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My 1,000
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Date: Aug 9, 2005

Level: Harder (Try the easier lesson.)

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

THE ARTICLE

Iran has resumed work on its uranium conversion program at the Isfahan nuclear plant. Mohammad Saeedi, deputy head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, confirmed the news on August 7 to the International Atomic Energy Agency. Work restarted soon after inspectors from the UN’s nuclear watchdog had finished installing surveillance cameras at Isfahan and removed seals on equipment. The US and European Union have warned Iran’s President Ahmadinejad that sanctions may now be imposed against Tehran. Iran had suspended work at the facility to engage in negotiations with America and Europe. However, on August 6, Tehran rejected European proposals of economic rewards in exchange for closer monitoring of the nuclear program.

The resumption has escalated tensions between Iran and the West. Iran has continually assured UN inspection teams that its nuclear plants are solely for energy production. The US is convinced Iran has a covert plan to develop nuclear weapons. These accusations have fallen on deaf ears with Iran’s conservative President Ahmadinejad. He vowed to push full steam ahead with a nuclear program as part of his election manifesto in June. Not caving in to Western pressure has been a uniting force with reformists and hardliners in Iran. Most Iranians believe in Iran’s right to enrich uranium under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. They also believe negotiating with the West has hindered Iran’s technological development.

WARM-UPS

1. IRANIAN CITIZEN: You are a citizen of Iran. Walk around the classroom and talk with the other “citizens” of your country about the resumption of your country’s nuclear energy program. What does it mean for your country? Talk also about relations with the West.

2. THE WEST: Is the West always right? Is the West guilty of any wrongdoing? In pairs / groups, talk about whether the West has the right to try to enforce its values and systems on other countries and societies. Find three examples of the West being right and three examples of the West being wrong on these topics: the nuclear issue, human rights, democracy, free and fair trade, oil, terror, the axis of evil, and WMD.

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

Iran / uranium / nuclear plants / IAEA / President Ahmadinejad / Tehran / tensions / nuclear energy / hardliners / the West / technological development

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

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

5. OPINIONS: In pairs / groups, talk about how far you agree with the following opinions on Iran and its nuclear program:

  1. Iran has every right to develop nuclear energy.
  2. The US and Europe should believe Iran when it says it will not develop nuclear weapons.
  3. If Iran builds the bomb, it will set off an arms race in the Middle East.
  4. The US is always hypocritical when it tells other countries not to develop nuclear arms.
  5. An Iran with the bomb could be the start of WWIII.
  6. Iran’s history and civilization are infinitely longer than America’s. Trust Iran.
  7. Iran does not have a history of attacking other countries. Why be so suspicious of it?
  8. One day, dozens more countries will have nuclear weapons.

6. QUICK DEBATE: Students A think it’s OK for Iran to resume its nuclear program. Students B think Iran resuming its nuclear program will be calamitous. 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.

Iran is continuing with its plan to build nuclear missiles.

T / F

b.

UN inspectors installed surveillance cameras at a nuclear plant in Iran.

T / F

c.

The US has accepted Iran’s resumption of its nuclear program.

T / F

d.

Iran briefly suspended its nuclear operations to talk with China.

T / F

e.

The resumption has eased tensions between Iran and the West.

T / F

f.

Iran’s President Ahmadinejad is hard of hearing.

T / F

g.

The nuclear issue is a unifying force in Iranian politics.

T / F

h.

Iran has the right under international law to produce nuclear energy.

T / F

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

a.

resumed

intensified

b.

watchdog

dished out

c.

surveillance

acquiescing

d.

imposed

overseer

e.

rewards

accelerate

f.

escalated

under-the-table

g.

covert

gone on with

h.

push full steam ahead

carrots

i.

caving in

impeded

j.

hindered

observation

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

a.

uranium

on deaf ears

b.

the UN’s nuclear

be imposed against Tehran

c.

finished installing

watchdog

d.

sanctions may now

tensions

e.

engage

technological development

f.

escalated

conversion program

g.

Iran has a covert

to Western pressure

h.

these accusations have fallen

plan to develop nuclear weapons

i.

caving in

surveillance cameras

j.

the West has hindered Iran’s

in negotiations

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words in the column on the right into the correct spaces.

Iran resumes nuclear work

Iran has ________ work on its uranium conversion program at the Isfahan nuclear plant. Mohammad Saeedi, deputy ________ of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, ________ the news on August 7 to the International Atomic Energy Agency. Work restarted soon after ________ from the UN’s nuclear watchdog had finished installing surveillance cameras at Isfahan and removed ________ on equipment. The US and European Union have warned Iran’s President Ahmadinejad that ________ may now be imposed against Tehran. Iran had suspended work at the facility to ________ in negotiations with America and Europe. However, on August 6, Tehran rejected European proposals of economic rewards in ________ for closer monitoring of the nuclear program.

 

 

seals
confirmed
exchange
resumed
sanctions
inspectors
engage
head

The resumption has ________ tensions between Iran and the West. Iran has continually assured UN inspection teams that its nuclear plants are ________ for energy production. The US is convinced Iran has a ________ plan to develop nuclear weapons. These accusations have fallen on ________ ears with Iran’s conservative President Ahmadinejad. He vowed to push full ________ ahead with a nuclear program as part of his election ________ in June. Not ________ in to Western pressure has been a uniting force with reformists and hardliners in Iran. Most Iranians believe in Iran’s right to enrich uranium under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. They also believe negotiating with the West has ________ Iran’s technological development.

 

 

steam
caving
covert
hindered
escalated
deaf
manifesto
solely


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

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

  • 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 gap fill. 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. STUDENT “IRAN” SURVEY: In pairs / groups, write down questions about Iran.

  • 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:

  • conversion
  • confirmed
  • watchdog
  • sanctions
  • negotiations
  • monitoring
  • escalated
  • solely
  • deaf
  • manifesto
  • uniting
  • hindered

DISCUSSION

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

  1. What were your initial thoughts on this headline?
  2. Did the headline make you want to read the article?
  3. Have you been following the news on Iran?
  4. Are you worried about Iran’s latest actions?
  5. What do you know about Iran?
  6. What do you know about Iran’s President Ahmadinejad?
  7. Would you like to go to Iran?
  8. Do you think Iran is misunderstood by the West?
  9. Do you believe Iranian claims that their nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only?
  10. How would the region or the world change if Iran had nuclear weapons?

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. Should Iran listen to the US and Europe?
  4. Iran’s neighbors, India and Pakistan, have nuclear weapons. What is wrong with Iran developing nuclear energy?
  5. Do you think there is the possibility of a knock-on effect, with Syria, Iraq and Egypt choosing to develop nuclear technologies?
  6. Do you think America should invade Iran if nuclear weapons are found?
  7. Do you think economic sanctions against Iran would work?
  8. Do you think Iran deserves to be part of the “axis of evil”?
  9. How else can Iran meet its energy needs?
  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

ROLE PLAY: This role play is to discuss whether or not Iran should resume its nuclear program. Team up with classmates who have been assigned the same role as you. Develop your roles and discuss ideas and “strategies” before the role play begins.

Introduce yourself to the other role players.

Role A – US nuclear expert

You have confidential information and photographs that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. You have also heard Iran wants to sell nuclear technology to Iraq and Syria. You believe Iran possessing nuclear weapons would bring WWIII closer. You do not trust Iranians.
 

Role B – Iranian nuclear plant supervisor

You have worked at the highest levels at the Isfahan nuclear power plant. There are no plans for nuclear weapons. Iran needs energy. Iran has the right to create nuclear energy under international law. Iran has allowed UN surveillance cameras to monitor the nuclear plant. You think Americans are the biggest hypocrites on earth. They have, and have used, nuclear weapons.
 

Role C – Iranian citizen

Your country has a long and proud history. Your country is peaceful. It does not declare war on other countries. Iran needs energy to achieve high standards of living and become a fully developed country. You cannot trust Americans. They invaded Iraq because of WMD and nuclear capabilities that did not exist.
 

Role D – International peace activist

You are very upset. The world does not need another nuclear power. You want Iran to cooperate with Europe and America on building its nuclear power stations for civilian uses. You are worried Iran will attack Israel or give nuclear technology to terrorist groups.
 

Change roles and repeat the role play. Comment in groups about the differences between the two role plays.

In pairs / groups, discuss whether you really believe in what you said while you were in your roles.

LISTENING

Listen and fill in the spaces.

Iran resumes nuclear work

Iran has resumed work on its uranium __________ program at the Isfahan nuclear plant. Mohammad Saeedi, deputy head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, __________ the news on August 7 to the International Atomic Energy Agency. Work restarted soon after __________ from the UN’s nuclear __________ had finished installing __________ cameras at Isfahan and removed seals on equipment. The US and European Union have warned Iran’s President Ahmadinejad that __________ may now be imposed against Tehran. Iran had suspended work at the facility __ ________ __ negotiations with America and Europe. However, on August 6, Tehran rejected European proposals of economic rewards in exchange for closer ___________ of the nuclear program.

The resumption has ___________ tensions between Iran and the West. Iran has continually ___________ UN inspection teams that its nuclear plants are solely for energy production. The US is convinced Iran has a ___________ plan to develop nuclear weapons. These accusations have ______ ___ ______ ears with Iran’s conservative President Ahmadinejad. He vowed to push full steam ahead with a nuclear program as part of his election manifesto in June. ___ _______ ___ to Western pressure has been a uniting force with reformists and __________ in Iran. Most Iranians believe in Iran’s right to enrich uranium under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. They also believe negotiating with the West has __________ Iran’s technological development.

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 Iran’s nuclear plans. Share your findings with your class in the next lesson.

3. THE WEST: Make a poster outlining five positive things and five negative things about the West. Show your posters to your classmates in your next lesson. Did you all have similar ideas?

4. LETTER: Write a letter to Iranian President Ahmadinejad. Tell him what you think of his decision to resume the nuclear program in Iran. Tell him also about your fears for the world. Read your letter to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all write about similar things?

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. F

b. T

c. F

d. F

e. F

f. F

g. T

h. T

SYNONYM MATCH:

a.

resumed

gone on with

b.

watchdog

overseer

c.

surveillance

observation

d.

imposed

dished out

e.

rewards

carrots

f.

escalated

intensified

g.

covert

under-the-table

h.

push full steam ahead

accelerate

i.

caving in

acquiescing

j.

hindered impeded

PHRASE MATCH:

a.

uranium

conversion program

b.

the UN’s nuclear

watchdog

c.

finished installing

surveillance cameras

d.

sanctions may now

be imposed against Tehran

e.

engage

in negotiations

f.

escalated

tensions

g.

Iran has a covert

plan to develop nuclear weapons

h.

these accusations have fallen

on deaf ears

i.

caving in

to Western pressure

j.

the West has hindered Iran’s

technological development

GAP FILL:

Iran resumes nuclear work

Iran has resumed work on its uranium conversion program at the Isfahan nuclear plant. Mohammad Saeedi, deputy head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, confirmed the news on August 7 to the International Atomic Energy Agency. Work restarted soon after inspectors from the UN’s nuclear watchdog had finished installing surveillance cameras at Isfahan and removed seals on equipment. The US and European Union have warned Iran’s President Ahmadinejad that sanctions may now be imposed against Tehran. Iran had suspended work at the facility to engage in negotiations with America and Europe. However, on August 6, Tehran rejected European proposals of economic rewards in exchange for closer monitoring of the nuclear program.

The resumption has escalated tensions between Iran and the West. Iran has continually assured UN inspection teams that its nuclear plants are solely for energy production. The US is convinced Iran has a covert plan to develop nuclear weapons. These accusations have fallen on deaf ears with Iran’s conservative President Ahmadinejad. He vowed to push full steam ahead with a nuclear program as part of his election manifesto in June. Not caving in to Western pressure has been a uniting force with reformists and hardliners in Iran. Most Iranians believe in Iran’s right to enrich uranium under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. They also believe negotiating with the West has hindered Iran’s technological development.

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