The Reading / Listening - Polar Vortex - Level 3

Much of mid- and northeastern America is in the middle of a deadly cold snap. Many states from Michigan in the north to Georgia in the south are experiencing freezing temperatures not experienced for decades. It is currently colder in many parts of the USA than it is in Antarctica. The cold spell is because of what is called a polar vortex. This is a swirling mass of air and wind that has come down from the Arctic, which is where the North Pole is. The government has declared states of emergency in Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan. Many schools and businesses have been closed due to the extreme cold. People have been warned not to travel, and even not to go outside and breathe in the icy air.



The weather website AccuWeather said that the temperature in Thief River Falls, in the state of Minnesota, dropped to a real-feel minus sixty degrees Celsius. Many parts of the Chicago River turned to ice, Niagara Falls turned into a winter wonderland and parts of Lake Michigan froze over. The bitter freeze is believed to be responsible for the deaths of at least eight people so far. Health officials are urging people to go outside only if it is absolutely necessary. They warned that exposing the skin to the freezing air was dangerous. It could lead to frostbite or breathing problems. People were also urged to be careful when shoveling snow outside and be careful of blocks of snow and ice falling from the roof.

Try the same news story at these easier levels:

    Polar Vortex - Level 0 Polar Vortex - Level 1   or  Polar Vortex - Level 2

Sources
  • https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/30/us/extreme-cold-weather.html
  • https://thehill.com/opinion/energy-environment/427652-how-dangerous-and-historic-is-the-polar-vortex-hitting-the-midwest
  • https://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/75-below-zero-polar-vortex-yields-deadly-cold-as-thousands-endure-power-cuts-travel-issues-mount-in-midwest/70007291


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. FREEZING WEATHER: Students walk around the class and talk to other students about freezing weather. 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?
       cold snap / north / freezing / decades / Antarctica / polar / emergency / travel /
       extreme / breathe / winter / wonderland / temperature / ice / frostbite / snow
Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.
3. FREEZING: Students A strongly believe freezing cold weather is better than boiling hot weather; Students B strongly believe the opposite.  Change partners again and talk about your conversations.
4. SURVIVAL: How can people survive in these extreme weather events? Complete this table with your partner(s). Change partners often and share what you wrote.

 

What to do

Problems

Freezing cold

 

 

Boiling heat

 

 

Flooding

 

 

A meter of snow

 

 

Heavy fog

 

 

Hurricane winds

 

 

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. COLD: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word "cold". Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.
6. WEATHER: Rank these with your partner. Put the worst kinds of weather at the top. Change partners often and share your rankings.

  • boiling heat
  • freezing cold
  • gale force winds
  • raining cats and dogs
  • snow
  • fog
  • hail
  • thunderstorms

 

Vocabulary

    Paragraph 1

      1. cold snap a. Formally announced the beginning of a state or condition.
      2. decade b. Anything about the North and South Poles.
      3. polar c. A period of ten years.
      4. swirling d. Take air into the lungs and then let it out.
      5. declared e. A sudden short period of freezing weather.
      6. extreme f. Moving in a twisting or spiraling pattern.
      7. breathe g. Getting to a high or the highest degree; very, very, very great.

    Paragraph 2

      8. temperature h. How hot or cold a place actually is, rather than what people say it will be.
      9. real-feel i. Completely; totally.
      10. bitter j. The covering of a building.
      11. freeze k. Very, very cold.
      12. absolutely l. The thin layer of tissue forming the outer covering of the body of a person or animal.
      13. skin m. Of a liquid (e.g. water) turning into ice.
      14. roof n. How hot or cold something or someone is.

 

Before reading / listening

1. TRUE / FALSE: Read the headline. Guess if 1-8 below are true (T) or false (F).

  1. The article said a deadly cold snap has hit the whole of the USA.     T / F
  2. The last time the USA had such freezing weather was five years ago.     T / F
  3. The polar vortex has come down from the North Pole.     T / F
  4. People were told that breathing icy air is very healthy.     T / F
  5. The real-feel temperature in a part of Minnesota fell to -60º Celsius.     T / F
  6. Parts of Lake Michigan became frozen.     T / F
  7. Freezing air cannot damage our skin.     T / F
  8. Officials warned people about blocks of ice falling from roofs.     T / F

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

  1. much
  2. deadly
  3. experienced
  4. swirling
  5. due to
  6. dropped
  7. parts
  8. urging
  9. necessary
  10. falling
  1. fell
  2. revolving
  3. because of
  4. dropping
  5. lethal
  6. encouraging
  7. a lot of
  8. unavoidable
  9. encountered
  10. areas

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

  1. in the middle of a deadly
  2. colder in many parts of the USA
  3. a swirling mass
  4. businesses have been closed due
  5. breathe in the icy
  6. dropped to a real-feel minus
  7. parts of Lake Michigan froze
  8. exposing the skin to the freezing
  9. be careful when shoveling
  10. blocks of snow and ice
  1. snow outside
  2. of air and wind
  3. over
  4. falling from the roof
  5. cold snap
  6. air was dangerous
  7. to the extreme cold
  8. than it is in Antarctica
  9. sixty degrees Celsius
  10. air

Gap fill

Put these words into the spaces in the paragraph below.
emergency
experiencing
air
spell
middle
due
mass
decades

Much of mid- and northeastern America is in the (1) ___________ of a deadly cold snap. Many states from Michigan in the north to Georgia in the south are (2) ____________ freezing temperatures not experienced for (3) ____________. It is currently colder in many parts of the USA than it is in Antarctica. The cold (4) ____________ is because of what is called a polar vortex. This is a swirling (5) ____________ of air and wind that has come down from the Arctic, which is where the North Pole is. The government has declared states of (6) ____________ in Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan. Many schools and businesses have been closed (7) ____________ to the extreme cold. People have been warned not to travel, and even not to go outside and breathe in the icy (8) ____________.

Put these words into the spaces in the paragraph below.
minus
responsible
shoveling
temperature
skin
roof
froze
absolutely

The weather website AccuWeather said that the (9) ____________ in Thief River Falls, in the state of Minnesota, dropped to a real-feel (10) ____________ sixty degrees Celsius. Many parts of the Chicago River turned to ice, Niagara Falls turned into a winter wonderland and parts of Lake Michigan (11) ____________ over. The bitter freeze is believed to be (12) ____________ for the deaths of at least eight people so far. Health officials are urging people to go outside only if it is (13) ____________ necessary. They warned that exposing the (14) ____________ to the freezing air was dangerous. It could lead to frostbite or breathing problems. People were also urged to be careful when (15) ____________ snow outside and be careful of blocks of snow and ice falling from the (16) ____________.

Listening — Guess the answers. Listen to check.

1)  Much of mid- and northeastern America is in the middle of a ______
     a.  deadly colds snap
     b.  deadly cold nap
     c.  deadly cold snap
     d.  deadly colds nap
2)  ... the south are experiencing freezing temperatures not experienced ______
     a.  for decadence
     b.  for deck aids
     c.  for deck add
     d.  for decades
3)  It is currently colder in many parts of the USA than it is ______
     a.  in Antarctic
     b.  inner Artic
     c.  inner Antarctica
     d.  in Antarctica
4)  This is a swirling mass of air and wind that has come down ______
     a.  from an ark tick
     b.  from the Arctic
     c.  from the ark tick
     d.  from an arch tick
5) warned not to travel, and even not to go outside and breathe in ______
     a.  the eye see air
     b.  the eye sea air
     c.  the I.C. air
     d.  the icy air

6) Thief River Falls in the state of Minnesota, dropped to a real-feel ______ degrees
     a.  mine as sixteen
     b.  mine us sixty
     c.  minus sixty
     d.  minus sixteen
7)  The bitter freeze is believed to be responsible for the deaths of ______ people
     a.  at least eighty
     b.  at least eights
     c.  at least eighteen
     d.  at least eight
8)  Health officials are urging people to go outside only if it ______ necessary
     a.  is absolute zero
     b.  is absolute
     c.  is absolutely
     d.  is absolute zero
9)  People were also urged to be careful when shoveling ______
     a.  snows outside
     b.  snow outside
     c.  snowy outside
     d.  snowed outside
10)  be careful of blocks of snow and ice falling ______
     a.  from a roof
     b.  for the proof
     c.  from the proof
     d.  from the roof

Listening — Listen and fill in the gaps

Much of mid- and northeastern America is in (1) ___________________ a deadly cold snap. Many states from Michigan in the north to Georgia in the south are experiencing freezing temperatures not (2) ___________________. It is currently colder in many parts of the USA than it is in Antarctica. The cold spell is because of (3) ___________________ a polar vortex. This is a swirling mass of air and wind that has (4) ___________________ the Arctic, which is where the North Pole is. The government has declared states of emergency in Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan. Many schools and businesses have been (5) ___________________ the extreme cold. People have been warned not to travel, and even not to go outside (6) ___________________ the icy air.

The weather website AccuWeather said that the temperature in Thief River Falls, in the state of Minnesota, (7) ___________________ real-feel minus sixty degrees Celsius. Many parts of the Chicago River turned to ice, Niagara Falls turned into a winter wonderland (8) ___________________ Lake Michigan froze over. The bitter freeze is believed to be responsible for the deaths of at least eight (9) ___________________. Health officials are urging people to go outside only if it is absolutely necessary. They warned that (10) ___________________ to the freezing air was dangerous. It could lead to frostbite or breathing problems. People were (11) ___________________ be careful when shoveling snow outside and be careful of blocks of snow and ice falling (12) ___________________.

Comprehension questions

  1. Which regions of the USA are experiencing a freezing cold snap?
  2. Where did the cold weather come from?
  3. How many states have declared a state of emergency?
  4. What have closed down?
  5. What were people warned not to do with icy air?
  6. What did the temperature fall to in Thief River Falls?
  7. What happened to parts of Lake Michigan?
  8. When did health officials say it was OK for people to go outside?
  9. What medical problem can freezing air give us?
  10. What is there a danger of falling from roofs?




Multiple choice quiz

1) Which regions of the USA are experiencing a freezing cold snap?
a) northern USA
b) mid- and northeastern America
c) the midwest
d) the east
2) Where did the cold weather come from?
a) Alaska
b) the South Pole
c) the Antarctic
d) the Arctic
3) How many states have declared a state of emergency?
a) one
b) two
c) three
d) four
4) What have closed down?
a) schools and businesses
b) government
c) snow-moving machines
d) hospitals
5) What were people warned not to do with icy air?
a) keep it
b) breathe it
c) bathe in it
d) eat ice cream in it

6) What did the temperature fall to in Thief River Falls?
a) -60ºC
b) -70ºC
c) -50ºC
d) -40ºC
7) What happened to parts of Lake Michigan?
a) it misted over
b) nothing
c) it froze over
d) it rose
8) When did health officials say it was OK for people to go outside?
a) it was absolutely necessary
b) to clear snow
c) to push cars
d) to build a snowman
9) What medical problem can freezing air give us?
a) blisters
b) acne
c) baldness
d) frostbite
10) What is there a danger of falling from roofs?
a) people
b) tiles
c) blocks of snow and ice
d) shovels

Role play

Role  A – Heavy Snow
You think heavy snow is the worst kind of weather. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their weather. Also, tell the others which is the best of these (and why): boiling heat, freezing cold or torrential rain.

Role  B – Boiling Heat
You think boiling heat is the worst kind of weather. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their weather. Also, tell the others which is the best of these (and why): heavy snow, freezing cold or torrential rain.

Role  C – Freezing Cold
You think freezing cold is the worst kind of weather. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their weather. Also, tell the others which is the best of these (and why): boiling heat, heavy snow or torrential rain.

Role  D – Torrential Rain
You think torrential rain is the worst kind of weather. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their weather. Also, tell the others which is the best of these (and why): boiling heat, freezing cold or heavy snow.

After reading / listening

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

'cold'

  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • and 'weather'.

  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • • 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:

    • website
    • minus
    • parts
    • necessary
    • dangerous
    • roof
    • middle
    • decades
    • mass
    • declared
    • schools
    • breathe




    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 - Deadly polar vortex freezes mid-America

    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 'freezing'?
    3. What do you think of freezing cold weather?
    4. What are the good and bad things about the weather in your country?
    5. What would it be like to visit Antarctica?
    6. What is the coldest you have ever been?
    7. What do you know about the North Pole?
    8. What are the dangers of very cold weather?
    9. What is the best way to stay warm in freezing temperatures?
    10. What would it be like to breathe very icy air?

    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 'cold'?
    3. What do you think about what you read?
    4. Do you prefer the heat or the cold?
    5. What would you do it temperatures dropped to minus 60ºC?
    6. What do you know about frostbite?
    7. What do you know about Niagara Falls?
    8. What do you think of shoveling snow?
    9. What is the best thing to do in the snow?
    10. What questions would you like to ask a weather forecaster?

    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)

    Much of mid- and northeastern America is in the middle of a deadly cold (1) ____. Many states from Michigan in the north to Georgia in the south are experiencing freezing temperatures (2) ____ experienced for decades. It is (3) ____ colder in many parts of the USA than it is in Antarctica. The cold spell is because of (4) ____ is called a polar vortex. This is a swirling mass of air and wind that has come down from the Arctic, which is where the North Pole (5) ____. The government has declared states of emergency in Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan. Many schools and businesses have been closed due to the extreme cold. People have been warned not to travel, and (6) ____ not to go outside and breathe in the icy air.

    The weather website AccuWeather said that the temperature in Thief River Falls, in the state of Minnesota, (7) ____ to a real-feel minus sixty degrees Celsius. Many parts of the Chicago River turned to ice, Niagara Falls turned into a winter wonderland and parts of Lake Michigan froze (8) ____. The bitter freeze is believed to be responsible for the deaths of at least eight people so far. Health officials are (9) ____ people to go outside only if it is absolutely necessary. They warned that exposing the skin (10) ____ the freezing air was dangerous. It could lead to (11) ____ or breathing problems. People were also urged to be careful when shoveling snow outside and be careful of blocks of snow and ice falling from the (12) ____.

    Which of these words go in the above text?

    1. (a)     snip     (b)     snap     (c)     snag     (d)     span    
    2. (a)     neither     (b)     no     (c)     non     (d)     not    
    3. (a)     currant     (b)     currently     (c)     current     (d)     currency    
    4. (a)     that     (b)     which     (c)     what     (d)     why    
    5. (a)     be     (b)     is     (c)     are     (d)     have    
    6. (a)     even     (b)     evenly     (c)     evens     (d)     every    
    7. (a)     fall     (b)     reduce     (c)     below     (d)     dropped    
    8. (a)     over     (b)     above     (c)     higher     (d)     around    
    9. (a)     raging     (b)     urging     (c)     staging     (d)     aging    
    10. (a)     of     (b)     at     (c)     to     (d)     on    
    11. (a)     frosty     (b)     frosted     (c)     frostbite     (d)     frosts    
    12. (a)     ceiling     (b)     roof     (c)     attic     (d)     tiles

    Spelling

    Paragraph 1

    1. in the middle of a dedyla cold snap
    2. It is tucenrlry colder
    3. a srlgwini mass of air
    4. declared states of ecnrgemey
    5. closed due to the teeexmr cold
    6. bhtaree in the icy air

    Paragraph 2

    1. minus sixty edgrees Celsius
    2. snbelopeirs for the deaths
    3. Health closfifai
    4. girnug people to go outside
    5. It could lead to btroeftsi
    6. be careful when nhivogels snow

    Put the text back together

    (...)  only if it is absolutely necessary. They warned that exposing the skin to the freezing air was dangerous. It could lead
    (...)  currently colder in many parts of the USA than it is in Antarctica. The cold spell is because of what is called
    (...)  a polar vortex. This is a swirling mass of air and wind that has come down from the Arctic, which is
    (...)  responsible for the deaths of at least eight people so far. Health officials are urging people to go outside
    1  ) Much of mid- and northeastern America is in the middle of a deadly cold snap. Many states from Michigan in the
    (...)  warned not to travel, and even not to go outside and breathe in the icy air.
    (...)  where the North Pole is. The government has declared states of emergency in Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan. Many
    (...)  schools and businesses have been closed due to the extreme cold. People have been
    (...)  to frostbite or breathing problems. People were also urged to be careful when shoveling
    (...)  to a real-feel minus sixty degrees Celsius. Many parts of the Chicago River turned to ice, Niagara Falls turned
    (...)  into a winter wonderland and parts of Lake Michigan froze over. The bitter freeze is believed to be
    (...)  The weather website AccuWeather said that the temperature in Thief River Falls, in the state of Minnesota, dropped
    (...)  north to Georgia in the south are experiencing freezing temperatures not experienced for decades. It is
    (...)  snow outside and be careful of blocks of snow and ice falling from the roof.

    Put the words in the right order

    1. of middle the a deadly In cold snap.
    2. freezing not experienced decades. for Experiencing temperatures
    3. that come Wind from the Arctic. down has
    4. The has declared emergency. states government of
    5. warned have People to travel. not been
    6. of to river Many the turned parts ice.
    7. for eight. at the least of Responsible deaths
    8. absolutely necessary. only Go if it outside is
    9. dangerous. air skin to Exposing the the was
    10. urged were careful. also People to be

    Circle the correct word (20 pairs)

    Much of mid- and northeastern America is in the mid / middle of a deadly cold snap. Many states from Michigan in the north to Georgia in the south are experienced / experiencing freezing temperatures not experienced / experiencing for decades. It is currently colder in many parts of the USA than it is / isn't in Antarctica. The cold spell is because of what is called a polar vortex. This is a swirling massive / mass of air and wind that has come down from the Arctic, which is where the North Pole be / is. The government has declared / bonus states of emergency in Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan. Many schools and businesses have been closed dew / due to the extreme cold. People have been warned / warred not to travel, and even not to go outside and breathe in the icy air / gas.

    The weather website AccuWeather said that the temperature in Thief River Falls, in the state of Minnesota, dropped / fall to a real-feel minus sixty degrees Celsius. Many parts of the Chicago River twisted / turned to ice, Niagara Falls turned into a winter wonderland and parts of Lake Michigan froze under / over. The bitter freeze is belief / believed to be responsible for the deaths / dead of at least eight people so farther / far. Health officials are urging people to go outside only if / whether it is absolutely necessary. They warned that exposing / supposing the skin to the freezing air was dangerous. It could lead to frostbite or breathing problems. People were also sensed / urged to be careful when shoveling snow outside and be careful of blocks of snow and ice falling from the roof / ceiling.

    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)

    M_c h _f m_d - _n d n_r t h__ s t_r n A m_r_c_ _s _n t h_ m_d d l_ _f _ d__ d l y c_l d s n_p . M_n y s t_t_s f r_m M_c h_g_n _n t h_ n_r t h t_ G__ r g__ _n t h_ s__ t h _r_ _x p_r__ n c_n g f r__ z_n g t_m p_r_t_r_s n_t _x p_r__ n c_d f_r d_c_d_s . I t _s c_r r_n t l y c_l d_r _n m_n y p_r t s _f t h_ U S A t h_n _t _s _n A n t_r c t_c_. T h_ c_l d s p_l l _s b_c__ s_ _f w h_t _s c_l l_d _ p_l_r v_r t_x . T h_s _s _ s w_r l_n g m_s s _f __ r _n d w_n d t h_t h_s c_m_ d_w n f r_m t h_ A r c t_c , w h_c h _s w h_r_ t h_ N_r t h P_l_ _s . T h_ g_v_r n m_n t h_s d_c l_r_d s t_t_s _f _m_r g_n c y _n W_s c_n s_n , I l l_n__ s _n d M_c h_g_n . M_n y s c h__ l s _n d b_s_n_s s_s h_v_ b__ n c l_s_d d__ t_ t h_ _x t r_m_ c_l d . P__ p l_ h_v_ b__ n w_r n_d n_t t_ t r_v_l , _n d _v_n n_t t_ g_ __ t s_d_ _n d b r__ t h_ _n t h_ _c y __ r .

    T h_ w__ t h_r w_b s_t_ A c c_W__ t h_r s__ d t h_t t h_ t_m p_r_t_r_ _n T h__ f R_v_r F_l l s , _n t h_ s t_t_ _f M_n n_s_t_, d r_p p_d t_ _ r__ l - f__ l m_n_s s_x t y d_g r__ s C_l s__ s . M_n y p_r t s _f t h_ C h_c_g_ R_v_r t_r n_d t_ _c_, N__ g_r_ F_l l s t_r n_d _n t_ _ w_n t_r w_n d_r l_n d _n d p_r t s _f L_k_ M_c h_g_n f r_z_ _v_r . T h_ b_t t_r f r__ z_ _s b_l__ v_d t_ b_ r_s p_n s_b l_ f_r t h_ d__ t h s _f _t l__ s t __ g h t p__ p l_ s_ f_r . H__ l t h _f f_c__ l s _r_ _r g_n g p__ p l_ t_ g_ __ t s_d_ _n l y _f _t _s _b s_l_t_l y n_c_s s_r y . T h_y w_r n_d t h_t _x p_s_n g t h_ s k_n t_ t h_ f r__ z_n g __ r w_s d_n g_r__ s . I t c__ l d l__ d t_ f r_s t b_t_ _r b r__ t h_n g p r_b l_m s . P__ p l_ w_r_ _l s_ _r g_d t_ b_ c_r_f_l w h_n s h_v_l_n g s n_w __ t s_d_ _n d b_ c_r_f_l _f b l_c k s _f s n_w _n d _c_ f_l l_n g f r_m t h_ r__ f .

    Punctuate the text and add capitals

    much of mid- and northeastern america is in the middle of a deadly cold snap. many states from michigan in the north to georgia in the south are experiencing freezing temperatures not experienced for decades. it is currently colder in many parts of the usa than it is in antarctica. the cold spell is because of what is called a polar vortex. this is a swirling mass of air and wind that has come down from the arctic, which is where the north pole is. the government has declared states of emergency in wisconsin, illinois and michigan. many schools and businesses have been closed due to the extreme cold. people have been warned not to travel, and even not to go outside and breathe in the icy air.

    the weather website accuweather said that the temperature in thief river falls, in the state of minnesota, dropped to a real-feel minus sixty degrees celsius. many parts of the chicago river turned to ice, niagara falls turned into a winter wonderland and parts of lake michigan froze over. the bitter freeze is believed to be responsible for the deaths of at least eight people so far. health officials are urging people to go outside only if it is absolutely necessary. they warned that exposing the skin to the freezing air was dangerous. it could lead to frostbite or breathing problems. people were also urged to be careful when shoveling snow outside and be careful of blocks of snow and ice falling from the roof.

    Put a slash (/) where the spaces are

    Muchofmid-andnortheasternAmericaisinthemiddleofadeadlycolds
    nap.ManystatesfromMichiganinthenorthtoGeorgiainthesouthareex
    periencingfreezingtemperaturesnotexperiencedfordecades.Itiscurr
    entlycolderinmanypartsoftheUSAthanitisinAntarctica.Thecoldspelli
    sbecauseofwhatiscalledapolarvortex.Thisisaswirlingmassofairandw
    indthathascomedownfromtheArctic,whichiswheretheNorthPoleis.T
    hegovernmenthasdeclaredstatesofemergencyinWisconsin,Illinoisa
    ndMichigan.Manyschoolsandbusinesseshavebeenclosedduetotheex
    tremecold.Peoplehavebeenwarnednottotravel,andevennottogoouts
    ideandbreatheintheicyair.TheweatherwebsiteAccuWeathersaidthat
    thetemperatureinThiefRiverFalls,inthestateofMinnesota,droppedto
    areal-feelminussixtydegreesCelsius.ManypartsoftheChicagoRivert
    urnedtoice,NiagaraFallsturnedintoawinterwonderlandandpartsofLa
    keMichiganfrozeover.Thebitterfreezeisbelievedtoberesponsiblefort
    hedeathsofatleasteightpeoplesofar.Healthofficialsareurgingpeoplet
    ogooutsideonlyifitisabsolutelynecessary.Theywarnedthatexposingt
    heskintothefreezingairwasdangerous.Itcouldleadtofrostbiteorbreat
    hingproblems.Peoplewerealsourgedtobecarefulwhenshovelingsno
    woutsideandbecarefulofblocksofsnowandicefallingfromtheroof.

    Free writing

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

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    Academic writing

    Freezing cold weather is better than boiling hot weather. 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 story. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.
    3. FREEZING WEATHER: Make a poster about freezing weather. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?
    4. EMERGENCY KITS: Write a magazine article about the government giving everyone emergency kits to survive bad weather. Include imaginary interviews with people who are for and against this.
    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 freezing weather. Ask him/her three questions about it. Give him/her three of your ideas on how to survive adverse weather. 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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