The Reading / Listening - Zero - Level 6

Scientists from Oxford University in England have discovered that the written use of the zero is 500 years older than previously thought. The scientists used carbon dating to trace the symbol's origins to a famous ancient Indian scroll called the Bakhshali Manuscript. Scientists found the scroll dates back to the third century, which makes it the oldest script using the symbol. Before the carbon dating of the scroll, scientists believed the manuscript was created in the eighth century. It was found in the village of Bakhshali in 1881. The zero symbol that we use today evolved from a round dot frequently used in India. This symbol can be seen several times on the manuscript.



Marcus Du Santoy, a mathematics professor at Oxford University, explained the significance of the zero in our lives. He told Britain's 'Guardian' newspaper that: "Today, we take it for granted that the concept of zero is used across the globe and is a key building block of the digital world. But the creation of zero as a number in its own right, which evolved from the placeholder dot symbol found in the Bakhshali manuscript, 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" in the context of telephone numbers. Informal or slang terms for zero include nowt, nada, zilch and zip.

Try the same news story at these easier levels:

    Zero - Level 4  or  Zero - Level 5

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 :-)



Warm-ups

1. THE NUMBER ZERO: Students walk around the class and talk to other students about the number zero. Change partners often and share your findings.

2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, talk about these topics or words from the article. What will the article say about them? What can you say about these words and your life?

       Oxford University / zero / 500 years / ancient / century / manuscript / village / symbol
       mathematics / professor / significance / concept / breakthroughs / football / zip

Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.

3. SYMBOL: Students A strongly believe the zero is the most important symbol in the world; Students B strongly believe another symbol is the most important. Change partners again and talk about your conversations.

4. NUMBERS: How important are these numbers and why? Complete this table with your partner(s). Change partners often and share what you wrote.

 

How important?

Why?

0

 

 

1

 

 

9

 

 

10

 

 

100

 

 

1,000,000

 

 

MY e-BOOK
ESL resource book with copiable worksheets and handouts - 1,000 Ideas and Activities for Language Teachers / English teachers
See a sample

5. INDIA: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word "India". Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.

6. SYMBOLS: Rank these with your partner. Put the most important symbols at the top. Change partners often and share your rankings.

  • x
  • #
  • 0
  • $
  • %
  • @

 

Before reading / listening

1. TRUE / FALSE: Read the headline. Guess if a-h below are true (T) or false (F).

  1. Scientists from Cambridge University made a discovery.     T / F
  2. Scientists used carbon dating to find out how old a manuscript was.     T / F
  3. Scientists originally thought a manuscript was from the eighth century.   T / F
  4. The manuscript was found in the 19th century.     T / F
  5. A physics professor explained the significance of the zero.     T / F
  6. A professor said the zero is the greatest breakthrough in mathematics.    T / F
  7. In football, zero is also known as 'nil'.     T / F
  8. When we read out telephone numbers, we pronounce zero as 'oh'.     T / F

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

  1. discovered
  2. origins
  3. ancient
  4. evolved
  5. several
  6. significance
  7. key
  8. breakthroughs
  9. context
  10. terms
  1. developed
  2. importance
  3. expressions
  4. found
  5. advances
  6. beginnings
  7. circumstances
  8. a number of
  9. crucial
  10. very old

3. PHRASE MATCH: (Sometimes more than one choice is possible.)

  1. The scientists used carbon
  2. dates
  3. the manuscript was created
  4. evolved from a round
  5. This symbol can be seen several
  6. explained the significance
  7. a key building
  8. one of the greatest
  9. It is often said as "oh" in the context of
  10. Informal or slang
  1. block
  2. dot
  3. of the zero in our lives
  4. telephone numbers
  5. in the eighth century
  6. dating
  7. breakthroughs
  8. times on the manuscript
  9. terms for zero
  10. back to the third century

Gap fill

Put these words into the spaces in the paragraph below.
dating
century
dates
several
discovered
evolved
ancient
symbol

Scientists from Oxford University in England have (1) ____________ that the written use of the zero is 500 years older than previously thought. The scientists used carbon (2) ____________ to trace the symbol's origins to a famous (3) ____________ Indian scroll called the Bakhshali Manuscript. Scientists found the scroll (4) ____________ back to the third century, which makes it the oldest script using the (5) ____________. Before the carbon dating of the scroll, scientists believed the manuscript was created in the eighth (6) ____________. It was found in the village of Bakhshali in 1881. The zero symbol that we use today (7) ____________ from a round dot frequently used in India. This symbol can be seen (8) ____________ times on the manuscript.

Put these words into the spaces in the paragraph below.
block
including
slang
concept
evolved
context
significance
breakthroughs

Marcus Du Santoy, a mathematics professor at Oxford University, explained the (9) ____________ of the zero in our lives. He told Britain's 'Guardian' newspaper that: "Today, we take it for granted that the (10) ____________ of zero is used across the globe and is a key building (11) ____________ of the digital world. But the creation of zero as a number in its own right, which (12) ____________ from the placeholder dot symbol found in the Bakhshali manuscript, was one of the greatest (13) ____________ in the history of mathematics." Zero has many names in English, (14) ____________ nought, nil (in football) and love (in tennis). It is often said as "oh" in the (15) ____________ of telephone numbers. Informal or (16) ____________ terms for zero include nowt, nada, zilch and zip.

Listening — Guess the answers. Listen to check.

1)  the written use of the zero is 500 years older than ______
     a.  previous thought
     b.  imperviously thought
     c.  imperiously thought
     d.  previously thought

2)  the scroll dates back to the third century, which makes it the oldest script ______
     a.  used in the symbol
     b.  using a symbol
     c.  using the symbol
     d.  using the symbols

3)  scientists believed the manuscript was created in ______
     a.  the eightieth century
     b.  the eighth century
     c.  the eighth centuries
     d.  the eighth centurion

4)  The zero symbol that we use today evolved from a round dot ______
     a.  frequency used
     b.  frequencies used
     c.  infrequently used
     d.  frequently used

5)  This symbol can be seen several times ______
     a.  on the manuscript
     b.  in the manuscript
     c.  at the manuscript
     d.  of the manuscript

6)  a mathematics professor at Oxford University, explained the ______ zero
     a.  significant of the
     b.  significantly of the
     c.  significance of the
     d.  signify ants of the

7)  Today, we take it for granted that the concept of zero is used ______
     a.  a cross the globe
     b.  and cross the globe
     c.  all cross the globe
     d.  across the globe

8)  But the creation of zero as a number ______
     a.  in its own right
     b.  in its owns right
     c.  in its own rights
     d.  in it is own right

9)  Zero has many names in English, ______
     a.  include in nougat
     b.  including ought
     c.  including nought
     d.  include in out

10)  It is often said as "oh" in the context of ______
     a.  telephone numerals
     b.  telephone number
     c.  telephone numbers
     d.  telephone numberings

Listening — Listen and fill in the gaps

Scientists from Oxford University in England (1) ___________________ the written use of the zero is 500 years (2) ___________________ thought. The scientists used carbon (3) ___________________ the symbol's origins to a famous ancient Indian scroll called the Bakhshali Manuscript. Scientists found the scroll dates back to the third century, which makes it the oldest (4) ___________________ symbol. Before the carbon dating of the scroll, scientists believed the manuscript was created in (5) __________________. It was found in the village of Bakhshali in 1881. The zero symbol that we use today evolved from a round dot frequently used in India. This symbol can be seen (6) ___________________ the manuscript.

Marcus Du Santoy, a (7) ___________________ at Oxford University, explained the significance of the zero in our lives. He told Britain's 'Guardian' newspaper that: "Today, we (8) ___________________ that the concept of zero is used across the globe and is a key building block of the digital world. But the creation of zero (9) ___________________ its own right, which evolved from the placeholder dot symbol found in the Bakhshali manuscript, was one of the (10) ___________________ in the history of mathematics." Zero has many names in English, including nought, nil (in football) and love (in tennis). (11) ___________________ "oh" in the context of telephone numbers. Informal or slang terms for zero include nowt, (12) ___________________.

Comprehension questions

  1. Which university are the scientists from?
  2. What method did scientists use to find out the age of the manuscript?
  3. What century does the manuscript date back to?
  4. In what year was the manuscript found?
  5. How many times can the zero symbol be seen on the manuscript?
  6. What does professor Marcus Du Santoy teach?
  7. In what world is the zero a key building block?
  8. What was the zero one of the greatest ever breakthroughs in?
  9. What term is used for zero in tennis?
  10. In what context is zero pronounced "oh"?




Multiple choice quiz

1) Which university are the scientists from?
a) Cambridge
b) Oxford
c) Stanford
d) Yale

2) What method did scientists use to find out the age of the manuscript?
a) the age method
b) the Heimlich technique
c) the natural method
d) carbon dating

3) What century does the manuscript date back to?
a) third
b) fourth
c) fifth
d) sixth

4) In what year was the manuscript found?
a) 1818
b) 1698
c) 1881
d) 1188

5) How many times can the zero symbol be seen on the manuscript?
a) many
b) several
c) dozens
d) hundreds

6) What does professor Marcus Du Santoy teach?
a) archaeology
b) physics
c) mathematics
d) Sanskrit

7) In what world is the zero a key building block?
a) the dark ages
b) the human world
c) the modern world
d) the digital world

8) What was the zero one of the greatest ever breakthroughs in?
a) mathematics
b) history
c) computing
d) archaeology

9) What term is used for zero in tennis?
a) love
b) hate
c) like
d) so-so

10) In what context is zero pronounced "oh"?
a) football
b) telephone numbers
c) informal contexts
d) zips

Role play

Role  A – 0

You think 0 is the most important symbol in the world. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their symbols. Also, tell the others which is the least important of these (and why): $, # or .

Role  B – $

You think $ is the most important symbol in the world. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their symbols. Also, tell the others which is the least important of these (and why): 0, # or .

Role  C – #

You think # is the most important symbol in the world. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their symbols. Also, tell the others which is the least important of these (and why): $, 0 or .

Role  D –

You think is the most important symbol in the world. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their symbols. Also, tell the others which is the least important of these (and why):  $, # or 0.

After reading / listening

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionary / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words...

'zero'

  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • and 'nil'.

  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • • 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 activity. 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. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall how they were used in the text:

    • professor
    • concept
    • own
    • history
    • love
    • slang
    • 500
    • trace
    • dates
    • third
    • 1881
    • several




    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 - Written zero 500 years older than scientists thought

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

    1. What did you think when you read the headline?
    2. What images are in your mind when you hear the word 'zero'?
    3. What do you know about the history of the zero?
    4. How important is the zero?
    5. Does the zero have a good design?
    6. Who do you think first used a zero?
    7. What do you think of the word 'zero'?
    8. In what contexts are zeroes important?
    9. What symbol could we use instead of a zero?
    10. What does the phrase, 'from hero to zero' mean?

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

    1. Did you like reading this article? Why/not?
    2. What do you think of when you hear the word 'symbol'?
    3. What do you think about what you read?
    4. How good are you at maths?
    5. Why are zeroes so important in the digital world?
    6. Why was the zero such a historical breakthrough?
    7. Why does English use 'love' to mean zero in tennis?
    8. Who invented numbers?
    9. What different names are there for zero in your country?
    10. What questions would you like to ask the scientists?

    Discussion — Write your own questions

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

    (a) ________________

    (b) ________________

    (c) ________________

    (d) ________________

    (e) ________________

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

    (f) ________________

    (g) ________________

    (h) ________________

    (i) ________________

    (j) ________________





    Language — Cloze (Gap-fill)

    Scientists from Oxford University in England have discovered that the (1) ____ use of the zero is 500 years older than (2) ____ thought. The scientists used carbon dating to (3) ____ the symbol's origins to a famous ancient Indian scroll called the Bakhshali Manuscript. Scientists found the scroll (4) ____ back to the third century, which makes it the oldest script using the symbol. Before the carbon dating of the scroll, scientists believed the manuscript was created in the eighth century. It was found in the village of Bakhshali in 1881. The zero symbol that we use today evolved from a round (5) ____ frequently used in India. This symbol can be seen (6) ____ times on the manuscript.

    Marcus Du Santoy, a mathematics professor at Oxford University, explained the (7) ____ of the zero in our lives. He told Britain's 'Guardian' newspaper that: "Today, we (8) ____ it for granted that the concept of zero is used across the globe and is a (9) ____ building block of the digital world. But the creation of zero as a number in its own right, which (10) ____ from the placeholder dot symbol found in the Bakhshali manuscript, was one of the greatest breakthroughs in the history of mathematics." Zero has many names in English, (11) ____ nought, nil (in football) and love (in tennis). It is often said as "oh" in the context of telephone numbers. Informal or (12) ____ terms for zero include nowt, nada, zilch and zip.

    Which of these words go in the above text?

    1. (a)     writing     (b)     writes     (c)     write     (d)     written    
    2. (a)     previous     (b)     provisions     (c)     previews     (d)     previously    
    3. (a)     race     (b)     trace     (c)     grace     (d)     brace    
    4. (a)     rates     (b)     data     (c)     dates     (d)     years    
    5. (a)     dotty     (b)     doting     (c)     dot     (d)     dote    
    6. (a)     several     (b)     severe     (c)     serene     (d)     server    
    7. (a)     signifies     (b)     significance     (c)     significantly     (d)     significant    
    8. (a)     take     (b)     make     (c)     fake     (d)     sake    
    9. (a)     answer     (b)     key     (c)     chain     (d)     lock    
    10. (a)     involved     (b)     revolved     (c)     evolved     (d)     absolved    
    11. (a)     includes     (b)     inclusive     (c)     including     (d)     inclusion    
    12. (a)     sling     (b)     slug     (c)     slink     (d)     slang

    Spelling

    Paragraph 1

    1. use of the zero is 500 years older than roipveuyls thought
    2. a famous canetni Indian scroll
    3. created in the eighth cyurnte
    4. The zero oblmsy that we use today evolved
    5. a round dot qternlyeuf used in India
    6. This lyomsb can be seen several times

    Paragraph 2

    1. a mathematics reofsrsop at Oxford University
    2. explained the iicafngscein of the zero
    3. the necotpc of zero
    4. one of the reegstat breakthroughs
    5. in the eoxtcnt of telephone numbers
    6. Informal or sgnal terms

    Put the text back together

    (    )     is often said as "oh" in the context of telephone numbers. Informal or slang terms for zero include nowt, nada, zilch and zip.

    (    )     dating of the scroll, scientists believed the manuscript was created in the eighth century. It was found in

    (    )     older than previously thought. The scientists used carbon dating to trace the symbol's origins to a famous ancient

    1  )     Scientists from Oxford University in England have discovered that the written use of the zero is 500 years

    (    )     dot frequently used in India. This symbol can be seen several times on the manuscript.

    (    )     world. But the creation of zero as a number in its own right, which evolved

    (    )     century, which makes it the oldest script using the symbol. Before the carbon

    (    )     Indian scroll called the Bakhshali Manuscript. Scientists found the scroll dates back to the third

    (    )     granted that the concept of zero is used across the globe and is a key building block of the digital

    (    )     Marcus Du Santoy, a mathematics professor at Oxford University, explained the significance

    (    )     the village of Bakhshali in 1881. The zero symbol that we use today evolved from a round

    (    )     from the placeholder dot symbol found in the Bakhshali manuscript, 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

    (    )     of the zero in our lives. He told Britain's 'Guardian' newspaper that: "Today, we take it for

    Put the words in the right order

    1. years   is   Use   older  of  than   the  previously   zero   thought  500   .
    2. symbol's   dating   origins   to   Scientists   trace   used   the   carbon   .
    3. century   the   back  third   found   dates   the   Scientists   scroll   to   .
    4. symbol  The   a  today  zero  round  evolved  we   dot  from  use  that  .
    5. the   symbol  seen   on   This   be   times   manuscript   can   several   .
    6. of   concept   the   that   granted   for   it   take   We   used   is   zero   .
    7. number   creation   its   of   own   zero   right   as   The   in   a   .
    8. One  greatest  the  mathematics  the  in  of  of  breakthroughs  history .
    9. in  said  telephone  often  of   "oh"   is   context  It   the  as   numbers  .
    10. or   Informal   nowt   include   zero   for   terms   slang   .

    Circle the correct word (20 pairs)

    Scientists from Oxford University in England have recovered / discovered that the written use of the / a zero is 500 years older than previous / previously thought. The scientists used carbon dating to trace / brace the symbol's origins to a famous ancient Indian scroll called the Bakhshali Manuscript. Scientists found the scroll dates / dating back to the third century, which makes / has it the oldest script using the symbol. Before the carbon dating of the scroll, scientists belief / believed the manuscript was created in the eighth century / centuries. It was found in the village of Bakhshali in 1881. The zero symbol that we use today evolved / revolved from a round dot frequently used in India. This symbol can be seen severe / several times on the manuscript.

    Marcus Du Santoy, a mathematics professor at Oxford University, explained the significance / significant of the zero in our livelihoods / lives. He told Britain's 'Guardian' newspaper that: "Today, we take it for / from granted that the concept of zero is used crossed / across the globe and is a key building block of the digital earth / world. But the creation of zero as a number in its own rightly / right, which evolved from the placeholder dot symbol / symbolic found in the Bakhshali manuscript, was one of the greatest breakouts / 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" in the context / contract of telephone numbers. Informal or slang trims / terms for zero include nowt, nada, zilch and zip.

    Talk about the connection between each pair of words in italics, and why the correct word is correct.

    Insert the vowels (a, e, i, o, u)

    Sc__nt_sts fr_m _xf_rd _n_v_rs_ty _n _ngl_nd h_v_ d_sc_v_r_d th_t th_ wr_tt_n _s_ _f th_ z_r_ _s 500 y__rs _ld_r th_n pr_v___sly th__ght. Th_ sc__nt_sts _s_d c_rb_n d_t_ng t_ tr_c_ th_ symb_l's _r_g_ns t_ _ f_m__s _nc__nt _nd__n scr_ll c_ll_d th_ B_khsh_l_ M_n_scr_pt. Sc__nt_sts f__nd th_ scr_ll d_t_s b_ck t_ th_ th_rd c_nt_ry, wh_ch m_k_s _t th_ _ld_st scr_pt _s_ng th_ symb_l. B_f_r_ th_ c_rb_n d_t_ng _f th_ scr_ll, sc__nt_sts b_l__v_d th_ m_n_scr_pt w_s cr__t_d _n th_ __ghth c_nt_ry. _t w_s f__nd _n th_ v_ll_g_ _f B_khsh_l_ _n 1881. Th_ z_r_ symb_l th_t w_ _s_ t_d_y _v_lv_d fr_m _ r__nd d_t fr_q__ntly _s_d _n _nd__. Th_s symb_l c_n b_ s__n s_v_r_l t_m_s _n th_ m_n_scr_pt.

    M_rc_s D_ S_nt_y, _ m_th_m_t_cs pr_f_ss_r _t _xf_rd _n_v_rs_ty, _xpl__n_d th_ s_gn_f_c_nc_ _f th_ z_r_ _n __r l_v_s. H_ t_ld Br_t__n's 'G__rd__n' n_wsp_p_r th_t: "T_d_y, w_ t_k_ _t f_r gr_nt_d th_t th_ c_nc_pt _f z_r_ _s _s_d _cr_ss th_ gl_b_ _nd _s _ k_y b__ld_ng bl_ck _f th_ d_g_t_l w_rld. B_t th_ cr__t__n _f z_r_ _s _ n_mb_r _n _ts _wn r_ght, wh_ch _v_lv_d fr_m th_ pl_c_h_ld_r d_t symb_l f__nd _n th_ B_khsh_l_ m_n_scr_pt, w_s _n_ _f th_ gr__t_st br__kthr__ghs _n th_ h_st_ry _f m_th_m_t_cs." Z_r_ h_s m_ny n_m_s _n _ngl_sh, _ncl_d_ng n__ght, n_l (_n f__tb_ll) _nd l_v_ (_n t_nn_s). _t _s _ft_n s__d _s "_h" _n th_ c_nt_xt _f t_l_ph_n_ n_mb_rs. _nf_rm_l _r sl_ng t_rms f_r z_r_ _ncl_d_ n_wt, n_d_, z_lch _nd z_p.

    Punctuate the text and add capitals

    scientists from oxford university in england have discovered that the written use of the zero is 500 years older than previously thought the scientists used carbon dating to trace the symbol's origins to a famous ancient indian scroll called the bakhshali manuscript scientists found the scroll dates back to the third century which makes it the oldest script using the symbol before the carbon dating of the scroll scientists believed the manuscript was created in the eighth century it was found in the village of bakhshali in 1881 the zero symbol that we use today evolved from a round dot frequently used in india this symbol can be seen several times on the manuscript

    marcus du santoy a mathematics professor at oxford university explained the significance of the zero in our lives he told britain's 'guardian' newspaper that "today we take it for granted that the concept of zero is used across the globe and is a key building block of the digital world but the creation of zero as a number in its own right which evolved from the placeholder dot symbol found in the bakhshali manuscript 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" in the context of telephone numbers informal or slang terms for zero include nowt nada zilch and zip

    Put a slash (/) where the spaces are

    ScientistsfromOxfordUniversityinEnglandhavediscoveredthatthewr
    ittenuseofthezerois500yearsolderthanpreviouslythought.Thescient
    istsusedcarbondatingtotracethesymbol'soriginstoafamousancientI
    ndianscrollcalledtheBakhshaliManuscript.Scientistsfoundthescrolld
    atesbacktothethirdcentury,whichmakesittheoldestscriptusingthesy
    mbol.Beforethecarbondatingofthescroll,scientistsbelievedthemanu
    scriptwascreatedintheeighthcentury.ItwasfoundinthevillageofBakh
    shaliin1881.Thezerosymbolthatweusetodayevolvedfromarounddot
    frequentlyusedinIndia.Thissymbolcanbeseenseveraltimesonthema
    nuscript.MarcusDuSantoy,amathematicsprofessoratOxfordUniversi
    ty,explainedthesignificanceofthezeroinourlives.HetoldBritain's'Gua
    rdian'newspaperthat:"Today,wetakeitforgrantedthattheconceptofz
    eroisusedacrosstheglobeandisakeybuildingblockofthedigitalworld.B
    utthecreationofzeroasanumberinitsownright,whichevolvedfromthe
    placeholderdotsymbolfoundintheBakhshalimanuscript,wasoneofth
    egreatestbreakthroughsinthehistoryofmathematics."Zerohasmany
    namesinEnglish,includingnought,nil(infootball)andlove(intennis).It
    isoftensaidas"oh"inthecontextoftelephonenumbers.Informalorslan
    gtermsforzeroincludenowt,nada,zilchandzip.

    Free writing

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

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    Academic writing

    Zero is the most important number. Discuss.

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    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 out more about this news. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

    3. THE NUMBER ZERO: Make a poster about the number zero. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?

    4. ZERO: Write a magazine article about the number zero. Argue that it is the most important number. Include imaginary interviews with people who agree with this and with those who disagree with it.

    Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Write down any new words and expressions you hear from your partner(s).

    5. WHAT HAPPENED NEXT? Write a newspaper article about the next stage in this news story. Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Give each other feedback on your articles.

    6. LETTER: Write a letter to an expert on the number zero. Ask him/her three questions about the number. Give him/her three of your opinions on the number zero. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

    Answers

    (Please look at page 26 of the PDF to see a photocopiable example of this activity.)

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