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My 1,000
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Date: Jul 10, 2005

Level: Easier (Try the harder lesson.)

Downloads: Word Doc | PDF Doc | Listening

Audio: (1:52 - 220.4 KB - 16kbps)

1,000 IDEAS FOR ESL CLASSES: Breaking News English.com's e-Book

 

THE ARTICLE

Wonderful news has come from America’s National Zoo in Washington D.C. A giant panda has been born. It is the first time in 16 years this has happened. Mother Mei Xiang gave birth in the early hours of the morning. Zoo staff waited nervously and jumped for joy when the new arrival appeared. Its sex is not yet known. Zookeepers must leave Mei Xiang and her baby alone to let the cub’s immune system develop. The first few days are very dangerous for a baby panda.

The birth of a giant panda in captivity is very rare. Survival of the cub is not guaranteed. Most baby pandas born in zoos do not live beyond a week. Any cubs that are born at the zoo belong to China and are returned when the panda reaches the age of two. For now, the panda team members are keeping their fingers crossed that the cub survives. The public will have to wait three months before the baby panda is shown to the world. However, a sneak preview is provided online at the zoo’s website*.

* http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/GiantPandas

WARM-UPS

1. NEWBORN: Everyone in the class is now a newborn baby. Introduce yourself to the other newborns in the class and talk about life so far. What do you think about what you have seen? What are your hopes for your life? Do you think the world will be a good place to grow up in?

2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words are most interesting and which are most boring.

Pandas / World Wildlife Fund / endangered species / newborn babies and animals / zoos / joy / China / pregnancies / keeping your fingers crossed / survival

Have a chat about the topics you liked. For more conversation, change topics and partners frequently.

3. PANDA: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with pandas. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.

4. PANDA STORY: In pairs / groups, make your own story about a baby panda being born in a zoo. Talk about the details of its birth, its parents, the zookeepers’ comments, the condition of the cub and its future.

5. PANDA OPINIONS: Students A agree with these opinions; students B disagree with them. Try to persuade each other of these opinions.

  1. The giant panda is the best symbol for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) logo.
  2. Giant pandas are the cutest animals in the world.
  3. Giant pandas should not be kept in zoos.
  4. The giant panda should be on top of the list of animals to save from extinction.
  5. If the giant panda becomes extinct, it’ll be no great problem for the world.
  6. Conservationists will make sure the giant panda survives.
  7. Scientists should clone thousands of pandas and introduce them into the wild.
  8. China’s economic growth will eat up the panda’s natural habitat.

6. “JUMPING FOR JOY”: In pairs/ groups, tell each other about a time you jumped for joy (or were just very happy)…

  • Earlier today
  • Yesterday
  • Last week
  • Last month
  • Last year

 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Look at the article’s headline and guess whether these sentences are true (T) or false (F):

a.

An amazingly large panda has been born in an American zoo.

T / F

b.

It’s the first time in 16 years a giant panda has been born at the zoo.

T / F

c.

The gender of the baby panda is not yet known.

T / F

d.

The panda cub is being fed and cared for by zoo staff.

T / F

e.

Giant pandas often give birth in zoos.

T / F

f.

Many baby giant pandas born in zoos die within a week.

T / F

g.

The cub will have to return to China when it’s two years old.

T / F

h.

The baby bear will go on public display from next week.

T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article:

a.

wonderful

critical

b.

small

happiness

c.

joy

hoping

d.

gender

uncommon

e.

dangerous

certain

f.

rare

fantastic

g.

guaranteed

infant

h.

keeping their fingers crossed

early

i.

baby

revealed

j.

shown

sex

3. PHRASE MATCH: Match the following phrases from the article (sometimes more than one combination is possible):

a.

wonderful

their fingers crossed

b.

in the early hours

is not yet known

c.

jumped

system

d.

Its sex

a week

e.

immune

for joy

f.

The birth of a giant panda in

the age of two

g.

do not live beyond

news

h.

when the panda reaches

preview

i.

team members are keeping

captivity is very rare

j.

sneak

of the morning

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words in the column on the right into the correct spaces.

Giant panda born in U.S. zoo

Wonderful _______ has come from America’s National Zoo in Washington D.C. A giant panda has been _______. It is the first time in 16 years this has happened. Mother Mei Xiang gave birth in the _______ hours of the morning. Zoo staff _______ nervously and jumped for _______ when the new arrival appeared. Its _______ is not yet known. Zookeepers must leave Mei Xiang and her baby _______ to let the cub’s immune system develop. The first _______ days are very dangerous for a baby panda.

 

 

joy
born
few
news
waited
sex
early
alone

The birth of a giant panda in _______ is very rare. Survival of the cub is not _______. Most baby pandas born in zoos do not live _______ a week. Any cubs that are born at the zoo _______ to China and are returned when the panda _______ the age of two. For now, the panda team members are keeping their fingers _______ that the cub survives. The _______ will have to wait three months before the baby panda is shown to the world. However, a _______ preview is provided online at the zoo’s website.

 

 

reaches
captivity
sneak
beyond
public
belong
crossed
guaranteed


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘rare’ and ‘birth’.

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the gap fill. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. STUDENT PANDA SURVEY: In pairs / groups, write down questions about pandas.

  • Ask other classmates your questions and note down their answers.
  • Go back to your original partner / group and compare your findings.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

6. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall exactly how these were used in the text:

  • wonderful
  • first
  • early
  • sex
  • alone
  • dangerous
  • captivity
  • guaranteed
  • belong
  • reaches
  • crossed
  • sneak

 DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

  1. What did you think when you saw this headline?
  2. Did the headline make you want to read the article?
  3. What adjective would you use to describe this news?
  4. Are you worried about the future of giant pandas?
  5. What other endangered species are you concerned about?
  6. Do you think the giant panda will survive in the wild?
  7. What do you know about giant pandas?
  8. Will you visit the website to have a look at the baby panda?
  9. Do you think the panda’s natural habitat can survive China’s economic growth?
  10. Are conservationists fighting a losing battle trying to protect endangered species?

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

  1. Did you like reading this article?
  2. What did you think about what you read?
  3. How did the article make you feel?
  4. Would you like to be a zookeeper and look after giant pandas?
  5. Do you think pandas have a good time in zoos?
  6. Do you think scientists should clone pandas?
  7. How terrible would it be if giant pandas were to disappear?
  8. Is the giant panda the cutest animal in the world?
  9. Why do you think it’s so difficult to breed giant pandas in zoos?
  10. Did you like this discussion?

AFTER DISCUSSION: Join another partner / group and tell them what you talked about.

  1. What question would you like to ask about this topic?
  2. What was the most interesting thing you heard?
  3. Was there a question you didn’t like?
  4. Was there something you totally disagreed with?
  5. What did you like talking about?
  6. Do you want to know how anyone else answered the questions?
  7. Which was the most difficult question?

SPEAKING

JUMPING FOR JOY:

Look at the list below. Talk about how you react to the news of each event. Tell each other about your experiences of these things. Rank them in order of the greatest happiness. Which would make you jump for joy?

  1. The birth of a child.
  2. Your country winning an international sporting event.
  3. Winning a lot of money on the lottery.
  4. Passing your driving test or an examination.
  5. Your best friend announcing he/she is getting married.
  6. Promotion at work.
  7. Someone you particularly dislike is moving to another country.
  8. US President George W. Bush winning / losing a presidential election.
  9. Other ____________________________________________________
  10. Other ____________________________________________________

After you have finished, change partners and tell each other about what your previous partner said.

LISTENING

Listen and fill in the spaces.

Giant panda born in U.S. zoo

Wonderful news ___ ____ ____ America’s National Zoo in Washington D.C. A giant panda has been born. It is the _____ time in 16 years this has happened. Mother Mei Xiang ____ _____ in the early hours of the morning. Zoo staff waited nervously and ______ ___ joy when the new arrival appeared. Its sex is not yet known. Zookeepers must leave Mei Xiang and her baby _____ __ let the cub’s immune system develop. The _____ ___ days are very dangerous for a baby panda.

The birth of a giant panda __ _________ is very rare. Survival of the cub is not guaranteed. Most baby pandas born in zoos do not live _______ __ week. Any cubs that are born at the zoo _______ __ China and are returned when the panda reaches ___ ___ ___ two. For now, the panda team members are keeping their fingers crossed that the cub survives. The public will ____ __ wait three months before the baby panda is shown to the world. However, a ______ preview is provided online at the zoo’s website.

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find more information on the giant pandas. Share your findings with your class in the next lesson.

3. ENDANGERED SPECIES: Create a fact sheet about one of the world’s endangered species. Show and explain your fact sheets to your classmates in your next lesson.

4. JUMPING FOR JOY: Write an essay about a time you jumped for joy. Read your essay to your classmates in your next lesson. Did you all write about similar things?

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. F

b. T

c. T

d. F

e. F

f. T

g. T

h. F

SYNONYM MATCH:

a.

wonderful

fantastic

b.

small

early

c.

joy

happiness

d.

gender

sex

e.

dangerous

critical

f.

rare

uncommon

g.

guaranteed

certain

h.

keeping their fingers crossed

hoping

i.

baby infant

j.

shown revealed

PHRASE MATCH:

a.

wonderful

news

b.

in the early hours

of the morning

c.

jumped

for joy

d.

Its sex

is not yet known

e.

immune

system

f.

The birth of a giant panda in

captivity is very rare

g.

do not live beyond

a week

h.

when the panda reaches

the age of two

i.

team members are keeping

their fingers crossed

j.

sneak

preview

GAP FILL:

Giant panda born in U.S. zoo

Wonderful news has come from America’s National Zoo in Washington D.C. A giant panda has been born. It is the first time in 16 years this has happened. Mother Mei Xiang gave birth in the early hours of the morning. Zoo staff waited nervously and jumped for joy when the new arrival appeared. Its sex is not yet known. Zookeepers must leave Mei Xiang and her baby alone to let the cub’s immune system develop. The first few days are very dangerous for a baby panda.

The birth of a giant panda in captivity is very rare. Survival of the cub is not guaranteed. Most baby pandas born in zoos do not live beyond a week. Any cubs that are born at the zoo belong to China and are returned when the panda reaches the age of two. For now, the panda team members are keeping their fingers crossed that the cub survives. The public will have to wait three months before the baby panda is shown to the world. However, a sneak preview is provided online at the zoo’s website.

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