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The Genius Sperm Bank
Task 1 Task 2 Task 3 Task 4 Introduction Rating Form
Task 1: Pre-viewing Activity: Vocabulary

A. Familiarize yourself with the following vocabulary items with their definitions.

Vocabulary Meaning
grandiose magnificent, impressive, or intended to seem important or great
optometry the practice or profession of examining the eyes using suitable instruments or appliances  to find defects and correct  sight problems
retro old fashioned,  relating to styles or fashions from the past
repository a place where things are stored and can be found
detrimental causing harm or damage

B. You are probably familiar with the words below. Match the words on the left with their definitions.

Task 2: Watch the video and complete the following task.

Complete the statements below with the information given in the video.

Click here to watch the video part 1Click here to hide the video

Video ©BBC.com
Click here to watch the video part 2Click here to hide the video

Video ©BBC.com
Click here to watch the video part 3Click here to hide the video

Video ©BBC.com
  1. Robert Graham believed that the gene pool was going downhill and we needed to do something about that.
  2. Robert Graham was accused of being a racist and a Nazi.
  3. Robert Graham’s sperm bank was operational for nearly 20 years.
  4. Despite tremendous controversies, Robert Graham believed that he was responsible for the creation of over 200 children.
  5. Robert Graham simply wanted to recruit the most able and the most brilliant men he could find to donate their seed to him and the seed would be handed out to interested women.
Task 3: Vocabulary round-up

Complete the following sentences using the words in the box. Use the correct grammatical form of the words.

  • notorious
  • obsessed
  • grandiose
  • downhill
  • detrimental
  • breeding
  • spectacle
  • controversy
  • repository
  • optometry
  • manipulating
  • retro
  • notion
  1. The penguins' breeding season has begun. It is an important period for them to give birth to new penguins.
  2. John is a very wise businessman who is full of grandiose ideas of bringing huge profits to the company.
  3. Osama bin Laden was one of the world’s most notorious terrorists.
  4. Why are people so obsessed with money? People are unwise to sacrifice love for money.
  5. These chemicals have a detrimental impact on the environment so we should avoid using them.
  6. I studied optometry in university because I want to help people with poor vision.
  7. Grandma is a repository of knowledge about our family history.
  8. The opposition leader accused government ministers of manipulating the statistics to suit themselves.
  9. We witnessed the extraordinary spectacle of an old lady climbing a tree to rescue her cat.
  10. The decoration of my granny’s house is quite retro for he loves the traditional style very much.
  11. The programme makers reject the notion that seeing violence on television has harmful effects on children.
  12. The proposals to reduce the strength of the army have been the subject of much controversy.
  13. After his wife died, his health started to go downhill. He used to be very strong and healthy but now he is often ill.
Task 4: Post-viewing Activity: Discussion

Discuss the following questions with your group members.

  1. What do you know about a sperm bank?
  2. Why do you think Robert Graham started the project Repository Germinal Choice?
  3. Do you think it would be a better world if most people were genius?
  4. How did your genetic DNA influence your appearance and behaviour? How much did you take after your mother? Father? How similar are you to your siblings?
About The Genius Sperm Bank

Runtime: 50 minutes
Available: http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-genius-sperm-bank/

The Genius Sperm Bank is a documentary aired on BBC Two in 2006; it concerns the history and progress of the repository project funded and hosted by Robert Graham, a millionaire optometrist, who was ambitious to create an intelligent human race by breeding kids with sperm donated by some great men like the Nobel Prize winners.

To be safe from prying eyes, Graham used an underground bunker in the backyard of his ranch in San Diego, California. He then set about sourcing the cleverest sperm and managed to convince three Nobel Prize winners to donate. One of them was William Shockley, a notorious racist. Accused of being a Nazi, Graham got slammed in the press. His other donors left him and his dream was nearly destroyed. Despite this the clients came flocking.

Of the few repository children that have come forward, Doron Blake, 23, was the bank's second-born child and Graham's poster boy. "I turned out very well, my IQ was off the charts and basically I was everything Robert Graham wanted," he says. "Throughout my life I've felt I've not had to work as hard for the level of achievement that I've reached as most of my peers did. "I don't usually broadcast the fact that I came from a sperm bank because I don't think it's that interesting. People find out when it comes up."
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