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Polish President Killed in Plane Crash (10th April, 2010)


 

Poland’s President Lech Kaczynski died this morning in a plane crash in Russia. He was on his way to the town of Smolensk to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre. This was the killing of 22,000 Polish officers by Soviet security forces near Smolensk during WWII. Dozens of other high profile Polish officials also died in the air disaster, which no one survived. Among the 96 who lost their lives were Poland’s army chief, the governor of Poland’s central bank, politicians, bishops and leading historians. Details are emerging of the cause of the crash. Safety officials believe it might have been due to human error. The plane hit trees in thick fog as it approached the airport’s runway.


The crash has caused great anguish in Poland. One comment on Twitter by a Polish woman said it was the biggest disaster for Poland in the past 50 years. Another tweeter said Poland is now facing its worst political crisis since it escaped from communism in 1989. Two dozen of the country’s top politicians were on board the plane. The BBC's Adam Easton, reporting from Warsaw, said the crash was a catastrophe for the Polish people. He reported that Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk was in tears at the news of the tragedy. British leader Gordon Brown said the whole world was “saddened”. The country must now announce a presidential election in the next two weeks. The poll will take place within two months of the announcement.


 
 

WARM-UPS

1. PLANE CRASHES: Walk around the class and talk to other students about plane crashes. Change partners often. Sit with your first partner(s) and share your findings.

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

 

presidents / plane crashes / anniversaries / massacres / air disaster / human error / anguish / disaster / political crisis / catastrophe / in tears / saddened / elections

Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.

3. AIR TRAVEL: What worries you about air travel? Complete this table with your partner Change partners and share what you heard.

 

How much it worries you

What you do about it

turbulence

 

 

taking off /landing

 

 

airplane noises

 

 

the idea of bombs

 

 

other passengers

 

 

crashing

 

 

4. AIR SAFETY: Students A strongly believe air travel will be totally safe one day; Students B strongly believe the opposite.  Change partners again and talk about your conversations.

5. LOSS: Rank these according to who is the biggest loss to a country. Share your rankings with your partner. Change partners and share your rankings.

  • the President
  • the top sports star
  • the best doctor
  • the most popular singer
  • the leading business man/woman
  • the most successful teacher
  • the top movie star
  • the average Jo(e)

6. PRESIDENT: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word ‘president’. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Read the headline. Guess if  a-h  below are true (T) or false (F).

a.

Poland’s President died as his plane approached Moscow airport.

T / F

b.

There were few survivors in the tragedy.

T / F

c.

Aviation officials believe the plane crashed due to mechanical failure.

T / F

d.

Weather conditions were perfect as the plane landed.

T / F

e.

A Pole said the crash was her country’s biggest tragedy in 5 decades.

T / F

f.

There were at least 24 Polish politicians on board the airplane.

T / F

g.

The Polish Prime Minister cried at the news of the air disaster.

T / F

h.

An election for a new president must take place within 10 weeks.

T / F

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

1.

commemorate

a.

well-known

2

massacre

b.

crying

3.

high-profile

c.

because of

4.

emerging

d.

experiencing

5.

due to

e.

remember

6.

anguish

f.

disaster

7.

facing

g.

appearing

8.

catastrophe

h.

inside

9.

in tears

i.

slaughter

10.

within

j.

distress

3. PHRASE MATCH:  (Sometimes more than one choice is possible.)

1.

commemorate the 70th anniversary

a.

for the Polish people

2

Polish officials also died

b.

who lost their lives

3.

the 96

c.

were on board

4.

it might have been due

d.

the airport’s runway

5.

thick fog as it approached

e.

worst political crisis

6.

The crash has caused great

f.

to human error

7.

Poland is now facing its

g.

of the Katyn massacre

8.

Two dozen of the country’s top politicians

h.

within two months

9.

the crash was a catastrophe

i.

in the air disaster

10.

The poll will take place

j.

anguish in Poland

 

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words into the gaps in the text.

Poland’s President Lech Kaczynski died this morning in a plane crash in Russia. He was on his ____________ to the town of Smolensk to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Katyn ____________. This was the killing of 22,000 Polish officers by Soviet security forces near Smolensk during WWII. Dozens of other high-____________ Polish officials also died in the air ____________, which no one survived. Among the 96 who lost their lives were Poland’s army chief, the governor of Poland’s ____________ bank, politicians, bishops and leading historians. Details are emerging of the ____________ of the crash. Safety ____________ believe it might have been due to human error. The plane hit trees in thick fog as it approached the airport’s ____________.

 

 

 

disaster
massacre
runway
cause
way
officials
profile
central

The crash has caused great ____________ in Poland. One comment on Twitter by a Polish woman said it was the biggest ____________ for Poland in the past 50 years. Another tweeter said Poland is now ____________ its worst political ____________ since it escaped from communism in 1989. Two dozen of the country’s top politicians were on ____________ the plane. The BBC's Adam Easton, reporting from Warsaw, said the crash was a catastrophe for the Polish people. He reported that Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk was in ____________ at the news of the tragedy. British leader Gordon Brown said the whole world was “____________”. The country must now announce a presidential election in the next two weeks. The poll will take place ____________ two months of the announcement.

 

 

facing
within
saddened
anguish
board
disaster
tears
crisis

LISTENING – Listen and fill in the gaps

Poland’s President Lech Kaczynski died this morning in a plane crash in Russia. He ____________________ the town of Smolensk to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre. This ____________________ Polish officers by Soviet security forces near Smolensk during WWII. Dozens ____________________ Polish officials also died in the air disaster, which no one survived. Among the ____________________ were Poland’s army chief, the governor of Poland’s central bank, politicians, bishops and leading historians. Details are emerging ____________________. Safety officials believe it might have been due to human error. The plane hit trees in thick fog ____________________ airport’s runway.

The crash ____________________ in Poland. One comment on Twitter by a Polish woman said it was the biggest disaster for Poland in the past 50 years. Another tweeter said Poland ____________________ political crisis ____________________ communism in 1989. Two dozen of the country’s top politicians were ____________________. The BBC's Adam Easton, reporting from Warsaw, said the crash was a catastrophe for the Polish people. He reported that Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk was in tears at the ____________________. British leader Gordon Brown said the whole world was “saddened”. The country must now announce a presidential election in the next two weeks. The ____________________ within two months of the announcement.


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

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

plane

crash

 

 

 

  • 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 activity. 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. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall how they were used in the text:

  • way
  • security
  • disaster
  • dozens
  • central
  • thick
  • great
  • facing
  • crisis
  • people
  • tears
  • within

STUDENT PLANE CRASHES SURVEY

Write five GOOD questions about plane crashes in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper.

When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

 

STUDENT 1

_____________

STUDENT 2

_____________

STUDENT 3

_____________

Q.1.

 

 

 

 

Q.2.

 

 

 

 

Q.3.

 

 

 

 

Q.4.

 

 

 

 

Q.5.

 

 

 

 

  • Now return to your original partner and share and talk about what you found out. Change partners often.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

DISCUSSION

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

a)

What did you think when you read the headline?

b)

What springs to mind when you hear the words ‘plane crash’?

c)

Do you worry about plane crashes when you fly?

d)

Do you wonder how a president’s airplane can crash?

e)

What effect will so many deaths of leading figures have on Poland?

f)

Do you think the Katyn massacre commemoration will change now?

g)

Do you think air travel will ever be without risk?

h)

What kind of memorial is fitting for the air crash?

i)

Do you think the leading figures in this plane should have all traveled on the same aircraft?

j)

What three adjectives would you use to describe this news?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

a)

Did you like reading this article?

b)

What have you read or seen about this news?

c)

Would you like to read the Twitter comments about it?

d)

How much of a crisis do you think the president’s death will leave?

e)

What event has caused the biggest anguish in your country?

f)

How will this plane crash change Poland?

g)

How can the world best remember those who died in the plane crash?

h)

What do you know about Lech Kaczynski?

i)

What message would you give to the Polish people (your own if you are Polish)?

j)

What questions would you like to ask Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk?

LANGUAGE – MULTIPLE CHOICE

Poland’s President Lech Kaczynski died this morning in a plane crash in Russia. He was (1) ____ his way to the town of Smolensk to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre. This was the (2) ____ of 22,000 Polish officers by Soviet security forces near Smolensk during WWII. Dozens of (3) ____ high-profile Polish officials also died in the air disaster, which no one survived. Among the 96 who lost their (4) ____ were Poland’s army chief, the governor of Poland’s central bank, politicians, bishops and (5) ____ historians. Details are emerging of the cause of the crash. Safety officials believe it might have been due to human error. The plane hit trees in (6) ____ fog as it approached the airport’s runway.

The crash has (7) ____ great anguish in Poland. One comment on Twitter by a Polish woman said it was the biggest disaster for Poland in the past 50 years. Another tweeter said Poland is now (8) ____ its worst political crisis since it escaped from communism in 1989. Two dozen of the country’s top politicians were (9) ____ board the plane. The BBC's Adam Easton, reporting from Warsaw, said the crash was a catastrophe for the Polish people. He reported that Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk was (10) ____ tears at the news of the tragedy. British leader Gordon Brown said the whole world was “saddened”. The country must now announce a presidential election in the next two weeks. The (11) ____ will take place (12) ____ two months of the announcement.

Put the correct words from the table below in the above article.

1.

(a)

in

(b)

at

(c)

to

(d)

on

2.

(a)

killed

(b)

killing

(c)

killer

(d)

kills

3.

(a)

other

(b)

others

(c)

another

(d)

the other

4.

(a)

alive

(b)

living

(c)

lives

(d)

lived

5.

(a)

lead

(b)

leaded

(c)

leading

(d)

leaders

6.

(a)

thin

(b)

thick

(c)

wet

(d)

dry

7.

(a)

caused

(b)

raised

(c)

done

(d)

taken

8.

(a)

mouthing

(b)

nosing

(c)

heading

(d)

facing

9.

(a)

at

(b)

on

(c)

in

(d)

to

10.

(a)

on

(b)

of

(c)

at

(d)

in

11.

(a)

toll

(b)

roll

(c)

poll

(d)

doll

12.

(a)

within

(b)

without

(c)

outside

(d)

in

WRITING

Write about plane crashes for 10 minutes. Correct your partner’s paper.

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

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 out more about this plane crashes. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. PLANE CRASHES: Make a poster about plane crashes. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?

4. LOSS: Write a magazine article about what happens when many leaders of a country die. Include imaginary interviews with a leader who survives and a member of the public.

Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Write down any new words and expressions you hear from your partner(s).

5. LETTER: Write a letter to the head of an air safety company. Ask him/her three questions about plane crashes. Give him/her three ideas to make flying safer. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a.

F

b.

F

c.

F

d.

F

e.

T

f.

T

g.

T

h.

T

SYNONYM MATCH:

1.

commemorate

a.

remember

2

massacre

b.

slaughter

3.

high-profile

c.

well-known

4.

emerging

d.

appearing

5.

due to

e.

because of

6.

anguish

f.

distress

7.

facing

g.

experiencing

8.

catastrophe

h.

disaster

9.

in tears

i.

crying

10.

within

j.

inside

PHRASE MATCH:

1.

commemorate the 70th anniversary

a.

of the Katyn massacre

2

Polish officials also died

b.

in the air disaster

3.

the 100-plus

c.

who lost their lives

4.

it might have been due

d.

to human error

5.

thick fog as it approached

e.

the airport’s runway

6.

The crash has caused great

f.

anguish in Poland

7.

Poland is now facing its

g.

worst political crisis

8.

Two dozen of the country’s top politicians

h.

were on board

9.

the crash was a catastrophe

i.

for the Polish people

10.

The poll will take place

j.

within two months

GAP FILL:

Polish President killed in plane crash

Poland’s President Lech Kaczynski died this morning in a plane crash in Russia. He was on his way to the town of Smolensk to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre. This was the killing of 22,000 Polish officers by Soviet security forces near Smolensk during WWII. Dozens of other high-profile Polish officials also died in the air disaster, which no one survived. Among the 96 who lost their lives were Poland’s army chief, the governor of Poland’s central bank, politicians, bishops and leading historians. Details are emerging of the cause of the crash. Safety officials believe it might have been due to human error. The plane hit trees in thick fog as it approached the airport’s runway.

The crash has caused great anguish in Poland. One comment on Twitter by a Polish woman said it was the biggest disaster for Poland in the past 50 years. Another tweeter said Poland is now facing its worst political crisis since it escaped from communism in 1989. Two dozen of the country’s top politicians were on board the plane. The BBC's Adam Easton, reporting from Warsaw, said the crash was a catastrophe for the Polish people. He reported that Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk was in tears at the news of the tragedy. British leader Gordon Brown said the whole world was “saddened”. The country must now announce a presidential election in the next two weeks. The poll will take place within two months of the announcement.

LANGUAGE WORK

1 - d

2 - a

3 - b

4 - c

5 - c

6 - b

7 - d

8 - a

9 - b

10 - d

11 - c

12 - a

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