The Reading / Listening - Level 5

Plants are smarter than we think. Researchers say they are capable of making intelligent decisions. They say the humble pea plant can make decisions about how best to survive, even though it does not have a brain. Researchers from Oxford University grew several pea plants that had their roots in two different pots, each containing differing amounts of nutrients. One pot always had the same amount, while the other pot varied between a lot and a little. The plants were very consistent. Their roots almost always went to the pot with the most nutrients.



The research paper will be published in the 'Current Biology' journal. A researcher said it, "raises a question, not about plants, but about animals and humans". He thought the pea plant might be more efficient when making decisions than humans. He said: "We have a very fancy brain, but maybe most of the time we're not using it." He said pea plants do not have human-like intelligence, but they show complex behaviour to take advantage of their environment. It would be interesting to see how our lives would be different if we made decisions like the pea plant.

Try the same news story at these levels:

    Level 4 or  Level 6

Sources
  • http://gizmodo.com/plants-can-make-some-decisions-better-than-humans-1782946737
  • http://www.techtimes.com/articles/168007/20160701/pea-plants-show-ability-to-take-risks-and-gamble-for-nutrients.htm
  • http://www.wired.co.uk/article/pea-plants-can-gamble


Make sure you try all of the online activities for this reading and listening - There are dictations, multiple choice, drag and drop activities, crosswords, hangman, flash cards, matching activities and a whole lot more. Please enjoy :-)



Phrase Matching

Paragraph 1

  1. make decisions about how
  2. it does not have a
  3. plants that had their roots in
  4. each containing differing
  5. One pot always had the same
  6. varied between a
  7. The plants were very
  8. the pot with the
  1. lot and a little
  2. best to survive
  3. consistent
  4. brain
  5. most nutrients
  6. two different pots
  7. amounts of nutrients
  8. amount

Paragraph 2

  1. research
  2. it raises
  3. most of the time we're
  4. plants do not have human-
  5. they show complex
  6. take advantage
  7. see how our lives would
  8. made decisions
  1. of their environment
  2. like the pea plant
  3. be different
  4. a question
  5. like intelligence
  6. paper
  7. not using it
  8. behaviour

Listening — Listen and fill in the gaps

Plants are (1) ___________________ think. Researchers say they are capable of making (2) ___________________. They say the humble pea plant can make decisions about how (3) ___________________, even though it does not have a brain. Researchers from Oxford University grew several pea plants that had their roots (4) ___________________ pots, each containing differing amounts of nutrients. One pot always had the same amount, while the other pot (5) ___________________ lot and a little. The plants were very consistent. Their roots almost always went to the pot with (6) ___________________.

The research paper (7) ___________________ in the 'Current Biology' journal. A researcher said it, "(8) ___________________, not about plants, but about animals and humans". He thought the pea plant might be more efficient when (9) ___________________ than humans. He said: "We have a very fancy brain, but maybe most of the time (10) ___________________." He said pea plants do not have (11) ___________________, but they show complex behaviour to take advantage of their environment. It would be interesting (12) ___________________ lives would be different if we made decisions like the pea plant.

Put a slash (/) where the spaces are

Plantsaresmarterthanwethink.Researcherssaytheyarecapableofma
kingintelligentdecisions.Theysaythehumblepeaplantcanmakedecisi
onsabouthowbesttosurvive,eventhoughitdoesnothaveabrain.Resea
rchersfromOxfordUniversitygrewseveralpeaplantsthathadtheirroot
sintwodifferentpots,eachcontainingdifferingamountsofnutrients.On
epotalwayshadthesameamount,whiletheotherpotvariedbetweenalo
tandalittle.Theplantswereveryconsistent.Theirrootsalmostalwaysw
enttothepotwiththemostnutrients.Theresearchpaperwillbepublishe
dinthe'CurrentBiology'journal.Aresearchersaidit,"raisesaquestion,n
otaboutplants,butaboutanimalsandhumans".Hethoughtthepeaplan
tmightbemoreefficientwhenmakingdecisionsthanhumans.Hesaid:"
Wehaveaveryfancybrain,butmaybemostofthetimewe'renotusingit."
Hesaidpeaplantsdonothavehuman-likeintelligence,buttheyshowc
omplexbehaviourtotakeadvantageoftheirenvironment.Itwouldbeint
erestingtoseehowourliveswouldbedifferentifwemadedecisionsliketh
epeaplant.

Student survey

Write five GOOD questions about this topic 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.

(Please look at page 12 of the PDF to see a photocopiable example of this activity.)

Discussion — Write your own questions

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

(a) ________________

(b) ________________

(c) ________________

(d) ________________

(e) ________________

(f) ________________

(g) ________________

(h) ________________

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

(i) ________________

(j) ________________

(k) ________________

(l) ________________

(m) ________________

(n) ________________

(o) ________________

(p) ________________





Free writing

Write about this topic for 10 minutes. Comment on your partner’s paper.

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Answers

(Please check your answers against the article above.

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