Unit 4     The Virtual World



I. Suggested Teaching Plan


Students will be able to:

1.       understand the main idea(despite the many negative effects of virtual life, the author prefers it to real life) and structure of the text(contrast between virtual life and real life);

2.       learn some rules of interpreting new vocabulary and usage related to computers and the Internet in English;

3.       grasp the key language points and grammatical structures in the text;

4.       conduct a series of reading, listening, speaking and writing activities related to the theme of the unit.

Time allotment

1st period

2nd period

3rd period

4th period

5th period


While-reading(text organization; language points)

While-reading(language points; “find” structure; consequences of virtual life)

Post-reading; Check on students’ home reading(Text B)

Theme-Related Language Learning Tasks

Pre-reading tasks

1.       T asks Ss the following questions on the poem Surfing the Internet: (5 minutes)

—What was the hero doing when his boss came in? (surfing the Internet)

—How did he act in front of his boss? (He pretended to be surprised at the computer which had crashed “unexpectedly”.)

2.       Ss look at the theme of this unit (the Virtual World) and the title of Text A (A Virtual Life), then try to:

—find antonyms of “virtual world” and “virtual life”;(real world, real life)

—suggest synonyms for “virtual world”;(cyberspace, cyberia, etherworld, virtual reality, Internet world, net world, etc.)

—say what people can do on the Internet.(communicating with people, shopping, reading, entertainment, education, working, hacking, publishing, etc.)

3.       Imaginative writing (28 minutes)

1) T dictates to Ss the following paragraph:

      For the past two weeks, other participants of the Net Survival Contest(网络生存竞赛) and I have been shut up in bare hotel rooms. Our only link to the real world has been a computer that is hooked up to the Internet (联网电脑). We have relied on it, not only for food, bed sheets and other daily necessities, but also to set up an e-business (电子商务) of our own.

2) Now Ss will complete the paragraph beginning with: “Now it is time for me to walk out into the light of day again…” They will give their imagination full play. They will write no more than 100 words.

3) Ss form groups of four to five, and read aloud to each other their own writings.

4) T asks some groups to recommend the best piece in their group to the class.

4.       T may lead in to Text A by saying: Some of us like to live a life in contact with real things and real people, but others favor a virtual existence. Which life is better? I’m sure you have different opinions. Now let’s read Text A to find out what Maia Szalavitz has to say about these two life styles. (2 minutes)

While-reading tasks

1.       Text organization (15 minutes)

1)      T draws Ss’ attention to Text Organization Exercise 1, and lets them read its instruction as well as what has already been done for them in this exercise.

2)      Ss try to complete the exercise by simply reading the sentence of each paragraph in Text A.

3)      Ss compare answers with each other; if necessary, T may help.

2.       T explains the key language points and gives Ss practice (Language study). (45 minutes)

3.       T guides Ss through Structure Exercise 2. (10 minutes)

4.       Ss re-read Paras 4-10, work in pairs to find out consequences of “my” virtual life. Can they use the “find oneself + adj./past participle/present participle” structure when summing up the consequences? (10 minutes)

5.       Some pairs report to the class their findings, using the “find” structure. (5 minutes)

Post reading tasks

1.       Computer-related vocabulary items (20 minutes)

1)      Ss scan Text A to find out vocabulary items to computer and the Internet. (They are: virtual life, the net, telecommuter, email, Internet mailing lists, computer-assisted, data, link, cyber-interaction, on line, system cash, click on the modem, connection, password)

2)      T tells Ss that new terms related to computer and the Internet are constantly added to the English vocabulary, so much so that many of them are not included in any English dictionary. However, if we apply certain rules, their meanings are easy to deduce.

3)      T gives Ss more examples of computer-related vocabulary items (see Text Analysis)

2.       T guides Ss through some after-text exercises. (25 minutes)

3.       T checks on Ss’ home reading (Text B). (3 minutes)

4.       Ss do Part IV: Theme-Related Language Learning Tasks. (1 period)

5.       T asks Ss to prepare the next unit: (2 minutes)

1)      do the pre-reading task

2)      preview Text A.


II. Text Analysis

The most dynamic combining forms/prefixes for new computer-and-Internet-related vocabulary in /English are cyber-, virtual, net- (net-), Web- (web-), and E- (e-).

New English vocabulary items derived from them usually appear in the following forms:

1.       combining forms/prefixes+ noun: this is the most common type, e.g. virtual life(虚拟生活), virtual world(虚拟世界) virtual reality(虚拟现实),cyber-interaction(网络互动),cyberculture(网络文化), cybernut(网虫),cyberpet(电子宠物),cyberspace(网络空间), netwriter(放送电子邮件的人), nethead(网虫), Webmaster(网站维护者), Web page(网页), Website(网站), WebTV(网络电视机),E-book(电子书籍),E-shopper(网上购物者), e-card(电子贺卡),e-journal(电子杂志),e-business(电子商务), e-cash(电子货币), e-commerce(电子商务).

2.       combining forms/prefixes + verb: e.g. cybersurf(网络漫游), netsurf(网络漫游), websurf, (网络漫游), email (发送电子邮件)

3.       words like cyber, net, etc. + suffix: e.g. cyberian(网络用户) cyberphobia(电脑恐惧症) cybernaut (网络用户)netter(网民) Webify(使万维网化) cyberize(使联网)

4.       clipped word: cyberdoc(网络医生), Netcast(网络播放), Netiquette(网规), Netizen(网民), Netpreneur(网络企业家) Webcam(网络摄象机), Webcasting(网络播放) Webliography(网络书目), Webnomics(网络经济), Webzine网络杂志), e- tailing(电子零售), e-zine(电子杂志).


III. Cultural Notes

1.The Internet: an international computer network for the exchange of information. It was originally used mainly in the academic and military worlds but has since become available to the large and increasing number of people with personal computers. Other services, e.g. the World Wide Web, are available through it.

The Internet is changing our lives and a parallel universe is rapidly emerging online. Today there is scarcely an aspect of our life that isn’t being upended by the torrent of information available on the hundreds of millions of sites crowding the Internet, not to mention its saving companies billions of dollars in producing goods and serving the needs of their customers. Nothing like it has been seen since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, when power-driven machines began producing more in a day than men could turn out in nearly a year. The Internet and e-commerce are viewed as a global megatrend along the lines of the printing press, the telephone, the computer and the electricity.

You would be hard pressed to name something that isn’t available on the Internet. Consider: books, health care, movie tickets, baby clothes, stocks, real estate, toys and airline tickets. American kids today are so computer savvy that it virtually ensures the United States will remain the unchallenged leader in cyberspace for the foreseeable future. Most kids use computers to play games and have email chats with friends.

What’s clear is that, whatever we like it or not, the Internet is an ever-growing part of our lives and there is no turning back.

2.       NBC (the National Broadcasting Company): the first of the original three US national broadcasting companies. It was established in 1926 by Radio Corporation of America as two groups of radio stations. The first NBC television channel opened in 1940. The company is now owned by General Electric. Its main offices are at Rockefeller Center in New York.

3.       PBS ( the Public Broadcasting Services): (in the US) a television system that broadcasts programs to an association of local stations which use no television advertisements and do not make a profit. It was established by the Public Broadcasting Act and is supported by money from the US Government, large companies and the public. PBS is known for the high quality of its programs.

4.       ABC ( the American Broadcasting Company): one of the original three major television networks in American. It began in 1943 as the Blue Networks of six radio stations. ABC is now owned by the Walt Disney Company.


IV. Language Study

1.virtual: 1) created and existing only in a computer 虚拟的

       can visit a virtual store and put what I want in my basket at the click of a mouse button.

  Some people spend too much time escaping from reality into the virtual world conjuring up on their computer screens.

 2) being or acting as what is described, but not accepted as such in name or officially 差不多的,实质上的

  He claimed to be a virtual prisoner in his own home.

  The world’s governments have done virtually nothing to combat the threat of nuclear accidents.

  virtual world 虚拟世界     virtual community虚拟社区  virtual pet虚拟宠物         virtual reality 虚拟现实

2.interpret: 1) make clear the meaning of (either in words or by artistic performance) 解释,说明

Poetry helps to interpret life.

The professor tried to interpret the difficult passage in the book.

 2) consider to be the meaning of 认为是……的意思

She interprets the dream as an unconscious desire to be young again.

We interpreted his silence as a refusal.

They are worried that the students might interpret the new regulation as a restriction of their rights.

3) translate what is said in one language into another 作口译

No one in the tour group spoke Spanish so we had to ask the guide to interpret.

He worked as a interpreter at the UN’ s World Summit on Sustainable Development.他在联合国可持续发展大会上担任口译。

Note:   translate笔译      translator笔译者

Interpret口译      interpreter口译者

3.tone: a particular quality or intonation of the voice

 From the tone of her voice I could tell she was very angry.

 The doctor’s tone was very serious.

4.stretch: vi.(cause to) become longer, wider, etc. without breaking

Having finished their morning work, the clerks stood up behind their desks, stretching themselves.

My working day stretches from seven in the morning to eight at night.

stretch one’s arms/legs/oneself/one’s muscles舒展手臂/腿脚/身体/肌肉

n. the ability to increase the length or width

at full stretch 尽力而为

at a stretch 连续不断地

5. submit vt.1)give (sth) to sb. so that it may be formally considered (followed by to)提交,呈递

You should submit your report to the committee.

Peter submitted his plans for the new town square to the local government.

2) to yield(oneself); agree to obey 服从,顺从

Should a wife submit herself to her husband?

Children at school must submit to the orders of the headmaster.

vi. surrender, give in; abstain from resistance  投降,屈服

The rebels swore never to submit. 起义者发誓绝不投降。

6.edit: revise or correct

Jack is busy editing Shakespeare’s plays for use of in schools.

John didn’t finish editing the annual report until the end of last year.

editor n. 编辑

7.email: n. electronic mail

v. send an email to

Young people like to keep in touch with their friends via the email.

I will email you as soon as I get the news.

前缀e-表示: 电子的。 类似的词有: E-shopper 网上购物者; E-book电子图书; e-card电子贺卡;e-business 电子商务

8. communicate: contact sb. in any way, esp. by speaking to them, writing to them or calling them (followed by with)

Some young people depend heavily on e-mail to communicate with each other.

They have been divorced for years and never communicated with each other.

9. relationship n. 1) family or personal connection

             2) connection

What relationship between language and thought?

The scientist had a good relationship with his American colleagues.

-ship 这个后缀可以表示“情况、状态、性质、关系”,如:friendship, fellowship, partnership也可以表示“身份、职位、资格、权限”等,如:citizenship(公民权,身份) kingship(王位,王权),还可以表示“技术,技艺,技能”,类似的词有:workmanship (手艺,工艺) horsemanship (骑术)。

10. at times: sometimes, occasionally 有时候

I do feel a little nervous at times.

At times Tom’ mother lets him hold his little sister.


at the same time

at all times  总是,始终,经常

in time

on time

at one time  过去有一段时间

at other times 在其他时候;又有时

many a times 很多时候

in/out of time 合(不合)节拍

11.take in: absorb sth. into the body by breaking or swallowing

The earth takes in heat and light from the sun.

Fish take in oxygen through their gills.

take in 另外还有别的含义,如:了解,领会;包含,包括;接收(房客,客人等),上……在家中居住,受留;接活在家做;欺骗,哄骗;订阅。辨别下面句中的含义:

1)  They listened to my lecture, but I wandered how much they took in.

2)  We need more time to take in the situation.

3)  The old lady takes in lodgers when she can get them.

4)  Don’t trust their fellow; he’ll take you in if he gets the chance.

5)  I’ll take in a daily newspaper and a magazine.

take 有关的短语:

take sth. down  拿下来;记下来;拆除;杀杀威风

The policeman took down all the details of the accident.

take for  当作,以为是

Do you take me for a fool?

Take off 脱下(衣服);起飞;匆匆离开;取下来;取消

The six boys got into the car and took off for their school.

take on 接受,从事;雇用;让上车;开始具有,获得;变得风行

I’ll take the work on, but I can’t tell you exactly when I’ll finish it.

I didn’t expect pointed shoes to take on, but they have.

take out 取出,割掉;带……出去

The dentist took out five of Mary’s teeth.

He took his wife out to the theater every weekend.

take to 喜欢;养成某种习惯;赶赴;轻易的学会

She has really taken to that child.

She takes to mathematics likes a duck takes to water.

take up 开始学习;从事某种活动,发展某种爱好;占用;接受;改善

You know I dropped medicine and took up physics.

12.data: information, usu. in the form of facts or statistics that you can analyze

This data is stored on the network and can be accessed by anybody.

The data is still being analyzed, so I can’t tell you the result.

13.spit: send (liquid, food,etc.) out from the mouth (used in the pattern: spit sth. (out) (at/on/onto/ sb./sth.))

The baby spat its food out on the table.

He took one sip of the wine and spat it out.

14.on line: connected to or controlled by a computer (network)

Our system is on line to the main computer.

The largest online institution is the University of Phoenix, with some 1000 students today and hopes of reaching 200,000 students in 10 years.

line 有关的一些短语:

in line for 有可能得到的,即将轮到的

He is in line for promotion.

in line with跟……一致的,符合……的; 按照

All this was quite in line with traditional practices in Spain.

In line with the custom of the school, the students had a holiday between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

read between the lines 读字里行间的意思,领会言外之意

While reading, you should read between the lines.

15.symptom: 1) sign of the existence of sth.bad 征兆

High interest rates are a symptom of a weak economy.

They regard the increase in crime as a symptom of a more general decline in moral standards.

2) change in the body that indicates an illness 症状

Yellowness of the eyes is one of the symptoms of jaundice.眼睛发黄疸病的一个症状。

If the symptoms persist, you should go to your doctor.

16.nightmare: a terrifying dream

Watching horror films gives me nightmares.

I had a nightmare about falling off the skyscraper.

16.interaction n. an effect on each other or something else

The interaction of the two substances causes heat, and thus the temperature around them increases.

这个词是由前缀inter-(在……之间,互相)加动词act 然后再加后缀-ion变成名词。有相同前缀的词还有:international adj. 国际的; interplant v. 在……间套种 ; interpersonal adj.人与人之间的; interchange  n /v. 互换; interview n./v. 会见; interweave v. 混纺,交织

17.conversely: in a way that is opposite to sth. 相反地

1 will buy 100 yuan worth of Japanese goods. Conversely, 100 yuan will buy 1worth of American goods.

You can add the fluid to the powder or, conversely, the powder to the fluid.

18. appropriate adj. correct or suitable

A long dress is appropriate for a formal wedding.

Shoes of this kind are appropriate for such occasion.

19. but then: yet at the same time 但另一方面,然而

The failure of China’s soccer team looks inevitable. But then, anything can happen to football.

Mary performed better than the others in the final exam; but then, she spent much longer on it than they did.

20.jar: have a harsh or unpleasant effect (used in the pattern: jar sth ., jar on sb./sth.) 使……感到不快,刺激

You shouldn’t have too many colors in a small space as the effect can jar.

The loud bang jarred my nerves.

Her squeaky voice jarred on me.

21. suck in: (usu. passive) involve (sb.) in an activity, an argument, etc.,usu. against their will (used in the pattern: suck sb. in/into sth.; suck in ) 吸引,使卷入

I don’t want to get sucked into the debate about school reform.

Some teenagers don’t want to get involved with gangs, but they find themselves getting sucked in. suck up 吸引;奉承,拍马屁

The canoe was sucked into the whirlpool.

He is always sucking up to his boss.

22 in sight: 1) visible 可以看见的

The train was still in sight.

It was early in the morning and there wasn’t anyone in sight on campus.

2) likely to come soon 临近

Two months passed, and victory was not yet in sight.

A solution to the problem of environmental pollution now seems in sight.


at first sight 初看起来

at the sight of 在看到……时

in sight of 可以看见

out of sight 看不见

within sight of 已经看到,……在望

23. sensitive adj. 1)quickly or easily receiving impressions

2) easily hurt in the spirit; easily offended

He is very sensitive about his ugly appearance.

An author must not be too sensitive to criticism.

Cats’ eyes are very sensitive to light than human eyes.

Sensitive常与aboutto搭配,意思是“敏感的”,非常容易与sensible 混淆。sensible的意思是“明智的,明理的”;也可与of搭配,意思是“知道的,觉察的”如:He is sensible of the danger of his position.

24.emotional: 1) of the emotions

She is grateful to him for his emotional support while she was in trouble.

It’s quite difficult to handle emotional problems.

2) having emotions that are easily excited

Women are often said to be more emotional than men.

Marie got very emotional when we parted, and started to cry.

25. routine n.  the regular fixed ordinary way of working or doing things

         adj.  regular, not unusual

Going around to the bank was part of the daily routine of his work.

26. cue n. 1) anything that serves as a signal about what to do or say (followed by to /for)暗示

Mr. Clinton’s excitement was the cue for a campaign.

When I nod my head, that’s your cue to give flowers to him.

2) (esp. in a play) the signal for the next person to speak or act 提示(如演员台词的最后一句,暗示其他演员出台)

take one’s cue from sb 看某人怎么做就怎么做

27.rely on/upon: depend confidently on, put trust in

They rely on themselves, which is much better.                     

Nowadays we rely increasingly on computers to do a lot of office work..

Don’t rely on my/me going to India.

He can always be relied upon for help.

28. abuse n. wrong or bad use or treatment 滥用

The World Health Organization (WHO) has published a report on drug abuse and addiction.

The policemen are making an investigation of child abuse.

vt. to do cruel things to (a person or animals) 虐待

I won’t allow you to abuse that dog.

前缀ab-有“离去、相反、不”的意思,如:abnormal adj. 反常的; absorb v. 吸收,吸去;absolve v.  解除,赦免;  absent adj. 缺席的; abdicate  v. (正式)放弃

29.restore: vt. bring back to a former condition ( used in the pattern: restore sth.; restore sb. to sth.)

Law and order will be quickly restored after the incident.

The people in the town decided to restore the old buildings that had been ruined in the war.

Winning three games restored their confidence.

30. arrange: prepare or plan (used in the pattern: arrange sth.; arrange to do sth.; arrange for sb./sth. to do sth. )

I will arrange everything.

I have arranged to see my new boss tomorrow morning.

Robbie has arranged for the man to come whenever needed.

Mama has arranged that Mrs. Brown should come in occasionally to help us.

31. flee: run away (from)(used in the pattern: flee from/to; flee someplace )

The customers fled from the bank when the alarm sounded.

During the war, thousands upon thousands of Afghans fled the country.

32. interview n.1) meeting with sb. for formal consultation or examination 面试,口试

In the interview, he mentioned his former work experience again and again, which bored everyone present.

I have been asked to go for an interview for a project I applied for at Harvard University.

2) meeting with someone whose views are questioned 面谈,采访

In an exclusive interview with our reporter, the film star revealed some of his personal affairs.

Radio interviews are generally more relaxed than television ones.

vt. have or obtain an interview with面试;采访

As a journalist, he interviewed many government officials.

After the press confidence, the journalist interviewed the UN Secretary General about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

33.appointment: an arrangement to meet or visit sb. at a particular time (followed by with )

You can’t see the president of the university unless you make an appointment.

I’ve made n appointment to see my tutor tomorrow.



34. click v. 1) make or cause to make a short, sharp sound

         2) make a click with a mouse

n. a short, sharp sound

When shopping online, you just click the mouse and order what you want to buy.

click是个拟声词。类似的词有: clash当当,叮当声,铿锵声;clink叮当叮当(碰响,钱响);crash隆隆,哗啦倒塌;crack(枪,鞭子)劈啪声;clap劈啪劈啪(拍手声);clatter马蹄得得;chuckle(母鸡)咯咯叫,(人)吃吃笑。

35. tune: a series of musical notes that is pleasant and easy to remember

She whistled a happy tune all the way home.

He was humming a merry tune while cooking.


change one’s tune 改变看法、做法等

in/out of tune 入调/走调

Text B

1.       be hooked on: be very keen on and absorbed in

My aunt is hooked on package holidays in Spain.

2.       on top of: 1) over, resting on:

Put the red book on top of the others.

   2) in addition to;

    He borrowed 50 from me for the journey and then, on top of that, asked me if he could borrow my car.


from top to bottom 完全的,全部的

from top to toe 从头到脚

blow one’s top 异常恼怒

on top of the world 极为愉快;万事如意

come to the top/ be at the top of the ladder 达到(居于)职业、事业等的最高地位;达到颠峰

3.       intense: serious and concentrated

4.       acquaintance: 1) person whom one knows

He had a wide circle of acquaintances.

2) knowledge or information that gained through experience

He has some acquaintance with German, but does not speak it fluently.


have a bowing/nodding acquaintance with 与……为点头之交;对……略知一二

make sb’s acquaintance, make the acquaintance of sb 与某人结识

5.       scatter 1) send, go, in different directions: 驱散

The police scattered the crowd.

2) throw in different directions 散布

They scattered gravel on the icy road after snow.

6.       vehicle 1) means by which thought, feeling etc. can be conveyed: 传播媒介

Art may be used as a vehicle for propaganda.

2)any conveyance for goods and passengers on land.陆上交通工具

7.       on the whole : all things considered, in general

Our opinions are on the whole the same.

8.       tendency n.

She  showed musical tendencies from early age.

9.       slip vi. 溜走,悄悄的走;滑倒,滑落

vt. 悄悄放走

n. 疏漏,差错

  give…the slip 避开,甩掉

  let slip 偶然泄露,无意中说出,失言

  slip up 失误,出差错

 If you are not interested in a bloke you can always give him the slip in a bar crowed as that.

 He let slip that it was his birthday the next day.

 These figures don’t make sense have we slipped up somewhere?

10.   individual n.个人

a. 个别的,个人的

 Like many creative individuals she can be very bad-tempered.

 Each individual table is finished by hand.

11.   to one’s knowledge: as far as one knows or would expect

In this town there are only a couple of restaurants that to my knowledge serve goog food.

12.   innocent  a. knowing no evil, naïve

n. an innocent person

 She has such an innocent face that I find it hard to believe anything bad of her.

 When innocent children are murdered by terrorists there is public outcry.

 When it comes to money, she is a complete innocent.

13.   call forth    使产生,引出                       call on/upon 访问;号召,要求

call back     回电话                            call up 打电话;召集;使人想起

call for     叫(某人)来;要求,需要            call in  叫……进来,召来

call off    取消