Online Listening Activities for Beginner Students: Magic Mouse

50-minute English Lesson

Online listening activities for beginner students like this one help ELL students improve their language skills. In this story, we talk about the history of the computer mouse.

Online Listening Activities for beginner students mouse history
The mouse used to have a rubber tracking ball

Read the story

Online Listening Activities for bginner Students: COMPUTER MOUSE

A computer mouse is a small box. Its purpose is to move a line on a screen and help users do work and play games. Where did the mouse come from?

The story of the mouse begins in 1967.

The first mouse looked like a large block of wood with a red button on top. In 1973, a company called Xerox improved the mouse. It was small, light and easy to use.

Six years later, Steve Jobs visited Xerox. He saw a special computer with advanced technology and software. This machine used a mouse to touch small images on the screen. The images opened files and programs.

Steve loved it. It was easy to use but expensive. He directed his team to make a computer with those features. It should have a nice design and sell for a low price.

In 1984, Apple released a home computer called the Macintosh. People loved using the mouse. Soon, many companies were making computers with a mouse.

Some people say Steve took the idea from Xerox. Maybe that’s true. It’s also true he saw an idea and made it better. He also made it less expensive. The first mouse cost $300. Apple made it for $15.

The story of the mouse teaches us about business. We often need a new idea to be successful. Some people, like Steve, take an old idea and improve it. Then they tell a story. The story usually tells people that their lives will be better with this machine.

Steve Jobs did not make anything new. But, he was a good storyteller. And telling a good story is an important business skill.

Listen without reading

ONLINE LISTENING ACTIVITIES FOR beginner STUDENTS: mouse story

Audio

Here is the listening file for this lesson.

Listening level: 2
Audio file: 2:15 min
Story length: 257 words
Online Listening Activities for beginner students original computer mouse
Original computer mouse with a wooden block (image free to use)

Quiz: Mouse

Did you understand the story?

Let's check with a True-False quiz.

English listening lesson: Gap Fill

Listen again to the ESL story and fill in the blanks.

A computer mouse is a small __________ . Its purpose is to move a line on a __________ and help users do work and play __________ . Where did the mouse come from?

The story of the mouse begins in __________ .

The first mouse looked like a large __________ of wood with a red button on top. In __________ , a company called Xerox __________ the mouse. It was small, __________ and easy to use.

Six years later, Steve Jobs __________ Xerox. He saw a __________ computer with advanced technology and software. This machine used a mouse to __________ small images on the screen. The images __________ files and programs.

Steve loved it. It was easy to use but __________ . He directed his team to make a computer with those __________ . It should have a nice design and sell for a __________ price.

In __________ , Apple released a home computer called the Macintosh. People loved using the mouse. Soon, many __________ were making __________ with a mouse.

Some people say Steve took the __________ from Xerox. Maybe that’s true. It’s also true he saw an __________ and made it better. He also made it less __________ . The first mouse cost $300. Apple made it for $ __________ .

The story of the mouse __________ us about business. We often need a new idea to be __________ . Some people, like Steve, take an old idea and __________ it. Then they tell a story. The story __________ tells people that their lives will be __________ with this machine.

Steve Jobs did not make __________ new. But, he was a good __________ . And telling a good story is an __________ business skill.

ESL discussion questions

Talk about the ESL Listening story for beginner students.

  1. What kind of story is this?
  2. Summarize the evolution of the computer mouse.
  3. Inventions often start with a problem. What was the problem in this story?
  4. What are the pros and cons of a mouse?
  5. Do you think Steve Jobs stole the idea of a mouse?
  6. What piece of technology would you like to improve?

Synonym match

MATCH THE WORD OR PHRASE ON THE LEFT WITH THE CORRECT SYNONYM.

1. screen
2. advanced
3. features
4. design 
5. special
a. groundbreaking
b. style
c. monitor
d. characteristic
e. unique

ESL listening activity: anagrams

MOVE THE LETTERS. MAKE A WORD FROM THE ESL Listening STORY.

  1. PVEEXEINS
  2. RMEVIOP
  3. KCBOL
  4. IAMHCEN
  5. TNRTAPIMO
  6. WOASTRFE

Writing practice

Write the five sentences. Put the words in the correct order.

  1. about / of / the / mouse / story / teaches / us / The / business
  2. with / like / looked / button / top / a / first / block / of / The / a / mouse / on / red / wood / large
  3. machine / The / their / tells / be / lives / with / better / that / usually / will / story / people / this
  4. and / should / design / price / sell / for / It / have / a / low / nice / a
  5. This / on / a / machine / the / small / mouse / touch / to / used / images / screen

Another ESL listening story

Try another free online English listening practice story. Listen and learn how the iPod got started.

Watch a video and take notes

Did you like this English Listening Practice story about the computer mouse? Watch a video – it’s a Japanese TV commercial for a computer mouse – and take notes about what you see.

  1. Watch the video.
  2. Take notes.
  3. Make a list with at least seven facts.

Get the worksheet

ESL Listening materials

Want to print out these online listening activities for beginner students? Click to download the PDF worksheet.

Click to see the answers for this online listening activities for students activity.

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