of something, to understand clearly.
2. To presume B. Excellent, ingenious or just very, very good.
3. Realize C. For something to be exactly different to something else. To be absolutely contrary
4. Opposite D. To accept something as true without proof or evidence.
5. Brilliant (Idea) E. Easily understood or believed to be true without evidence.
6. Obvious F . T o adopt a particular attitude towards something or somebody.


Speculation: We use could + verb to express the possibility of something being true in the present or the future.

Could + verb / Couldn’t + verb

  • I’m not sure where David is, but he’s not home. I guess he could be at work.
  • We could go to the park this weekend, or we could go to the mall instead.
  • She couldn’t be 30! She looks 22!

We can use might + verb to express the possibility of something in the present, or of something happening in the future.

Might + verb / Might not + verb

  • It might rain tomorrow, so I won’t do laundry today.
  • Arsenal might not win this weekend.
  • There might be a lot of traffic this morning, so you should avoid the main road.

Deduction: We use must + be or can’t + be to express a certainty based on some fact(s).

Must + be / Must not + be / Can’t + be

  • James must be at work, his car is not here and he said he needed to go to the office today.
  • It can’t be the neighbour’s dog barking, it isn’t loud enough.
  • That must not be Jane calling, her phone is broken.


Sentences to be completed with:

  • Must + verb / Can’t + verb
  • Might + verb / Might not + verb
  • Could + verb / Couldn’t + verb
  1. Your mother ___________ a great cook. You are always so keen to get back home to eat!
  2. I don’t know why I am so tired these days. I ____________ working too hard, or maybe I’m not sleeping very well.
  3. Do you know where Carl is?
    He ___________ out – his car keys are on the table.
  4. You seem to know everything about the theatre. You______________ every week.
  5. To give the promotion to Harold was silly. He_____________ much about this company after only a year working here.
  6. Go and look in the kitchen for your gloves. They ______________ in there.
  7. Oh, the phone is ringing. Answer it. It_____________ Kate.
  8. That’s the second new car they have bought this year. They ____________ very rich!


Speculation and Deduction

Cultural Quirks – True or False!? (See activities download)

  • Work in pairs or small groups
  • Each card has an interesting or quirky cultural fact about a particular country on it.
  • Discuss them with your group or partner and decide which are true and which are false.
  • Remember to use speculation and deduction!
    “It must be true because…”
    “It can’t be false because…”
    “It might be true, but I’m not sure because…”
  • Report answers and reasons for them back to the class.


  • Which cultural differences did you think were the most interesting? Why?
  • Do cultural differences like these make one country better than another? Why / Why not?
  • Is it ok to talk about one country or culture being better than another? Why / Why not?
  • Which country do you think is the most different to yours? Why?
  • If you could change something about your country, what would it be and why?
  • What do you think is the best way to learn about another country?
  • What do you think defines a culture?
  • What is the weirdest thing you have ever learned about another country? What is the best or most ingenious?


3-5m Each

  • Milk bags are way better than bottles!
  • Driving on the right is so much better than driving on the left!
  • Everyone should have a siesta in the afternoon!
  • Tipping should be illegal.
  • Cycling is too dangerous. It should be illegal to ride on the road.

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