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ESL / EFL Lesson Plan on the Dollar

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Dollar hits all-time low against Euro



 

Friday December 24, 2004

Intermediate +

The US dollar fell to a new-time low of $1.3486 against the euro earlier amid new concerns about the strength of the US economy. The greenback has weakened continuously since September due to concerns over trade, low levels of consumer spending, an increasingly mammoth budget deficit, and the prospect of more federal cash being pumped into Iraq. This is also of prime concern in Euroland where strong euro is hurting their exports. French finance minister said there could be world “economic catastrophe” unless measures are taken to stem the rising euro. However, European Central Bank President, controller of the 12-nation currency will not yet take action and intervene in the currency market to halt the dollar’s slide. The dollar has lost 63 percent against the euro since October 2000, when it was just 82 cents. Analysts believe the Euro will continue to grow stronger. Adrian Hughes of HSBC said, “I can see it finishing the year around $1.35 and we can see that it's going to be a steady track upward for the euro/dollar in 2005, finishing the year around $1.40.”


 
 

POSSIBLE WARM UPS / COOL DOWNS

1. CHAT:  Talk in pairs or groups about the dollar / the euro / your country’s currency / international money markets / US economy / your country’s economy / …
To make things more dynamic, try telling your students they only have one minute (or 2) on each chat topic before changing topics / partners. Change topic / partner frequently to energize the class.

2. DOLLAR BRAINSTORM: Brainstorm any words students associate with the dollar and write them on the board. In pairs students have to put them into categories (of their own choosing), swap partners and then explain their categories. Ask each other questions about the words.

3. MY ECONOMY: Talk about the economy of your country and how important Euroland and America are.

4. 2-MINUTE DEBATES: Students face each other in pairs and engage in the following (for-fun) 2-minute debates. Students A are assigned the first argument, students B the second. Rotate pairs to ensure a lively pace and noise level is kept:
There will be world economic catastrophe if the dollar slides further. vs. It’s no problem.
The US economy will pick up next year. vs The US economy will slide further.
The Euro will overtake the dollar as the most important currency in the world. vs The dollar will always be the international benchmark.
The dollar’s slide is just a hiccough. vs. The dollar’s slide is a sign Euroland is becoming the strongest trading bloc.
The dollar will never recover against the euro. vs. of course it will.
An American withdrawal from Iraq would strengthen the dollar. vs. No. The war on terror would become worse and cause economic chaos.
The American and Euroland banks should intervene and shore up the dollar. Vs. Let free market forces do their thing.

PRE-READING IDEAS


 
 

1. WORD SEARCH: Students look in their dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … of the words ‘dollar’, and ‘euro’.

2. HEADLINE: Put the article headline on the board for students to talk about / predict / speculate. Pairs / groups formulate and present their own guesses as to the contents of the report.

3. TRUE / FALSE: Students look at the headline and predict whether they believe the following statements are true or false:

(a)  The outlook for the US economy is bright.  T / F
(b)  The greenback has weakened continuously since September.  T / F
(c)  America has an increasingly mammoth budget deficit.  T / F
(d)  There could be world “economic catastrophe”.  T / F
(e)  The euro is a 14-nation currency.  T / F
(f)  The dollar has lost 63 percent against the euro since October 2000  T / F
(g)  The controller of the Central European bank wants to intervene in the currency markets.  T / F
(h)  The dollar will probably finish 2005 around $1.40.  T / F

4. PHRASE MATCH: Students match the following phrases based on the article (sometimes more than one combination is possible):

(a)

The US dollar

new concerns

(b)

all-time

of consumer spending

(c)

amid

deficit

(d)

low levels

are taken

(e)

budget

fell

(f)

measures

the dollar’s slide

(g)

stem

against the euro

(h)

halt

low

(i)

The dollar has lost 63%

upward

(j)

steady track

the rising euro

 

WHILE READING ACTIVITIES

1. GAP-FILL:  Put the missing words under each paragraph into the gaps.

Dollar hits all-time low against Euro

The US dollar __________ to a new all-time low of $1.3486 against the euro earlier amid new concerns about the __________ of the US economy. The greenback has weakened continuously since September due to __________ over trade, low levels of consumer spending, an increasingly __________ budget deficit, and the prospect of more federal cash being pumped into Iraq. This is also of prime concern in Euroland where strong euro is __________ their exports. French finance minister said there could be world “economic catastrophe” unless measures are taken to __________ the rising euro. However, European Central Bank President, controller of the 12-nation currency will not yet take action and __________ in the currency market to halt the dollar’s slide. The dollar has lost 63 percent against the euro since October 2000, when it was just 82 cents. Analysts believe the Euro will continue to grow stronger. Adrian Hughes of HSBC said, “I can see it finishing the year around $1.35 and we can see that it's going to be a steady __________ upward for the euro/dollar in 2005, finishing the year around $1.40.”
 

 

strength
track
fell
concerns
intervene
mammoth
stem
hurting

2. TRUE/FALSE:  Students check their answers to the T/F exercise.

3. PHRASE MATCH: Students check their answers to the phrase match exercise.

4. QUESTIONS: Students make notes for questions they would like to ask the class about the article.

5. VOCABULARY:  Students circle any words they do not understand. In groups pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find the meanings.

POST READING IDEAS

1. GAP-FILL: Check the answers to the gap-fill exercise.

2. QUESTIONS:  Students ask the discussion questions they thought of above to their partner / group / class. Pool the questions for all students to share.

3. VOCABULARY: As a class, go over the vocabulary students circled above.

4. STUDENT-GENERATED DOLLAR SURVEY: Pairs/Groups write down 3 questions based on the article. Conduct their surveys alone. Report back to partners to compare answers. Report to other groups / the whole class. Back in pairs students discuss their findings.

5. DOLLAR DISCUSSION: Students ask each other the following questions based on the article:

(a)  Are you interested in the plight of the dollar?
(b)  What do you think should be done right now?
(c)  Is the dollar’s slide a concern for you or your country?
(d)  Will the Euro replace the dollar as the world’s benchmark currency?
(e)  Will the USA remain the world’s leading economy?
(f)  Will China ever replace the USA as the number one economy in the world?
(g)  Should American and European central banks intervene to strengthen the dollar and halt its slide?
(h)  Would an American withdrawal from Iraq help the US budget deficit and so ease pressures on the dollar?
(i)  Have you ever invested in the dollar or other currencies?
(j)  Teacher’s additional questions

HOMEWORK

1. VOCAB EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or the Google search field to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find more information on Homo floresiensis. Share your findings with your class next lesson.

3. DOLLAR/EURO INFO: Create a poster tracking the changing exchange rates between the dollar and euro, including reasons for particular slides.

4. LETTER TO GEORGE: Write a letter to US President George W. Bush telling him what should be done about the sliding dollar.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

(a)  The outlook for the US economy is bright.  F
(b)  The greenback has weakened continuously since September.  T
(c)  America has an increasingly mammoth budget deficit.  T
(d)  There could be world “economic catastrophe”.  T
(e)  The euro is a 14-nation currency.  F
(f)  The dollar has lost 63 percent against the euro since October 2000  T
(g)  The controller of the Central European bank wants to intervene in the currency markets.  F
(h)  The dollar will probably finish 2005 around $1.40.  T

PHRASE MATCH:

(a)

The US dollar

fell

(b)

all-time

low

(c)

amid

new concerns

(d)

low levels

of consumer spending

(e)

budget

deficit

(f)

measures

are taken

(g)

stem

the rising euro

(h)

halt

the dollar’s slide

(i)

The dollar has lost 63%

against the euro

(j)

steady track

upward

 

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