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Popcorn ESL-Intermediate

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This book developed by ©Academy Global Learning 2020
All rights reserved under ©Academy Global Learning 2020. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.

Designed By:
Christian Alas
Created and illustrated By:
Angelo Romero and Camilo Sanabria

Popcorn

Popcorn is a popular snack of today. Usually served in movie theaters and cinemas, it is one of America’s favorite munchies. Its fame has escalated, and now over a billion pounds of popcorn is produced each year in America alone!

The first discovery of corn dates back to thousands of years ago when Native Americans were growing corn. In 1948, at a rock shelter in New Mexico, archaeologists found what is claimed to be the oldest ears of popcorn ever found.

Apparently, someone had forsaken eating it, leading scientists to identify what we now know was a snack 5,600 years ago. We also know Native Americans sometimes wore head dresses and jewelry made of popcorn kernels when performing traditional dances. But that’s nothing compared to 80,000-year-old fossilized popcorn pollen!

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There are different types of shapes of popcorn. One type is called “butterfly” flakes and has a softer and more tender texture. “Mushroom” flakes are firmer, rounder, and less fragile. They are usually used for caramel corn and less elite than the “butterfly” flakes.

During the Great Depression, popcorn was a business that continue to thrive despite the bad economy. Sold for only 5 or 10 cents a bag, its popularity exploded and continued to rise during World War II, when sugar was low. Americans consumed three times more popcorn than normal during this period.

In the past, popcorn vendors would usually lurk outside of movie theaters and try to sell their snack to passers-by. The cinema owners usually sneered at them and tried to get rid of them, thinking that they were repulsive distractions to movie-goers. They even slandered their product saying it was unfit to eat.

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Some of the less imperious and less lofty owners were smart enough to realize that the popcorn enhanced their sales and would invite the vendors to come inside the theater, offering to split the profit on whatever the popcorn sales made.

Some owners proved to be perjurers, embezzlers, and manipulators, lying about, stealing, or feeding dishonesty off of the earnings of the vendors. Some of the popcorn salesmen eventually left these unscrupulous theaters to sell it on their own. When this happened, the theaters opened their own popcorn booths.

This soon led to today’s convenient movie snack bar. Some of the later owners, hypocrites and bigots who had spoken against or refused to allow the vendors in their theaters in the first place, followed suit, adding popcorn to their snack list.

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The production of popcorn diminished, however, during the early 1950s. The popularity of the television was blameworthy. Movie theaters’ attendances dropped, as did popcorn consumption. It later rose back to fame when families began to eat popcorn at home.

The electric stove was an old way of popping popcorn at home. It didn’t have good results as the temperature would fluctuate in a mercurial fashion, sometimes producing uneven, irregular, and turbulent cooking of the kernels. Almost everyone has completely turned to more modern means of cooking popcorn such as microwaves.

While eating popcorn at movie theaters, some people like to be swaggering meddlers who throw this snack at unsuspecting audience members during a movie, keeping the audience from enjoying the movie.

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It’s an uncouth and impudent thing to do, but even when they are curtly asked to stop, the obstinate meddlers will continue to be insubordinate and continue with their rebellious and unseemly popcorn tossing. Only by ostracizing these meddlers can they be made to stop.

Popcorn is a classic American snack, and as far as time can tell, it always will be. No one can keep movie theater audiences from enjoying their snack and gloating over the fact that they have a perfect, buttery, and salty confection-like popcorn.

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Vocabulary

Match each word in the left column with a description in the right column that best matches its meaning.

1. ___ Diminish

2. ___ Turbulent

3. ___ Escalate

4. ___ Elite

5. ___ Fluctuate

6. ___ Imperious

7. ___ Forsake

A. Best, cream of the crop

B. Move in a boastful, arrogant manner

C. Narrow-minded, intolerant person

D. Arrogant, haughty

E. Abandon, desert

F. Stately, proud, arrogant

G. Snicker, laugh at

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8. ___ Lofty

9. ___ Mercurial

10. ___ Ostracize

11. ___ Sneer

12. ___ Manipulator

13. ___ Swagger

14. ___ Meddler

15. ___ Bigot

H. Worsen, intensify

I. Change, vary

J. Violent, irregular motion

K. Lessen, reduce

L. Exclude, shun, ignore

M. Person who interferes in another’ affairs

N. Shrewd, controlling person

O. Moody, unstable, changeable

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Vocabulary

Match each word in the left column with words in the right column that best match its definition.

16. ___ Perjurer

17. ___ Embezzler

18. ___ Slanderer

19. ___ Hypocrite

20. ___ Curt

21. ___ Gloat

22. ___ Unseemly

23. ___ Impudent

A. One who tells lies about another

B. Disobedient, defiant

C. Rude, improper

D. Rejoice, revel

E. Uncivilized, ill-mannered

F. One who steals, or cheats

G. Stubborn, headstrong

H.Inappropriate, rude

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24. ___ Blameworthy

25. ___ Repulsive

26. ___ Insubordinate

27. ___ Uncouth

28. ___ Obstinate

29. ___ Unscrupulous

30. ___ Rebellious

I. Disrespectful, impolite

J. Liar

K. Guilty, responsible for wrongdoing

L. Disobedient, rebellious

M. Dishonest, immoral

N. Unattractive, revolting, hideous

O. One whose actions contradict his/her teachings.

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Multiple Choice

Popcorn was first created by

A. The French.

B. The Italians.

C. Native Americans.

D.The Australians.

Before becoming a popular snack, popcorn was used as

A. Jewelry.

B. Fertilizer.

C. Shoe cushions.

D. An instrument.

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During the Great Depression, popcorn cost

A. 5 – 10 dollars a bag.

B. 50 cents a bag.

C. 1 dollar a bag.

D. 5 – 10 cents a bag.

Popcorn became less popular in the 1950s due to

A. People becoming allergic to it.

B. TVs replacing movie theatres and popcorn consumption.

C. Popcorn becoming illegal.

D. Popcorn becoming too expensive.

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An old way of cooking popcorn was

    A. In the oven.

    B. On an electric stove.

    C. Over a grill.

    D. In the garden.

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True or False

Choose whether each statement is true or false and write your answer in the space provided.

1. ___ ” Mushroom” popcorn has a soft and tender texture.

2. ___ Butterfly popcorn is firm, round, and less fragile.

3. ___ Popcorn is served in most movie theatres.

4. ___ Every year, over 1 billion pounds of popcorn is eaten in America.

5. ___ Popcorn is popular in combination with butter.

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Short Answer

1. What popcorn discoveries were made in New Mexico in 1948?

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2. How did popcorn vendors and theatre owners get along?

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3. How did Native Americans use popcorn?

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4. Explain why the stove did not become a popular way to cook popcorn.

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Reading Questions

1. What is the writer’s main idea?

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2. What example supports the writer’s main idea?

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3. How does the example help the writer’s argument?

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4. What do you think about the story?

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