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My 1,000
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Date: Jul 10, 2005

Level: Harder (Try the easier lesson.)

Downloads: Word Doc | PDF Doc | Listening

Audio: (1:55 - 225.6 KB - 16kbps)

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THE ARTICLE

A giant panda has been born at America’s National Zoo for the first time in 16 years. Mother Mei Xiang gave birth in the early hours of the morning to the delight of zoo veterinarians who had been anxiously awaiting the new arrival. They had been on tenterhooks for days in anticipation of the precious and rare birth. The delivery was greeted with whoops of joy by elated zoo staff. The gender of the newborn will be unknown for a few days as it is still too fragile to be taken from its mother. Zoo officials will refrain from intervening between mother and cub to allow the baby bear’s immune system to sufficiently develop in the critical first few days.

The birth of a giant panda in captivity is an extremely nerve-racking experience for all concerned. Mei Xiang was artificially inseminated in early March. She had previously had two phantom pregnancies and had shown no signs that she was pregnant this time round until a week ago. 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 until then. The public will have to wait three months before mother and cub are revealed to the world. However, the zoo has installed webcams for panda addicts to get a sneak preview 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 expectations of your first few years / your life? What do you hope to do in the world? 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 / immune systems / China / pregnancies / 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. Provide details about the birth, the parents, 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 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, the world won’t change at all.
  6. Conservationists will ensure 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. “WHOOPS OF JOY”: In pairs/ groups, tell each other about a time you whooped 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.

It is believed the mother conceived when introduced to her mate.

T / F

f.

The mother has been pregnant twice before.

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.

early

in suspense

b.

delight

praying

c.

on tenterhooks

crucial

d.

whoops

ghost

e.

critical

aficionados

f.

nerve-racking

small

g.

phantom

set up

h.

keeping their fingers crossed

screams

i.

installed

traumatic

j.

addicts

rapture

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

a.

the early hours

first few days

b.

anxiously awaiting

inseminated

c.

They had been on

experience for all concerned

d.

greeted with whoops

the new arrival

e.

the critical

pregnancies

f.

an extremely nerve-racking

their fingers crossed

g.

artificially

of joy by elated zoo staff

h.

phantom

of the morning

i.

team members are keeping

a sneak preview

j.

panda addicts to get

tenterhooks for days

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

A giant panda has been born at America’s National Zoo for the first time in 16 years. Mother Mei Xiang gave birth in the _______ hours of the morning to the _______ of zoo veterinarians who had been anxiously awaiting the new arrival. They had been on _______ for days in anticipation of the _______ and rare birth. The delivery was greeted with _______ of joy by elated zoo staff. The gender of the newborn will be unknown for a few days as it is still too _______ to be taken from its mother. Zoo officials will _______ from intervening between mother and cub to allow the baby bear’s immune system to _______ develop in the critical first few days.

 

 

tenterhooks
fragile
early
whoops
delight
sufficiently
precious
refrain

The birth of a giant panda in captivity is an extremely _______  experience for all concerned. Mei Xiang was _______ inseminated in early March. She had previously had two _______ pregnancies and had shown no signs that she was pregnant this time _______ until a week ago. 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 _______ crossed that the cub survives until then. The public will have to wait three months before mother and cub are _______ to the world. However, the zoo has installed webcams for panda _______ to get a _______ preview online at the zoo’s website.

 

 

addicts
artificially
fingers
nerve-racking
sneak
round
revealed
phantom


 
 

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:

  • early
  • anxiously
  • whoops
  • fragile
  • refrain
  • critical
  • captivity
  • artificially
  • phantom
  • belong
  • 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 article?
  4. Are you concerned about the plight 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 in 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 to ensure their survival?
  7. How terrible would it be if giant pandas were to become extinct?
  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 captivity?
  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

WHOOPS OF 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 bring out the greatest whoop of 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

A giant panda has been born at America’s National Zoo for the first ____ __ 16 years. Mother Mei Xiang gave birth in __ _____ ____ of the morning to the delight of zoo veterinarians who had been anxiously ________ the new arrival. They had been on ___________ for days in anticipation of the precious and rare birth. The delivery was greeted with whoops of joy __ ______ zoo staff. The gender of the newborn will be unknown for a few days as it is still ___ _______ __ __ taken from its mother. Zoo officials will _______ ____ intervening between mother and cub to allow the baby bear’s immune system to sufficiently develop in the critical _____ ___ ____.

The birth of a giant panda __ _________ is an extremely _____-________ experience for all concerned. Mei Xiang was artificially ___________ in early March. She had previously had ___ _______ pregnancies and had shown no signs that she was pregnant this ____ _____ until a week ago. 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 _______ _______ that the cub survives until then. The public will have to wait three months before mother and cub are revealed to the world. However, the zoo has installed webcams ___ _____ ________ to get a sneak preview 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. WHOOP WITH JOY: Write an essay about a time you whooped with 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. F

g. T

h. F

SYNONYM MATCH:

a.

early

small

b.

delight

rapture

c.

on tenterhooks

in suspense

d.

whoops

screams

e.

critical

crucial

f.

nerve-racking

traumatic

g.

phantom

ghost

h.

keeping their fingers crossed

praying

i.

installed

set up

j.

addicts

aficionados

PHRASE MATCH:

a.

the early hours

of the morning

b.

anxiously awaiting

the new arrival

c.

They had been on

tenterhooks for days

d.

greeted with whoops

of joy by elated zoo staff

e.

the critical

first few days

f.

an extremely nerve-racking

experience for all concerned

g.

artificially

inseminated

h.

phantom

pregnancies

i.

team members are keeping

their fingers crossed

j.

panda addicts to get

a sneak preview

GAP FILL:

Giant panda born in U.S. zoo

A giant panda has been born at America’s National Zoo for the first time in 16 years. Mother Mei Xiang gave birth in the early hours of the morning to the delight of zoo veterinarians who had been anxiously awaiting the new arrival. They had been on tenterhooks for days in anticipation of the precious and rare birth. The delivery was greeted with whoops of joy by elated zoo staff. The gender of the newborn will be unknown for a few days as it is still too fragile to be taken from its mother. Zoo officials will refrain from intervening between mother and cub to allow the baby bear’s immune system to sufficiently develop in the critical first few days.

The birth of a giant panda in captivity is an extremely nerve-racking experience for all concerned. Mei Xiang was artificially inseminated in early March. She had previously had two phantom pregnancies and had shown no signs that she was pregnant this time round until a week ago. 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 until then. The public will have to wait three months before mother and cub are revealed to the world. However, the zoo has installed webcams for panda addicts to get a sneak preview online at the zoo’s website.

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