The Reading / Listening - Level 2

Biologists have thought of a new way to increase the size of crops by 20 per cent. They genetically modified the thing in plants that is responsible for photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the important chemical reaction where plants use sunlight to change carbon dioxide into oxygen. It lets us breathe. The scientists found a way for plants to use the energy they get from sunlight better, so they produce more food. Lead researcher Professor Stephen Long said his team is genetically modifying the world's biggest crops, such as rice, wheat, maize and soybean.



The scientists changed the thing that plants use to protect themselves from damage from the Sun's strongest rays. Plants turn their energy into heat when they become too hot. However, plants do this even when clouds block the Sun. The scientists put extra copies of the heat-loss genes into plants. These speed up the heat-loss process so the plants can quickly return to using energy to grow. This could help the world's food needs. Professor Long said if he could get 20 per cent more food from crops, it would reduce the future pressure on food supply.

Try the same news story at these levels:

    Level 0 Level 1   or  Level 3

Sources
  • http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/11/how-turning-plants-sunshield-can-grow-bigger-crops
  • https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161117141231.htm
  • http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/47544/title/Genetic-Modification-Improves-Photosynthetic-Efficiency/
  • J. Kromdijk et al., "Improving photosynthesis and crop productivity by accelerating recovery from photoprotection," Science, 354:857-61, 2016.


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. Biologists have thought
  2. increase the size of crops
  3. genetically
  4. responsible for
  5. chemical
  6. change carbon dioxide
  7. they produce
  8. the world's biggest crops,
  1. modified
  2. reaction
  3. more food
  4. by 20 per cent
  5. into oxygen
  6. of a new way
  7. such as rice
  8. photosynthesis

Paragraph 2

  1. the thing that plants use
  2. damage from the Sun's strongest
  3. Plants turn their energy
  4. plants do this even when clouds
  5. These speed up the heat-loss
  6. using energy
  7. This could help the world's
  8. it would reduce the future pressure
  1. on food supply
  2. block the Sun
  3. rays
  4. to grow
  5. food needs
  6. to protect themselves
  7. process
  8. into heat

Listening — Listen and fill in the gaps

Biologists have thought (1) ___________________ to increase the size of crops by 20 per cent. They genetically modified the thing in plants (2) ___________________ for photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the important (3) ___________________ where plants use sunlight to change carbon dioxide into oxygen. It lets us breathe. The scientists found a way for plants (4) ___________________ energy they get from sunlight better, (5) ___________________ more food. Lead researcher Professor Stephen Long said his team is genetically modifying the world's biggest (6) ___________________ rice, wheat, maize and soybean.

The scientists changed (7) ___________________ plants use to protect themselves from damage from the Sun's strongest rays. Plants turn their energy (8) ___________________ they become too hot. However, plants (9) ___________________ when clouds block the Sun. The scientists put extra copies of the heat-loss genes into plants. These (10) ___________________ heat-loss process so the plants can quickly return to using energy to grow. This could help (11) ___________________ needs. Professor Long said if he could get 20 per cent more food from crops, it would reduce the future (12) ___________________ supply.

Put a slash (/) where the spaces are

Biologistshavethoughtofanewwaytoincreasethesizeofcropsby20per
cent.Theygeneticallymodifiedthethinginplantsthatisresponsibleforp
hotosynthesis.Photosynthesisistheimportantchemicalreactionwher
eplantsusesunlighttochangecarbondioxideintooxygen.Itletsusbreat
he.Thescientistsfoundawayforplantstousetheenergytheygetfromsu
nlightbetter,sotheyproducemorefood.LeadresearcherProfessorStep
henLongsaidhisteamisgeneticallymodifyingtheworld'sbiggestcrops,
suchasrice,wheat,maizeandsoybean.Thescientistschangedthething
thatplantsusetoprotectthemselvesfromdamagefromtheSun'sstrong
estrays.Plantsturntheirenergyintoheatwhentheybecometoohot.Ho
wever,plantsdothisevenwhencloudsblocktheSun.Thescientistspute
xtracopiesoftheheat-lossgenesintoplants.Thesespeeduptheheat-lo
ssprocesssotheplantscanquicklyreturntousingenergytogrow.Thisco
uldhelptheworld'sfoodneeds.ProfessorLongsaidifhecouldget20perc
entmorefoodfromcrops,itwouldreducethefuturepressureonfoodsup
ply.

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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