The Reading / Listening - Christmas Cake - Level 6

Christmas cake is a tradition that dates back centuries, for people who celebrate the festive season. The vast majority of those who enjoy a slice of their favourite seasonal treat are unaware that there is a science behind its slicing. Dr Chris Budd, a professor of applied mathematics and geometry at two UK universities, tested several hypotheses on the optimal way to cut a Christmas cake into slices. He focused on how to dissect the cake while leaving the exposed insides as moist as possible. His solution was to cut the cake across the middle, leaving two semicircles, then cut slices and push the remaining halves together. He said: "It works." However, perhaps he would admit that it isn't exactly rocket science.



According to Wikipedia, Christmas cake is an English tradition that began as plum porridge. The plums later gave way to raisins, sultanas, orange rind and other dried fruit. The fruit is often soaked in rum or brandy. It is quite common for the fruity loaf part of the cake to be covered in a layer of marzipan, and then the top and sides to be coated in icing. The icing is a hardened, white sugar coating that can be over a centimetre thick. The top of the cake is usually decorated with an array of Christmassy symbols like fir trees or snowmen and women. Christmas cakes vary around the world. In Sri Lanka, they are full of treacle and spices. In Japan, they are simple sponge cakes with whipped cream and strawberries.

Try the same news story at these easier levels:

    Christmas Cake - Level 4  or  Christmas Cake - Level 5

Sources
  • https://www.iflscience.com/editors-blog/maths-says-theres-a-right-and-wrong-way-to-cut-christmas-cake/
  • https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-9068307/Christmas-cake-cut-without-letting-dry-according-114-year-old-study.html
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_cake


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. CHRISTMAS CAKE: Students walk around the class and talk to other students about Christmas cake. 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?
       tradition / centuries / Christmas cake / majority / geometry / slice / rocket science
       plum / raisins / fruit / common / icing / decorated / snowmen / spices / strawberries
Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.
3. SCIENCE: Students A strongly believe we need to know the science behind everything; Students B strongly believe we don't. Change partners again and talk about your conversations.
4. CAKES: How important are these cakes? Why? Complete this table with your partner(s). Change partners often and share what you wrote.

 

How Important?

Why?

Christmas cake

 

 

Wedding cake

 

 

Birthday cake

 

 

Cake for afternoon tea

 

 

Home baked cakes

 

 

Fresh cream cakes

 

 

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. SEASON: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word "season". Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.
6. CHRISTMAS SYMBOLS: Rank these with your partner. Put the best at the top. Change partners often and share your rankings.

  • Star
  • Fir tree
  • Reindeer
  • Manger
  • Holly
  • Robin
  • Present
  • Cake

 

Vocabulary

    Paragraph 1

      1. date a. An event or item that is out of the ordinary and gives great pleasure.
      2. festive b. Establish when something originated from.
      3. vast c. Of very great extent or quantity; immense.
      4. treat d. Best or most favorable.
      5. geometry e. Methodically cut up.
      6. optimal f. Related to celebrations.
      7. dissect g. The branch of mathematics concerned with relations of points, lines, surfaces and solids.

    Paragraph 2

      8. gave way to h. Provide with a layer or covering of something; covered.
      9. rind i. Differ in size, amount, degree, or nature from something else of the same general class.
      10. loaf j. An impressive display or range of a particular type of thing.
      11. coated k. An item of food formed into an oblong or circular shape and sliced into portions.
      12. decorated l. Made something look more attractive by adding extra items or images to it.
      13. array m. Was replaced or superseded by.
      14. vary n. The tough outer skin of certain fruit, especially citrus fruit (lemon, orange, grapefruit, etc.).

 

Before reading / listening

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

  1. The article says Christmas cake is thousands of years old.     T / F
  2. A professor of geometry tested the best ways to cut a cake.     T / F
  3. A professor decided it was best to cut the cake into quarters.     T / F
  4. The article says Christmas cake science is like rocket science.     T / F
  5. Christmas cake started life in England as a plum porridge.     T / F
  6. The fruit used in Christmas cakes is often soaked in brandy.     T / F
  7. Christmas cakes often have a layer of icing on them a centimetre thick.  T / F
  8. Japanese Christmas cakes contain a lot of treacle.     T / F

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

  1. tradition
  2. vast
  3. hypotheses
  4. dissect
  5. remaining
  6. gave way to
  7. coated
  8. decorated
  9. vary
  10. simple
  1. left over
  2. theories
  3. adorned
  4. was replaced by
  5. wide
  6. straightforward
  7. cut
  8. differ
  9. custom
  10. covered

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

  1. Christmas cake is a tradition that
  2. people who celebrate the festive
  3. enjoy a slice of their favourite
  4. tested several
  5. it isn't exactly rocket
  6. The plums later gave
  7. The fruit is often soaked
  8. decorated with an array of
  9. Christmas cakes vary
  10. simple sponge cakes with whipped
  1. science
  2. hypotheses
  3. Christmassy symbols
  4. season
  5. way to raisins
  6. cream
  7. dates back centuries
  8. around the world
  9. seasonal treat
  10. in rum or brandy

Gap fill

Put these words into the spaces in the paragraph below.
optimal
slicing
remaining
dates
dissect
exactly
vast
geometry

Christmas cake is a tradition that (1) _____________________ back centuries, for people who celebrate the festive season. The (2) _____________________ majority of those who enjoy a slice of their favourite seasonal treat are unaware that there is a science behind its (3) _____________________. Dr Chris Budd, a professor of applied mathematics and (4) _____________________ at two UK universities, tested several hypotheses on the (5) _____________________ way to cut a Christmas cake into slices. He focused on how to (6) _____________________ the cake while leaving the exposed insides as moist as possible. His solution was to cut the cake across the middle, leaving two semicircles, then cut slices and push the (7) _____________________ halves together. He said: "It works." However, perhaps he would admit that it isn't (8) _____________________ rocket science.

Put these words into the spaces in the paragraph below.
layer
whipped
rind
array
common
tradition
vary
coated

According to Wikipedia, Christmas cake is an English (9) _____________________ that began as plum porridge. The plums later gave way to raisins, sultanas, orange (10) _____________________ and other dried fruit. The fruit is often soaked in rum or brandy. It is quite (11) _____________________ for the fruity loaf part of the cake to be covered in a (12) _____________________ of marzipan, and then the top and sides to be (13) _____________________ in icing. The icing is a hardened, white sugar coating that can be over a centimetre thick. The top of the cake is usually decorated with an (14) _____________________ of Christmassy symbols like fir trees or snowmen and women. Christmas cakes (15) _____________________ around the world. In Sri Lanka, they are full of treacle and spices. In Japan, they are simple sponge cakes with (16) _____________________ cream and strawberries.

Listening — Guess the answers. Listen to check.

1) a tradition that dates back centuries, for people who celebrate ______
     a.  the festive seasonal
     b.  the festive seasoned
     c.  the festive season
     d.  the festive seasons
2)  The vast majority of those who enjoy a slice of their favourite ______
     a.  seasonal threat
     b.  seasonal treat
     c.  seasonal treaty
     d.  seasonal tweet
3)  Dr Chris Budd, a professor of applied mathematics ______
     a.  end geo-metre
     b.  and gym metre
     c.  end G-symmetry
     d.  and geometry
4) the middle, leaving two semicircles, then cut slices and push the remaining ______
     a.  calves together
     b.  halves together
     c.  haves together
     d.  shelves together
5)  However, perhaps he would admit that it isn't ______
     a.  exacting rocket science
     b.  exact real rocket science
     c.  exactly rocket science
     d.  exact sky rocket science

6)  According to Wikipedia, Christmas cake is an English tradition that began ______
     a.  as plum porridge
     b.  was plum porridge
     c.  has plum porridge
     d.  that's plum porridge
7)  plums later gave way to raisins, sultanas, orange rind and ______
     a.  other dried fruit
     b.  other drier fruit
     c.  other dries fruit
     d.  other druid fruit
8)  in a layer of marzipan, and then the top and sides to be ______
     a.  coat it in icing
     b.  coat tidy icing
     c.  coat tiding icing
     d.  coated in icing
9)  The top of the cake is usually decorated with an array of ______
     a.  Christmas see symbols
     b.  Christmas sea symbols
     c.  Christmassy symbols
     d.  Christmas C-symbols
10)  Christmas cakes vary around the world. In Sri Lanka, they are full of ______
     a.  tree call and spice is
     b.  treacle and spices
     c.  tree calling spices
     d.  tree call end spices

Listening — Listen and fill in the gaps

Christmas cake is a tradition (1) ____________________ centuries, for people who celebrate the festive season. The (2) ____________________ those who enjoy a slice of their favourite seasonal treat are unaware that there is a science (3) ____________________. Dr Chris Budd, a professor of applied mathematics and geometry at two UK universities, tested several hypotheses on the (4) ____________________ cut a Christmas cake into slices. He focused on how to dissect the cake while leaving the exposed (5) ____________________ as possible. His solution was to cut the cake across the middle, leaving two semicircles, then cut slices and push the remaining halves together. He said: "It works." However, perhaps he would admit that it isn't (6) _________________________.

According to Wikipedia, Christmas cake is an English tradition that began as plum porridge. The plums (7) ____________________ to raisins, sultanas, orange rind and other dried fruit. The fruit is (8) ____________________ rum or brandy. It is quite common for the fruity loaf part of the cake to be covered in a layer of marzipan, and then the (9) ____________________ to be coated in icing. The icing is a hardened, white sugar coating that can be over a centimetre thick. The top of the cake (10) ____________________ with an array of Christmassy symbols like fir trees or snowmen and women. Christmas cakes (11) ____________________ world. In Sri Lanka, they are full of treacle and spices. In Japan, they (12) ____________________ cakes with whipped cream and strawberries.

Comprehension questions

  1. How long does Christmas cake date back?
  2. What is behind cake cutting that people might not know about?
  3. What did a professor test?
  4. What condition should the cake be in as much as possible after it is cut?
  5. What kind of science does the article say cake-cutting science is not?
  6. What did Christmas cake begin as?
  7. What is the dried fruit of a Christmas caked soaked in?
  8. How thick can the icing on top of a cake be?
  9. Where does the article say Christmas cakes vary?
  10. What are Christmas cakes in Sri Lanka full of?




Multiple choice quiz

1)  How long does Christmas cake date back?
a) millennia
b) centuries
c) decades
d) years
2)  What is behind cake cutting that people might not know about?
a) raisins
b) master chefs
c) cooking
d) science
3) What did a professor test?
a) several hypotheses
b) a new recipe
c) a modern style of cake
d) a cake's sweetness
4) What condition should the cake be in as much as possible after it is cut?
a) as dry as possible
b) as sweet as possible
c) as moist as possible
d) as sugary as possible
5) What kind of science does the article say cake-cutting science is not?
a) physics
b) rocket science
c) nutrition
d) cooking science

6) What did Christmas cake begin as?
a) plum porridge
b) sweet bread
c) a rich person's delicacy
d) birthday cake
7) What is the dried fruit of a Christmas caked soaked in?
a) sugared water
b) milk
c) rum and brandy
d) treacle
8) How thick can the icing on top of a cake be?
a) over a centimetre thick
b) very thick
c) up to three centimetres
d) no more than 5mm
9) Where does the article say Christmas cakes vary?
a) around the world
b) in the North Pole
c) northern Europe
d) in the United Kingdom
10) What are Christmas cakes in Sri Lanka full of?
a) banana and pomegranate
b) mango and coconut
c) strawberries
d) treacle and spices

Role play

Role  A – Star
You think a star is the best Christmas symbol. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their symbols. Also, tell the others which is the least Christmassy of these (and why): a reindeer, a present or holly.

Role  B – Reindeer
You think a reindeer is the best Christmas symbol. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their symbols. Also, tell the others which is the least Christmassy of these (and why): a star, a present or holly.

Role  C – Present
You think a present is the best Christmas symbol. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their symbols. Also, tell the others which is the least Christmassy of these (and why): a reindeer, a star or holly.

Role  D – Holly
You think holly is the best Christmas symbol. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their symbols. Also, tell the others which is the least Christmassy of these (and why): a reindeer, a present or a star.

After reading / listening

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

'Christmas'

  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • and 'cake'.

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

    • dates
    • vast
    • science
    • focused
    • moist
    • rocket
    • began
    • way
    • common
    • thick
    • symbols
    • vary




    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 - Christmas Cake

    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 'Christmas'?
    3. What do you think of Christmas?
    4. How do people celebrate Christmas in your country?
    5. What is the meaning of Christmas?
    6. What is your favourite seasonal food?
    7. What do you think of festive cakes?
    8. Is it important to know the science behind slicing cakes?
    9. What do you think of the professor's solution?
    10. What does "It isn't exactly rocket science" 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 'cake'?
    3. What do you think about what you read?
    4. What are your country's favourite food traditions?
    5. What do you know about dried fruit?
    6. Do you think English Christmas cake sounds delicious?
    7. What are the best Christmassy symbols?
    8. Should there be a global, standard Christmas cake?
    9. Should we be able to eat Christmas cake every day?
    10. What questions would you like to ask the professor?

    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)

    Christmas cake is a tradition that (1) ____ back centuries, for people who celebrate the festive season. The vast majority of those who enjoy a slice of their favourite seasonal (2) ____ are unaware that there is a science behind its slicing. Dr Chris Budd, a professor of (3) ____ mathematics and geometry at two UK universities, tested several hypotheses on the optimal way to cut a Christmas cake into slices. He focused (4) ____ how to dissect the cake while leaving the exposed insides as (5) ____ as possible. His solution was to cut the cake across the middle, leaving two semicircles, then cut slices and push the remaining (6) ____ together. He said: "It works." However, perhaps he would admit that it isn't exactly rocket science.

    According to Wikipedia, Christmas cake is an English tradition that began as plum porridge. The plums later (7) ____ way to raisins, sultanas, orange rind and other dried fruit. The fruit is often (8) ____ in rum or brandy. It is quite common for the fruity loaf part of the cake to be covered in a layer of marzipan, and then the top and sides to be (9) ____ in icing. The icing is a hardened, white sugar coating that can be over a centimetre thick. The top of the cake is usually decorated with an (10) ____ of Christmassy symbols like fir trees or snowmen and women. Christmas cakes (11) ____ around the world. In Sri Lanka, they are full of treacle and spices. In Japan, they are simple sponge cakes with (12) ____ cream and strawberries.

    Which of these words go in the above text?

    (a)     ages     (b)     years     (c)     previous     (d)     dates    
    (a)     throat     (b)     threat     (c)     test     (d)     treat    
    (a)     applicable     (b)     applied     (c)     appliance     (d)     apply    
    (a)     in     (b)     an     (c)     on     (d)     at    
    (a)     misty     (b)     mast     (c)     moist     (d)     most    
    (a)     halves     (b)     half     (c)     halving     (d)     haves    
    (a)     did     (b)     gave     (c)     took     (d)     did    
    (a)     soaked     (b)     poked     (c)     coked     (d)     locked    
    (a)     jacketed     (b)     coated     (c)     vested     (d)     shirted    
    (a)     alloy     (b)     awry     (c)     array     (d)     airy    
    (a)     wary     (b)     nary     (c)     vary     (d)     awry    
    (a)     thrashed     (b)     flogged     (c)     lashed     (d)     whipped

    Spelling

    Paragraph 1

    1. a tradition that dates back tieeucnsr
    2. people who celebrate the ftvesie season
    3. a professor of dlpapie mathematics
    4. tested several tposehhyse
    5. leaving two clrsimeiecs
    6. push the iniamnerg halves together

    Paragraph 2

    1. plum idreopgr
    2. The fruit is often dkeosa in rum
    3. a layer of mrpzaian
    4. The top of the cake is usually recotdade
    5. an array of shsisCtryma symbols
    6. they are full of retecla and spices

    Put the text back together

    (...)  According to Wikipedia, Christmas cake is an English tradition that began as plum porridge. The plums later gave
    (...)  unaware that there is a science behind its slicing. Dr Chris Budd, a professor of applied
    (...)  way to raisins, sultanas, orange rind and other dried fruit. The fruit is often soaked in rum or brandy. It is quite common
    (...)  and spices. In Japan, they are simple sponge cakes with whipped cream and strawberries.
    (...)  insides as moist as possible. His solution was to cut the cake across the middle, leaving two semicircles, then cut slices and push the
    1  ) Christmas cake is a tradition that dates back centuries, for people who celebrate the festive
    (...)  be coated in icing. The icing is a hardened, white sugar coating that can be over a centimetre thick. The top
    (...)  remaining halves together. He said: "It works." However, perhaps he would admit that it isn't exactly rocket science.
    (...)  of the cake is usually decorated with an array of Christmassy symbols like fir trees or snowmen
    (...)  way to cut a Christmas cake into slices. He focused on how to dissect the cake while leaving the exposed
    (...)  season. The vast majority of those who enjoy a slice of their favourite seasonal treat are
    (...)  for the fruity loaf part of the cake to be covered in a layer of marzipan, and then the top and sides to
    (...)  mathematics and geometry at two UK universities, tested several hypotheses on the optimal
    (...)  and women. Christmas cakes vary around the world. In Sri Lanka, they are full of treacle

    Put the words in the right order

    1. is   tradition   back   a   dating   centuries   .   Christmas   cake
    2. who   it   .   The   of   those   enjoy   vast   majority
    3. slicing   .   its   that   Unaware   there   science   is   behind
    4. cut   way   the   Hypotheses   to   optimal   on   it   .
    5. rocket   it   He   isn't   would   exactly   science   .   admit
    6. that   porridge   .   English   tradition   began   An   as   plum
    7. coating   Sugar   be   a   can   that   centimetre   thick   .
    8. of   an   array   with   Christmassy   Decorated   symbols   .
    9. full   Lanka   they   treacle   .   are   Sri   In   of
    10. with   simple   are   They   cakes   whipped   sponge   cream   .

    Circle the correct word (20 pairs)

    Christmas cake is a tradition that dates / dating back centuries, for people who celebrate the festive season. The vast / past majority of those who enjoy a slice of their favourite seasonal threat / treat are unaware that there is a science behind / beyond its slicing. Dr Chris Budd, a professor of apply / applied mathematics and geometry at two UK universities, tested several hypotheses / hypothesis on the optimal way to cut a Christmas cake into slices. He focused on how to digest / dissect the cake while leaving the exposed insides as moist / moisture as possible. His solution was to cut the cake across the middle, leaving two semicircles, then cut slices and push the remaining / remainder halves together. He said: "It works." However, perhaps he would admit that it isn't exactly / exact rocket science.

    According to Wikipedia, Christmas cake is an English traditional / tradition that began as plum porridge. The plums later take / gave way to raisins, sultanas, orange rind and other drying / dried fruit. The fruit is often soaked in rum or brandy. It is quite commonly / common for the fruity loaf part of the cake to be covered in a layer on / of marzipan, and then the top and sides to be coated in icing. The icing is a hardy / hardened, white sugar coating that can be over a centimetre thick. The top of the cake is usual / usually decorated with an array of Christmassy symbols / symbolic like fir trees or snowmen and women. Christmas cakes vary / very around the world. In Sri Lanka, they are full of treacle and spices. In Japan, they are simple sponge cakes with whipped / whooped cream and strawberries.

    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)

    Chr_stm_s  c_k_  _s  _  tr_d_t__n  th_t  d_t_s  b_ck  c_nt_r__s,  f_r  p__pl_  wh_  c_l_br_t_  th_  f_st_v_  s__s_n.  Th_  v_st  m_j_r_ty  _f  th_s_  wh_  _nj_y  _  sl_c_  _f  th__r  f_v__r_t_  s__s_n_l  tr__t  _r_  _n_w_r_  th_t  th_r_  _s  _  sc__nc_  b_h_nd  _ts  sl_c_ng.  Dr  Chr_s  B_dd,  _  pr_f_ss_r  _f  _ppl__d  m_th_m_t_cs  _nd  g__m_try  _t  tw_  _K  _n_v_rs_t__s,  t_st_d  s_v_r_l  hyp_th_s_s  _n  th_  _pt_m_l  w_y  t_  c_t  _  Chr_stm_s  c_k_  _nt_  sl_c_s.  H_  f_c_s_d  _n  h_w  t_  d_ss_ct  th_  c_k_  wh_l_  l__v_ng  th_  _xp_s_d  _ns_d_s  _s  m__st  _s  p_ss_bl_.  H_s  s_l_t__n  w_s  t_  c_t  th_  c_k_ _cr_ss  th_  m_ddl_,  l__v_ng  tw_  s_m_c_rcl_s,  th_n  c_t  sl_c_s  _nd  p_sh  th_  r_m__n_ng  h_lv_s  t_g_th_r.  H_  s__d:  "_t  w_rks."  H_w_v_r,  p_rh_ps  h_  w__ld  _dm_t  th_t  _t  _sn't  _x_ctly  r_ck_t  sc__nc_.

    _cc_rd_ng  t_  W_k_p_d__,  Chr_stm_s  c_k_  _s  _n  _ngl_sh  tr_d_t__n  th_t  b_g_n  _s  pl_m  p_rr_dg_.  Th_  pl_ms  l_t_r  g_v_  w_y  t_  r__s_ns,  s_lt_n_s,  _r_ng_  r_nd  _nd  _th_r  dr__d  fr__t.  Th_  fr__t  _s  _ft_n  s__k_d  _n  r_m  _r  br_ndy.  _t  _s  q__t_  c_mm_n  f_r  th_  fr__ty  l__f  p_rt  _f  th_  c_k_  t_  b_  c_v_r_d  _n  _  l_y_r  _f  m_rz_p_n,  _nd  th_n  th_  t_p  _nd  s_d_s  t_  b_  c__t_d  _n  _c_ng.  Th_  _c_ng  _s  _  h_rd_n_d,  wh_t_  s_g_r  c__t_ng  th_t  c_n  b_  _v_r  _  c_nt_m_tr_  th_ck.  Th_  t_p  _f  th_  c_k_  _s  _s__lly  d_c_r_t_d  w_th  _n  _rr_y  _f  Chr_stm_ssy  symb_ls  l_k_  f_r  tr__s  _r  sn_wm_n  _nd  w_m_n.  Chr_stm_s  c_k_s  v_ry  _r__nd  th_  w_rld.  _n  Sr_  L_nk_,  th_y  _r_  f_ll  _f  tr__cl_  _nd  sp_c_s.  _n  J_p_n,  th_y  _r_  s_mpl_  sp_ng_  c_k_s  w_th  wh_pp_d  cr__m  _nd  str_wb_rr__s.

    Punctuate the text and add capitals

    christmas cake is a tradition that dates back centuries for people who celebrate the festive season the vast majority of those who enjoy a slice of their favourite seasonal treat are unaware that there is a science behind its slicing dr chris budd a professor of applied mathematics and geometry at two uk universities tested several hypotheses on the optimal way to cut a christmas cake into slices he focused on how to dissect the cake while leaving the exposed insides as moist as possible his solution was to cut the cake across the middle leaving two semicircles then cut slices and push the remaining halves together he said it works however perhaps he would admit that it isnt exactly rocket science

    according to wikipedia christmas cake is an english tradition that began as plum porridge the plums later gave way to raisins sultanas orange rind and other dried fruit the fruit is often soaked in rum or brandy it is quite common for the fruity loaf part of the cake to be covered in a layer of marzipan and then the top and sides to be coated in icing the icing is a hardened white sugar coating that can be over a centimetre thick the top of the cake is usually decorated with an array of christmassy symbols like fir trees or snowmen and women christmas cakes vary around the world in sri lanka they are full of treacle and spices in japan they are simple sponge cakes with whipped cream and strawberries

    Put a slash (/) where the spaces are

    Christmascakeisatraditionthatdatesbackcenturies,forpeoplewhocel
    ebratethefestiveseason.Thevastmajorityofthosewhoenjoyasliceoft
    heirfavouriteseasonaltreatareunawarethatthereisasciencebehindits
    slicing.DrChrisBudd,aprofessorofappliedmathematicsandgeometry
    attwoUKuniversities,testedseveralhypothesesontheoptimalwaytoc
    utaChristmascakeintoslices.Hefocusedonhowtodissectthecakewhil
    eleavingtheexposedinsidesasmoistaspossible.Hissolutionwastocutt
    hecakeacrossthemiddle,leavingtwosemicircles,thencutslicesandpu
    shtheremaininghalvestogether.Hesaid:"Itworks."However,perhaps
    hewouldadmitthatitisn'texactlyrocketscience.AccordingtoWikipedia
    ,ChristmascakeisanEnglishtraditionthatbeganasplumporridge.Thep
    lumslatergavewaytoraisins,sultanas,orangerindandotherdriedfruit.
    Thefruitisoftensoakedinrumorbrandy.Itisquitecommonforthefruityl
    oafpartofthecaketobecoveredinalayerofmarzipan,andthenthetopan
    dsidestobecoatedinicing.Theicingisahardened,whitesugarcoatingth
    atcanbeoveracentimetrethick.Thetopofthecakeisusuallydecorated
    withanarrayofChristmassysymbolslikefirtreesorsnowmenandwome
    n.Christmascakesvaryaroundtheworld.InSriLanka,theyarefulloftre
    acleandspices.InJapan,theyaresimplespongecakeswithwhippedcre
    amandstrawberries.

    Free writing

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

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    Academic writing

    It is OK to eat Christmas cake every day of the year. 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. CHRISTMAS CAKE: Make a poster about Christmas cake. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?
    4. ALL YEAR: Write a magazine article about having Christmas cake available every day of the year. 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 Christmas cake. Ask him/her three questions about it. Give him/her three of your opinions on cake. 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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