The Reading / Listening - Plastic-Eating Worm - Level 5

A natural solution to the plastic waste crisis may be near. Researchers discovered that a tiny caterpillar, known as a waxworm, likes to eat plastic. Researchers from Cambridge University say the waxworm eats plastic at "uniquely high speeds". It could be possible to use this environmentally-friendly solution to global waste on a large scale. Millions of waxworms could be bred to break down and eat plastic bags, bottles, household items and other waste. About a trillion plastic bags end up in the ground around the world each year. They take centuries to biodegrade.



A researcher said: "It's extremely, extremely exciting because breaking down plastic has proved so challenging." He said the waxworm breaks down very tough plastics more than 1,400 times faster than other organisms. The waxworm uses enzymes in its saliva to digest the plastic. It might be possible to recreate these enzymes and spray them on waste to make it decompose. Another researcher said: "We are planning to implement this finding in a…way to get rid of plastic waste, working towards a solution to save our oceans, rivers, and all the environment from the unavoidable consequences of plastic accumulation."

Try the same news story at these levels:

    Plastic-Eating Worm - Level 4 or  Plastic-Eating Worm - Level 6

Sources
  • http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/04/24/plastic-eating-wax-worm-extremely-exciting-global-pollution/?WT.mc_id=tmgliveapp_iosshare_AntqGjhPTrbZ
  • https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170424141338.htm
  • http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/04/wax-worms-eat-plastic-polyethylene-trash-pollution-cleanup/


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. A natural solution to
  2. a tiny
  3. eats plastic at uniquely
  4. on a large
  5. Millions of waxworms could
  6. About a trillion
  7. end up
  8. They take centuries
  1. be bred
  2. in the ground
  3. the plastic waste crisis
  4. to biodegrade
  5. high speeds
  6. scale
  7. caterpillar
  8. plastic bags

Paragraph 2

  1. breaking down plastic has proved
  2. the waxworm breaks down
  3. It might be possible to recreate
  4. spray them on waste to
  5. finding in a way to get
  6. working towards a
  7. save
  8. unavoidable
  1. our oceans
  2. solution
  3. make it decompose
  4. consequences
  5. very tough plastics
  6. so challenging
  7. rid of plastic waste
  8. these enzymes

Listening — Listen and fill in the gaps

A natural (1) ___________________ plastic waste crisis may be near. Researchers (2) ___________________ tiny caterpillar, known as a waxworm, likes to eat plastic. Researchers from Cambridge University say the waxworm (3) ___________________ "uniquely high speeds". It could be possible to use this environmentally-friendly solution to global waste (4) ___________________ scale. Millions of waxworms could be bred to break down and eat plastic bags, bottles, household (5) ___________________ waste. About a trillion plastic (6) ___________________ the ground around the world each year. They take centuries to biodegrade.

A researcher said: "It's (7) ___________________ exciting because breaking down plastic has (8) ___________________." He said the waxworm breaks down very tough plastics more than 1,400 times faster than other organisms. The waxworm uses enzymes (9) ___________________ digest the plastic. It might be possible (10) ___________________ enzymes and spray them on waste to make it decompose. Another researcher said: "We are planning to implement this (11) ___________________ to get rid of plastic waste, working towards a solution to save our oceans, rivers, and all the environment from (12) ___________________ consequences of plastic accumulation."

Put a slash (/) where the spaces are

Anaturalsolutiontotheplasticwastecrisismaybenear.Researchersdis
coveredthatatinycaterpillar,knownasawaxworm,likestoeatplastic.R
esearchersfromCambridgeUniversitysaythewaxwormeatsplasticat"
uniquelyhighspeeds".Itcouldbepossibletousethisenvironmentally-
friendlysolutiontoglobalwasteonalargescale.Millionsofwaxwormsco
uldbebredtobreakdownandeatplasticbags,bottles,householditemsa
ndotherwaste.Aboutatrillionplasticbagsendupinthegroundaroundth
eworldeachyear.Theytakecenturiestobiodegrade.Aresearchersaid:"
It'sextremely,extremelyexcitingbecausebreakingdownplastichaspr
ovedsochallenging."Hesaidthewaxwormbreaksdownverytoughplast
icsmorethan1,400timesfasterthanotherorganisms.Thewaxwormus
esenzymesinitssalivatodigesttheplastic.Itmightbepossibletorecreat
etheseenzymesandspraythemonwastetomakeitdecompose.Anothe
rresearchersaid:"Weareplanningtoimplementthisfindingina…wayto
getridofplasticwaste,workingtowardsasolutiontosaveouroceans,riv
ers,andalltheenvironmentfromtheunavoidableconsequencesofplast
icaccumulation."

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.

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

Answers

(Please check your answers against the article above.

Help Support This Web Site

  • Please consider helping Breaking News English.com

Sean Banville's Book

Thank You