Interesting TV programme about a science topic - Cue Card # 800

IELTS Speaking Part 2: IELTS Cue Card/ Candidate Task Card.

Describe an interesting TV programme you watched about a science topic.

You should say:

  • what science topic this TV programme was about
  • when you saw this TV programme
  • what you learnt from this TV programme about a science topic

and explain why you found this TV programme interesting.

[Instruction: You will have to talk about the topic for one to two minutes. You have one minute to think about what you are going to say. You can make some notes to help you if you wish.]


Model Answer:

There is nothing better than watching a good TV show on science when you are in a mood to stimulate your brain and learn something new about our world. Today, I would like to talk about one such science programme which aroused my thoughts rather intensely.

The science TV show, I am talking about, is called “Life After People”. Anyway, I had watched several other "science shows" prior to watching this particular one about a year ago, but this one was a bit different from other programmes in the sense that it was a bit scary. Yes, the name of this show is very much self-explanatory, and it was trying to highlight or explain a very radical situation of our world – a world that didn’t have any human life whatsoever. Sounds a bit scary, doesn’t it? Well, it should because getting to see things like burning skyscrapers, the disappearance of the cities instantly, and corroding landmark bridges is not certainly something very pleasant to watch. 

But, that’s exactly what this science show, a disaster documentary rather, in my humble opinion, while predicting the disintegration of the world’s infrastructure along a timeline that stretches from day one to 10,000 years after our complete disappearance. 

Now, as I kept watching this show, many types of unpleasant and dreaded situations had been crossing my mind that I didn’t like at all. But, whether I liked it or not, it taught me at least two lessons: the first lesson was that our planet doesn’t really need us humans to exist. The second lesson, of course, is that we, the humans are probably the most vulnerable species of all the life forms that exist on our planet.  

Well, this science programme was really interesting to me, mainly because it was explaining a possible scenario, albeit a very frightening one, with some interesting scientific pieces of evidence, which we will not live to see! It was interesting also because it taught us that we, the humans, are nothing compared to this ever-expanding universe in the greater scheme of things.


Part 3: Details Discussion:

Discussion topics: Science and the public

Q 1. How interested are most people in your country in science?
Answer: It all depends on what kind of science we are talking about. If we are talking about being interested in scientific invention and discoveries, I don’t really think that majority of the people in my country are that interested in science. And probably that’s why my country is lagging far, far behind other countries in “research and developments” (or R & D) related funds and works. But, on the other hand, the majority of students in my country choose to study in the “science” group or faculty, but that’s probably because it allows them greater access to the job market.

Q 2. Why do you think children today might be better at science than their parents?
Answer: Well, I would like to attribute a couple of reasons to this thing; the first one, of course, is the better access to news, and information, thanks to the internet and information technology, as well as the regular use of the latest tools and technological devices. Another reason is that more advanced lessons and subjects, related to science and technologies, are included in the school curriculum today so that the children can prepare themselves to face the challenges of the future job market. 

Q 3. How do you suggest the public can learn more about scientific developments?
Answer: Well, they can begin by watching TV channels that air different kinds of programmes and TV documentaries on new scientific inventions and discoveries on a regular basis. They can also get such information by reading different scientific publications and magazines, like “National Geographic” and “Discover" magazine, just to name a couple. Besides, the governments can also offer the common public free access to nearby science museums so that they can easily learn about the latest scientific inventions and discoveries.

Discussion topics: Scientific discoveries

Q 4. What do you think are the most important scientific discoveries in the last 100 years?
Answer: There have been so many scientific discoveries over the last 100 years, and it would virtually impossible to note all of them here. But, I would like to start the list with “computers” at the very top, followed by the internet and smartphones. These inventions have changed our lives to such an extent that it would be considered a “crime” if we don’t mention their names in the very beginning. Then, the “Penicillin”, a life-saving antibiotic drug, certainly come to my mind, next. Television, genome editing, electricity, rockets, and aeroplanes would also easily make their way to the list.

Q 5. Do you agree or disagree that there are no more major scientific discoveries left to make?
Answer: Well, I absolutely disagree with the idea that we have already made all major scientific discoveries, and no more to come in the future. I maintain such a view, mainly because we just don’t know what kind of challenges or needs we will have to face in the future. Besides, it is very much in the nature of humans that they don’t like to remain “intellectually stagnate” for a long period of time. In other words, humans have to come up with new ideas and thoughts constantly to live up to their reputation of being an “intelligent species” for the purpose of carrying on with their civilization.

Q 6. Who should pay for scientific research - governments or private companies?
Answer: As far as I understand, scientific research is a very critical issue and a very giant undertaking, given its implications on social, moral, ethical and cultural aspects of our life. In other words, the findings of scientific research can radically change the way we think or live whether it is intended or not. Besides, most scientific researches require a huge amount of funds to fully run its course in order to yield the expected results, and I don’t think that most private companies are ready to take such a huge risk with their funds. So, in my humble opinion, governments should deal with this research spending issue.

[Question Source: Cambridge IELTS Book 15 – Speaking Test 4]

Your preparation for this cue card topic "Describe an interesting TV programme you watched about a science topic" would enable you to talk about the following topics as well:

1) Describe an interesting TV programme you have recently watched.
2) Describe a television programme that you watched and did not enjoy.
3) Describe a TV documentary you have watched and liked.
4) Describe your favourite TV programme.
5) Describe a TV programme that made you laugh a lot.
6) Describe a TV programme that has made a strong impression on you.
7) Describe a TV documentary you watched that was particularly interesting.
8) Describe a TV or radio programme you enjoyed when you were a child.
9) Describe an educational TV programme that you have watched.
10) Describe a comedy TV series that you have watched.

Tips on talking about this cue card topic:

Cue Card Topic: Describe an interesting TV programme you watched about a science topic.

When you are asked to talk about an interesting TV programme you watched about a science topic, you should focus on three aspects. First, it has to be a TV programme; second, it has to be something that you think is interesting, and finally, the TV programme has to be related to a science topic. 

While describing this TV programme, you can say that you watched it on a TV channel. Say the name of the TV channel, and it will make it clear that it is, in fact, a TV programme. 

To say that it was indeed an interesting TV programme, you can use some words or phrases to express exactly that. A few such words and phrases are - amazing, thought-provoking, incredible,  unbelievable, electric, breathtaking, charging, exhilarating, electrifying, thrilling, mind-blowing, mind-bending, mind-boggling, intriguing, fascinating, and so on. 

Now, to tell about what science topic the TV programme was about, you can mention one of the following: 

Time travel, quantum physics, a scientific invention, a discovery, earth science, animal kingdom, biology, astronomy, the universe, planetary system, black holes, human psychology, a disease, a cure to a disease, vaccine, a pandemic, a prediction about the future world, underwater exploration, the birth of a star, chemistry, physics, matter, the life of scientists, amazing facts about mathematics and so on. 

An example:
I watched a mind-blowing TV programme about a couple of months ago on Channel 5. It was, in fact, a documentary series that covers the fascinating facts about the birth of a star. Before watching this series on TV, I had very little idea about the creation and death of "stars" that are so gigantic and intriguing.

A list of some famous TV programmes about a science topic: 

Are We Alone?
Before We Ruled the Earth
Beyond Tomorrow
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey
How Do They Do It?
How It’s Made
How The Universe Works
Hubble: 15 Years of Discovery
Modern Marvels
Naked Science
Nova Science Now
Our Planet
Planet Earth
Sci Fi Science: Physics of the Impossible
Space's Deepest Secrets
The Nature of Things
The Universe
Wonders of the Universe

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