The Reading / Listening - Zero - Level 5

Scientists from Oxford University have found that the written use of the zero is 500 years older than we thought. The scientists carbon dated the symbol's origins to an ancient Indian scroll called the Bakhshali Manuscript. Scientists found the scroll dates back to the third century. Before the dating of the scroll, scientists believed the manuscript was from the eighth century. It was found in the village of Bakhshali in 1881. The zero that we use today started from a round dot that was often used in India. This symbol can be seen several times on the manuscript.



A professor at Oxford University explained the importance of the zero. He told a British newspaper that we take the zero for granted and that it is "a key building block of the digital world". He said the zero, "evolved from the placeholder dot symbol found in the Bakhshali manuscript" and "was one of the greatest breakthroughs in the history of mathematics". Zero has many names in English, including nought, nil (in football) and love (in tennis). It is often said as "oh" for telephone numbers. Slang terms for zero include nowt, nada, zilch and zip.

Try the same news story at these levels:

    Zero - Level 4 or  Zero - Level 6

Sources
  • http://metro.co.uk/2017/09/15/earliest-use-of-zero-ever-discovered-on-ancient-manuscript-6929859/
  • https://phys.org/news/2017-09-video-earliest-centuries-older-thought.html
  • https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/sep/14/much-ado-about-nothing-ancient-indian-text-contains-earliest-zero-symbol


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. 500 years older
  2. The scientists carbon dated
  3. an ancient
  4. Scientists found
  5. dates back
  6. the manuscript was from
  7. The zero that we use today started
  8. This symbol can be seen
  1. to the third century
  2. Indian scroll
  3. several times
  4. the symbol's origins
  5. from a round dot
  6. the scroll
  7. than we thought
  8. the eighth century

Paragraph 2

  1. explained the importance
  2. we take the zero
  3. a key building block
  4. found in the Bakhshali
  5. one of the greatest
  6. Zero has many names in English,
  7. It is often said as "oh"
  8. Slang terms for zero include
  1. of the digital world
  2. nada, zilch and zip
  3. including nought
  4. of the zero
  5. for telephone numbers
  6. for granted
  7. manuscript
  8. breakthroughs

Listening — Listen and fill in the gaps

Scientists from Oxford University (1) ___________________ the written use of the zero is 500 years older (2) ___________________. The scientists carbon dated the symbol's (3) ___________________ ancient Indian scroll called the Bakhshali Manuscript. Scientists found the scroll dates back to the third century. Before (4) ___________________ scroll, scientists believed the manuscript was from (5) ___________________. It was found in the village of Bakhshali in 1881. The zero that we use today started from a round dot that (6) ___________________ in India. This symbol can be seen several times on the manuscript.

A professor at Oxford University explained (7) ___________________ the zero. He told a British newspaper that we take the (8) ___________________ and that it is "a key building block of the digital world". He said the (9) ___________________ from the placeholder dot symbol found in the Bakhshali manuscript" and "was one of the greatest (10) ___________________ the history of mathematics". Zero has many names in English, (11) ___________________ (in football) and love (in tennis). It is often said as "oh" for telephone numbers. Slang terms for zero include nowt, (12) ___________________.

Put a slash (/) where the spaces are

ScientistsfromOxfordUniversityhavefoundthatthewrittenuseofthez
erois500yearsolderthanwethought.Thescientistscarbondatedthesy
mbol'soriginstoanancientIndianscrollcalledtheBakhshaliManuscript
.Scientistsfoundthescrolldatesbacktothethirdcentury.Beforethedati
ngofthescroll,scientistsbelievedthemanuscriptwasfromtheeighthce
ntury.ItwasfoundinthevillageofBakhshaliin1881.Thezerothatweuse
todaystartedfromarounddotthatwasoftenusedinIndia.Thissymbolca
nbeseenseveraltimesonthemanuscript.AprofessoratOxfordUniversi
tyexplainedtheimportanceofthezero.HetoldaBritishnewspaperthat
wetakethezeroforgrantedandthatitis"akeybuildingblockofthedigital
world".Hesaidthezero,"evolvedfromtheplaceholderdotsymbolfound
intheBakhshalimanuscript"and"wasoneofthegreatestbreakthrough
sinthehistoryofmathematics".ZerohasmanynamesinEnglish,include
ngnought,nil(infootball)andlove(intennis).Itisoftensaidas"oh"fortel
ephonenumbers.Slangtermsforzeroincludenowt,nada,zilchandzip.

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