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My 1,000
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Date: Aug 12, 2005

Level: Easier (Try the harder lesson.)

Downloads: Word Doc | PDF Doc | Listening

Audio: (1:57 - 229.5 KB - 16kbps)

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

THE ARTICLE

Malaysia declared a state of emergency on August 11 because of dangerous levels of air pollution. Smoke from forest fires in Sumatra, Indonesia, has blown over Kuala Lumpur and the surrounding areas. The smoke has mixed with dust, carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide to form a dangerous smog. It has covered the tops of buildings in the capital city and people are having breathing problems. Authorities have closed schools and advised people to stay indoors.

The Malaysian government is acting quickly to prevent the smog from getting worse. It has already begun seeding clouds to make rain that will wash the pollution away. It has also offered to send firefighters to Indonesia to help extinguish the out-of-control fires. Officials from both countries are holding crisis talks in the Sumatran city of Medan to find solutions. Indonesia’s Environment Minister said: “We need a wetter climate for us to put out the fires”. However, a weather forecaster said no rain was expected until October.

WARM-UPS

1. POLLUTION: In pairs / groups, talk about the different types of pollution below. Which ones do you think are worst: Air pollution, water pollution, noise pollution, acid rain, chemical waste, nuclear waste. Which of these affect you now? Which will you worry about in the future?

2. STATES OF EMERGENCY: Have you ever experienced a government state of emergency? In pairs / groups, tell each other of your experiences of any of the following. If you have been state-of-emergency free, talk about what you would do if you experienced one.

  • Smog
  • Forest / Bush fires
  • Hurricanes / Typhoons
  • Floods
  • Earthquakes
  • Civil unrest / War
  • Heat waves
  • Other

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

Malaysia / state of emergency / air pollution / smoke / carbon dioxide / Kuala Lumpur / breathing problems / firefighters / wetter climate / October

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

4. SMOKE: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word “smoke”. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.

5. SMOG PROBLEMS: In pairs / groups, talk about which of the following smog problems would bother you most:

  1. Polluted air
  2. Poor visibility in the streets
  3. Not being able to see the sun
  4. Having to wear a facemask outdoors
  5. Being told by your government to stay indoors
  6. The thought that illegal loggers make big profits and cause smog
  7. The sudden closure of schools, hospitals and other services
  8. The terrible smell
  9. The potential for becoming ill

6. QUICK DEBATE: Students A think air quality will be better in 50 years’ time. Students B think air quality will be worse in 50 years’ time. Change partners often.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

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

a.

A spark from a firework has created major forest fires in Malaysia.

T / F

b.

Malaysia has declared a state of emergency.

T / F

c.

Smog is a dangerous mixture of ash, dust and various gases.

T / F

d.

The smog means people have breathing problems.

T / F

e.

Malaysia has been slow to act to prevent the spread of the smog.

T / F

f.

Malaysia is sowing seeds to grow more trees.

T / F

g.

Malaysian and Indonesian firefighters are holding crisis talks.

T / F

h.

Heavy rain is expected in early September.

T / F

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

a.

declared

create

b.

dangerous

answers

c.

mixed

stop

d.

form

critical

e.

indoors

due

f.

prevent

inside

g.

extinguish

issued

h.

crisis

put out

i.

solutions

combined

j.

expected

emergency

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

a.

Malaysia declared

acting quickly

b.

dangerous levels

indoors

c.

The smoke has mixed

expected until October

d.

having breathing

crisis talks

e.

advised people to stay

of air pollution

f.

The Malaysian government is

climate

g.

rain that will wash

problems

h.

both countries are holding

a state of emergency

i.

a wetter

the pollution away

j.

no rain was

with dust

WHILE READING / LISTENING

ODD WORD OUT: Strike through the word in each group of three in italics that does not fit.

Smog sparks emergency in Malaysia

Malaysia declared / issued / delighted a state of emergency on August 11 because of dangerous legends / levels / rates of air pollution. Smoke from forest fires in Sumatra, Indonesia, has blown over Kuala Lumpur and the surrounding areas. The smoke has combined / mashed / mixed with dust, carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide to form a dangerous smog. It has covered the tops of buildings in the capital city and people are having breathing / breath / respiratory problems. Authorities have closed schools and advised people to stay indoors / inside / intact.

The Malaysian government is acting quickly to stop / prevent / force the smog from getting worse. It has already begun seeding clouds to make rain that will wash the pollution away. It has also offered to send firefighters to Indonesia to help put out / extinguish / distinguish the out-of-control fires. Officials from both countries are holding crisis discussions / speeches / talks in the Sumatran city of Medan to find solutions / answers / matches. Indonesia’s Environment Minister said: “We need a wetter climate for us to put out the fires”. However, a weather forecaster said no rain was heavy / expected / due until October.


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

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

  • 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. ODD WORD OUT: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…? Did you find any relationship between the correct and incorrect words?

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

5. STUDENT “AIR POLLUTION” SURVEY: In pairs / groups, write down questions about air pollution.

  • 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:

  • declared
  • forest
  • mixed
  • covered
  • breathing
  • indoors
  • acting
  • wash
  • firefighters
  • holding
  • wetter
  • expected

DISCUSSION

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

  1. What did you think when you first read this headline?
  2. Did the headline make you want to read the article?
  3. What are your thoughts on the smog?
  4. Have you ever experienced a state of emergency?
  5. Who do you think is to blame for the smog?
  6. What would you if such a poisonous smog came to your town?
  7. Are you worried about air pollution?
  8. Do you think Malaysia should sue the Indonesian government?
  9. How is the air quality of the town in which you live?
  10. What is your country’s worst ever environmental crisis?

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

  1. Did you like reading this article?
  2. What do you think about what you read?
  3. Have you ever seen a major fire?
  4. What do you think are the causes of the fires?
  5. Do you think global warming is increasing the number of forest fires around the world?
  6. What natural disasters do you have to worry about in your country?
  7. Do you think air quality will get better or worse over the next 50 years?
  8. What should be done to improve air quality?
  9. Do you think there will be oxygen bars in the future in your town, where we can buy and breathe pure air?
  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

RATING: Decide which of the people or organizations in the column on the left are to blame for illegal logging and forest fires in Indonesia. Write a value from 1 (zero responsibility) to 10 (totally to blame). Discuss with your partner(s) what actions each of the people / organizations on the list should do to reduce the effects of logging, and so reduce the chances of forest fires and smog.

 

PEOPLE / ORGANIZATIONS
 

 

VALUE

 

ACTIONS TO REDUCE ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE

 Indonesian government
 

 

 

 Logging companies
 

 

 

 Worldwide paper
 companies
 

 

 

 United Nations
 

 

 

 Local people in the
 Indonesian forests
 

 

 

 You and I
 

 

 

Change partners and compare what your previous partners said. Who do you think has the best ideas?

LISTENING

Listen and fill in the spaces.

Smog sparks emergency in Malaysia

Malaysia ________ a state of emergency on August 11 because of dangerous levels of air ________. Smoke from forest fires in Sumatra, Indonesia, has blown over Kuala Lumpur and the ___________ areas. The smoke has mixed with dust, carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide to form a __________ smog. It has covered the tops of buildings in the capital city and people are having __________ problems. Authorities have closed schools and __________ people to stay indoors.

The Malaysian government is acting quickly to __________ the smog from getting worse. It has already begun seeding __________ to make rain that will wash the pollution away. It has also offered to send __________ to Indonesia to help extinguish the out-of-control fires. __________ from both countries are __________ crisis talks in the Sumatran city of Medan to find solutions. Indonesia’s Environment Minister said: “We need a wetter __________ for us to put out the fires”. However, a weather forecaster said no rain was __________ until October.

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 forest fires in Indonesia and the smog in Indonesia. Share your findings with your class in the next lesson.

3. LETTER: Write a letter to the Indonesian government about the forest fires on Sumatra. Explain what you think of the fires. Explain also what you think the government should do to stop the fires, prevent further blazes and compensate Malaysia. Read your letters to your classmates in your next lesson. Did you all have similar ideas?

4. DIARY / JOURNAL: Imagine your country has declared a state of emergency. Write your diary / journal entry for one day during the emergency. Read your entry to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all write about similar things?

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. F

b. T

c. T

d. T

e. F

f. F

g. F

h. F

SYNONYM MATCH:

a.

declared

issued

b.

dangerous

critical

c.

mixed

combined

d.

form

create

e.

indoors

inside

f.

prevent

stop

g.

extinguish

put out

h.

crisis

emergency

i.

solutions

answers

j.

expected due

PHRASE MATCH:

a.

Malaysia declared

a state of emergency

b.

dangerous levels

of air pollution

c.

The smoke has mixed

with dust

d.

having breathing

problems

e.

advised people to stay

indoors

f.

The Malaysian government is

acting quickly

g.

rain that will wash

the pollution away

h.

both countries are holding

crisis talks

i.

a wetter

climate

j.

no rain was

expected until October

ODD WORD OUT:

Smog sparks emergency in Malaysia

Malaysia declared / issued / delighted a state of emergency on August 11 because of dangerous legends / levels / rates of air pollution. Smoke from forest fires in Sumatra, Indonesia, has blown over Kuala Lumpur and the surrounding areas. The smoke has combined / mashed / mixed with dust, carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide to form a dangerous smog. It has covered the tops of buildings in the capital city and people are having breathing / breath / respiratory problems. Authorities have closed schools and advised people to stay indoors / inside / intact.

The Malaysian government is acting quickly to stop / prevent / force the smog from getting worse. It has already begun seeding clouds to make rain that will wash the pollution away. It has also offered to send firefighters to Indonesia to help put out / extinguish / distinguish the out-of-control fires. Officials from both countries are holding crisis discussions / speeches / talks in the Sumatran city of Medan to find solutions / answers / matches. Indonesia’s Environment Minister said: “We need a wetter climate for us to put out the fires”. However, a weather forecaster said no rain was heavy / expected / due until October.

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