Reading Problems and Solutions Practice Exercises (page 2)

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Updated on Sep 29, 2011

Practice 2: The Machine Age

Read the selection, and then answer the questions that follow.

(1) For centuries, people made by hand most of the things they needed or wanted. They built houses, bridges, other structures, clothing, and furniture from materials that nature provided. People made tools and home furnishings in their homes or small workshops. They might make an extra or two to sell. But there was a problem: Only one item could be made at a time. Then in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, the Industrial Revolution changed things forever. Goods were made by mass production.
(2) Mass production is the making of many items at one time. Rich people built large factories. Inside, workers ran machines that turned out many copies of the same product at the same time. Back when just one person made an object, he or she had to gather the parts, prepare them, and put them together. Sometimes, that meant using a different tool for each task. The production process was slow. But mass production solved that problem. Now each worker did just one task. And each task required just one tool. The whole process took less time. Factory owners made more items and sold them at lower prices.
(3) But mass production also created a problem. Some workers were bored, doing the same job repeatedly, day after day. A few became so bored they didn't pay attention to what they were doing. They didn't feel responsible for the quality of the item because they had so little to do with the finished product. People began to complain that the quality of some items was not as good as before. That's when robots came to the rescue.
(4) Robots are good for doing boring, repeating motions. The first industrial robot was used in 1954. It was an electronically controlled arm that lifted heavy things all day. Today robots still load and unload heavy items. But they also weld metal parts together, mix dangerous chemicals, spray paint, pack finished products, and even do guard duty! Mechanical workers increase production because they work day and night, without lunch or vacation breaks! Robots do the work faster than humans do. But factories still need humans to program the computers that control the mechanical mates!
5. According to the first paragraph, why was there a problem when people made their own things by hand?
  a. There were no natural materials for building homes.
  b. Only one item could be made at a time.
  c. No one knew how to make a table.
  d. Only one person knew how to make a bridge.
6. How did the Industrial Revolution solve that problem?
  a. More natural wood resources were discovered.
  b. People discovered gold on the moon.
  c. People went back to making one thing at a time.
  d. Factories used machines for mass production.
7. Back when just one person made an object, it sometimes meant using
  a. a different tool for each task.
  b. the same tool for every task.
  c. the same material with another worker.
  d. a different color every time.
8. Which problem did mass production most likely cause?
  a. Some cities had many factories.
  b. Some workers were bored doing one thing over and over.
  c. Many workers ate lunch.
  d. Many factory owners had big offices.
9. Which problem did some bored workers cause?
  a. The quality of products fell.
  b. The number of products fell.
  c. The quality of products increased.
  d. The cost of products increased.
10. How did robots solve a problem? Give at least three examples from the article.
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