Category Archives: Animals

EPA Finding Alternatives to Animal Testing

“The E.P.A. aims to reduce the amount of studies that involve mammal testing by 30 percent by 2025. The move was hailed by animal rights groups, but some researchers said it pushed the agency too quickly into uncharted territory.” M. Zaveri, M. Padilla and J. Peiser, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

photo-Fox29.com

Excerpt: E.P.A. Says It Will Drastically Reduce Animal Testing By M. Zaveri, M. Padilla and J. Peiser, The New York Times

“The Environmental Protection Agency said on Tuesday that it would move away from requiring the testing of potentially harmful chemicals on animals, a decision that was hailed by animal rights groups but criticized by environmentalists and researchers who said the practice was necessary to rigorously safeguard human health.

The E.P.A. Administrator Andrew Wheeler said the agency plans to reduce the amount of studies that involve mammal testing by 30 percent by 2025, and to eliminate the studies entirely by 2035, though some may still be approved on a case-by-case basis.

The agency said it would also invest $4.25 million in projects at four universities and a medical centerthat are developing alternate ways of testing chemicals that do not involve animals. ‘We can protect human health and the environment by using cutting-edge, ethically sound science in our decision-making that efficiently and cost-effectively evaluates potential effects without animal testing,’ Mr. Wheeler said in a memo announcing the changes.

Reducing animal testing-PETA

The E.P.A. has for decades required testing on a variety of animals — including rats, dogs, birds and fish — to gauge their toxicity before the chemicals can be bought, sold or used in the environment…The practice of testing with animals has long prompted complex debates driven by passionate views on morality and scientific imperative. Reaction to Tuesday’s announcement was no different…Kathleen Conlee, the vice president of animal research issues at the Humane Society, said the E.P.A.’s move is ‘broad-sweeping and significant.’

‘This is the first time a government agency has made such a commitment and time lined its specific goals along the way,’ Ms. Conlee said. ‘There’s been a lot of positive action among other federal agencies, but we want to see all government agencies take this step.’ Various government agencies, like the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health, have also been looking to reduce, refine and replace animal testing.

E.P.A. chief directs agency to reduce animal testing. Washington Post

But the F.D.A., which still uses animal testing to a certain extent, does not plan on instituting further cutbacks in light of the E.P.A.’s announcement… Tara Rabin, an F.D.A. spokeswoman, said in a statement. ‘Without the use of animals, it would be impossible to gain some of the important knowledge needed to prevent human and animal suffering for many life-threatening diseases.’

The F.D.A. has been experimenting with alternatives to animal testing for several years. Last year the department proposed a study that would eliminate the use of dogs for testing and ended its use of squirrel monkeys for a nicotine study.

One innovation, which has shown promising results, is a computer microchip lined with living human cells called “Organs-on-Chips.” The device mimics the functions of human organs, allowing researchers to study molecular and cellular function.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

Directions:  Ask students to examine the title of the post and of the actual article they are about to read. Then, have them  examine the photos. Ask students to write a paragraph describing what they think this article will discuss. Students can use a Pre-reading organizer for assistance.

Pre-reading chart by J. Swann

 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. The E.P.A. said the agency plans to reduce the amount of studies that involve mammal testing by 30 percent.
  2. We can protect human health and the environment by using cutting-edge, ethically sound science.
  3. Mr. Wheeler  sent a memo announcing the changes.
  4. The agency could not immediately provide a breakdown of how many of its tests involve mammals.
  5. Many debates on the topic are driven by passionate views on morality and scientific imperative.
  6. The alternatives are more efficient and save lives.
  7. Animal testing is a process that has been honed over decades.
  8. The testing is to gauge chemicals’ impacts on people of various backgrounds.
  9. The F.D.A. still uses animal testing to a certain extent, and does not plan on further cutbacks.
  10. One innovation, which has shown promising results, is a computer microchip lined with living human cells.

ELLteaching 2.0 vocabulary chart

 

 Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical  error. Students are to identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.

I

  1. The agency said it would also invest $4.25 million.
  2. They are developing alternate way of testing chemicals.
  3. The E.P.A. could not provide a breakdown of how many of its tests involve mammals.

II

  1. Animal testing help manufacturers.
  2. The tests are typically conducted by outside parties.
  3. The alternatives are the future.

III

  1. Some think that we should be investing more in this research.
  2. There’s been a lot of positive action among other federal agencies.
  3. The F.D.A. still uses animal testing on a certain extent.

 

Reading Comprehension

True /False/NA-Statements 

Directions: Review the following statements from the reading.  If  a statement is true they mark it T. If the statement is  not applicable, they mark it NA. If the statement is false they  mark  it F and provide the correct answer. 

  1. According to the article, the E.P.A. aims to increase  the amount of studies that involve mammal testing.
  2. This is the first time a government agency has made such a commitment.
  3. Tracey Woodruff is a professor at the University of Boston.
  4. This decision was supported by environmentalists and researchers.
  5. The agency said it would also invest $ 1 million in developing alternate ways of testing chemicals that do not involve animals.
  6. Andrew Wheeler is the E.P.A. Administrator.
  7. Many zoos will benefit from this decision.
  8. The E.P.A. has for decades required testing on a variety of animals — including rats, dogs, birds and fish.
  9. Animal testing helps manufacturers prove to the general public  that their chemicals meet federal safety standards.
  10. The F.D.A. has been experimenting with alternatives to animal testing for several years.

 

III. Post Reading Activities

Who Said That?  Identifying  Speakers from the Article

Directions: Place students in groups. Hand out the following quotes from speakers in the article. Members are to identify the speakers from the article. The first group to correctlyidentify all of the speakers wins.

  1. “I definitely think we should be investing more in this research,” referring to alternative testing.
  2. “While the F.D.A. is committed to doing all that it can to reduce the reliance on animal-based studies, there are still many areas where animal research is necessary,”
  3. “We are really excited as this has been something we’ve wanted for quite some time.”
  4. “We can protect human health and the environment by using cutting-edge, ethically sound science in our decision-making that efficiently and cost-effectively evaluates potential effects without animal testing,”
  5. “This is the first time a government agency has made such a commitment and time-lined its specific goals along the way.”

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups and have them discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

  1. The article states, “The Environmental Protection Agency said on Tuesday that it would move away from requiring the testing of potentially harmful chemicals on animals, a decision that was hailed by animal rights groups but criticized by environmentalists and researchers who said the practice was necessary to rigorously safeguard human health.”  Do you  agree with the E.P.A. that moving away from using animals for testing is the right move to make?  Or  Do you think that testing harmful chemical on animals is necessary to protect human lives? 
  2. Tara Rabin, an F.D.A. spokeswoman, said in a statement, ‘Without the use of animals, it would be impossible to gain some of the important knowledge needed to prevent human and animal suffering for many life-threatening diseases.’ Do you think that there are certain times when animal testing is necessary? Explain your answer.

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down three new ideas they’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things they did not understand in the reading, and one thing they would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.

Extra Activity:

Main Idea / Debate

Directions: Divide students into  two teams for this debate. Both teams can use the article as their source of information or sources from the Web.

Team A will list five reasons for Animal testing.

Team B will list  five reasons against Animal testing.

Each team will have time to state their points of view,  and the teacher decides which team made their points.  

For organization, have students use this great Pros and Cons Scale organizer  from Freeology.

Pros and Cons Chart

 

ANSWER KEY

Category: Animals, Science

Green Chimneys: Where Animals Teach Children

“Eight-year-old Xander DeLeon could not have been more surprised…There were camels, a gigantic wingless emu, peacocks, miniature horses and donkeys as well as every conceivable breed of farm animal housed in the barns, cages and outdoor enclosures that dotted the campus of what might be his new school.” R.  Schiffman, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Xander right, and Catherine feed one of the farm’s pigs. Credti- D. Rios, NYT

Excerpt: Where Camels, Goats and Pigs Do the Teaching, By Richard Schiffman, The New York Times

“For his mother, Leslie DeLeon, that first visit to Green Chimneys, a school for special-needs children located on a former dairy farm outside in Putnam County, N.Y., seemed the answer to her prayers. He was like, ‘Oh, I can watch the chickens lay their eggs and sit on them,’ she recalled. ‘I was crying, because I knew that I had finally found the right place for my son.’

Before coming to Green Chimneys, Xander, who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and dyslexia, felt overwhelmed at school. He would throw tantrums and often simply walk out of class at the Manhattan charter school that he attended. By 10 a.m. most mornings, the school would call Ms. DeLeon, a public-school teacher in Washington Heights, to ask her to pick up her son.

Now at Green Chimneys, Xander is getting A’s and B’s. ‘The school staff tell him that he won’t be able to work on the farm if he doesn’t continue to do well in school,’ Ms. DeLeon said. The prospect of being separated from his beloved goats has motivated Xander in ways his traditional school never could.

The Green Chimneys School for Little Folk was opened in 1948 by an animal-loving educator and philanthropist named Samuel B. Ross Jr. He pioneered the idea that emotionally challenged children could gain confidence and become socially adept by caring for animals…Yet psychologists have been slow to translate these insights into effective strategies for helping people in a therapeutic setting… ‘When you have traditional training as a psychologist, you never think about doing anything outside of the office,’ Dr. Klee [director of clinical and medical services at Green Chimneys] said.

For a fearful child, Dr. Klee has found that interacting with an animal can be a first step to relating successfully with others. Perhaps surprisingly, this kind of interaction works even with the least outdoorsy city kids. Most come from New York suburbs, and around 10 percent are from the city itself.

From left, camels Phoenix and Sage. Credit D. Rios for The New York Times

Public schools seem to be at their capacity in their ability to help children with special needs. Demand for programs like Green Chimneys has never been greater, she said, especially in New York City, when limits on reimbursing privately run schools for such services was lifted by the de Blasio administration in 2014.

With a staff-to-student ratio of 4 to 1 on the main campus and a level of individualized care that few schools can offer, Green Chimneys has become a beacon for children who are unable to function in a traditional school environment.

Every year there are about 1,000 referrals to Green Chimneys; last year, only 95 new students were admitted. It is also expensive. Tuition is $50,000 a year for day students, and considerably more for those who board. The school is partly funded by the New York State Education Department, which has licensed it to serve students from kindergarten through high school.

Once they are admitted, most students are eligible for the ‘Learn and Earn’ program, where they are assigned chores on the farm, working with the animals or tending garden plots in exchange for a small stipend.

Xander’s job is to feed the goats and clean their pens. ‘This is Snowflake, my favorite’ he said pointing to a cream-colored Saanen goat that had come to the gate to greet him. Not every child flourishes at the school. Those with severe learning disabilities and behavioral problems may struggle, and the average stay (two and a half years) is not always long enough to affect permanent changes in children.”

 

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions:  Have students  examine the titles of the post and of the actual article. After they examine the photos, ask students to create a list of  words and  ideas  that they think might be related to this article. 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. DeLeon could not have been more surprised if he had walked up the gangplank into Noah’s ark.
  2. There were camels in pasture, a gigantic wingless emu, and shrieking peacocks on the dirt paths.
  3. Green Chimneys, a school for special-needs children.
  4. Xander has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and dyslexia.
  5. He would throw tantrums and often simply walk out of class.
  6. Samuel B. Ross Jr. is a philanthropist who loves animals.
  7. Dr. Klee himself was skeptical that animals could be a part of therapy.
  8. Some students initially resisted the school.
  9. Many schools offer some kind of therapeutic program incorporating animals.
  10. Green Chimneys remains in the vanguard.

ELLteaching 2.0 vocabulary chart

 

Grammar Focus: Word -Recognition

Directions: Students choose the correct word to complete the sentences taken from the article. They are to choose from the options presented.

Dr. Morris and his/him team has/have been conducting research in/at Green Chimneys as part of/on an/a ongoing study into animal therapy. The researchers has/have installed cameras in/on the classrooms that record classes on/in a daily basis. They analyze the children’s/childrens behavior before and after they have been in/on the farm.

Reading Comprehension

Fill-ins

Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentences taken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.

Animal-assisted ___ is no longer___to Green Chimneys. Several ___in New York state, like the Orchard School, run by the nonprofit ___in Yonkers, and The Charlton School for___ in Burnt Hills, near ___ offer some kind of ___program incorporating animals.

WORD LIST: therapeutic, Schenectady, girls, Andrus, schools, unique, therapy,

Post Reading Activities

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups and have them discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

  1. With your  group members list at least four  ways in which the Green Chimneys school helps children with special needs.
  2. Can you think of additonal ways the school could help special needs children?
  3. Have you ever visited a school like Green Chimney?  If yes, please describe your  experience.

 

Additional Activites

If possible have groups visit schools or areas where animals are available to the public.

Students can create  pictures, or collages, to show their understanding of  how schools such as Green Chimney operate.

 

1-Minute Free Writing Exercise

Directions: Allow students 1 minute to write down one new idea they’ve learned from the reading. Ask them to write down one thing they did not understand in the reading.  Review the responses as a class. Note: For the lower levels allow more time for this writing activity.

ANSWER KEY

Barbra Streisand Cloned Her Beloved Dog Sammie for $50,000…See The Results!

“It was basically an aside — an odd and interesting nugget in an interview with Barbra Streisand that otherwise dealt with heavy topics like sexism and politics…But it was that one nugget — a brief comment about her dogs — that drew the most attention on Tuesday night.” M. Stevens, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post  with Answer Key

Barbra holding her beloved Samatha-5:30:17.

 

Excerpt: Barbra Streisand Cloned Her Dogs… By Matt Stevens, The New York Times

“In her interview with Variety, Ms. Streisand revealed that two of her three Coton de Tulear dogs were clones. Specifically, the magazine reported that the dogs — Miss Violet and Miss Scarlett — had been cloned from cells taken from the mouth and stomach of Ms. Streisand’s late dog Samantha, who was 14 when she died last year.

Miss Violet and Miss Scarlett ‘have different personalities,’ Ms. Streisand told Variety. ‘I’m waiting for them to get older so I can see if they have her brown eyes and her seriousness.’

Streisand’s three girls, Pink, Blue and Violet

Ms. Streisand’s third dog, Miss Fanny, is a distant cousin of Samantha’s, the magazine said. (Miss Fanny’s mother, the story noted, had been named Funny Girl.)

Even if you are not a close follower of clones, you may recall Dolly the Sheep, who was born in 1996. Since then, researchers have cloned about two dozen other mammal species, including cattle, deer, horses, rabbits, cats, rats — and yes, dogs.

South Korean researchers announced that they had cloned a dog for the first time in 2005, after almost three years of work and more than 1,000 eggs.

By 2008, a California company had partnered with a South Korean laboratory and made plans to auction off chances to clone five dogs. Later that year, The New York Times reported that the first three puppies from the group had been born in South Korea.

Barbra Streisand revealed in an interview that two of her three Coton de Tulears had been cloned. CreditRussell James for Variety

Two 2015 reports — from Business Insider and NPR — detail the work of Sooam Biotech, a lab in South Korea, and said the lab, on its own, had cloned more than 600 dogs.

Both articles say Sooam Biotech charged about $100,000 to attempt the process. ViaGen Pets, a company based in Texas, says it charges $50,000 for the cloning or $1,600 to merely preserve your pet’s genes.

It was not clear which company Ms. Streisand used to create her clones. A publicist for Ms. Streisand did not immediately respond to an email or phone message on Tuesday night.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

Stimulating background knowledge: Brainstorming

Directions: Place students in groups, ask students to think about what they already know about  the topic.  Next, have students look at the pictures in the text and generate ideas or words that may be connected to the article.  Regroup as a class and list these ideas on the board. Students can use a brainstorming chart for assistance.

Brainstorming chart by UIE copy

 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. The puppies had been cloned from cells taken from Ms. Streisand’s late dog Samantha.
  2. It was basically an aside.
  3. Ms. Streisand revealed that two of her three Coton de Tulear dogs were clones.
  4. The possibility of cloning dogs intrigues many owners.
  5. You do not have to be an incredibly famous and highly acclaimed actor.
  6. The older dog served as the surrogate mother.
  7. It was reported that cloned animals aren’t exact replicas of original dogs.
  8. Cats and dogs delivered by cloning have the same genes as their donor pets.
  9. There is strong potential for miscarriages.
  10. A California company made plans to auction off chances to clone five dogs.

Word Map by Against the Odds

 

Reading Comprehension: Fill-ins

Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentences  taken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.

Cats and ___delivered by___have the same___as their___ pets and will be the closest match possible to the___ ViaGen said on its website. This is best described as identical twins born at a later date. The___ does interact with ___to impact many traits such as ___and behavior, the company continued.

WORD LIST :  personality, genetics, environment, donor, genes, dogs, cloning, donor,

 

Grammar: Identifying English Articles

Directions: Have students choose the correct English articles (THE, A, AN)  from those provided to fill in the blanks.

“You do not have to be ___incredibly famous and highly acclaimed actor to have it done.

By 2008, ___California company had partnered with ___ South Korean laboratory.

Researchers at ___South Korean lab told ___ station that ___dogs it had cloned have been healthy — and had almost always looked and acted like ___dogs they were cloned from.”

III. Post Reading Activities

Discussion for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups and have them  discuss the following statements. Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

  1. Do you have a favorite pet? If so  is cloning your pet something you’d consider?  Explain why or why not.
  2. Other than cloning pets, what other reasons are there for cloning animals?
  3. In your opinion, what are some advantages and disadvantages of cloning?
  4. Who was Dolly the sheep? Why is she famous?
  5. Are there any questions your group would like to ask Ms. Streisand?
  6. Have groups search the web for additonal information about cloning.

1-Minute Free Writing Exercise

Directions: Allow students 1 minute to write down one new idea they’ve learned from the reading. Ask them to write down one thing they did not understand in the reading.  Review the responses as a class. Note: For the lower levels allow more time for this writing activity.

ANSWER KEY

Category: Actors, Animals | Tags:

Fiona the Bubbling Baby Hippo: A Happy Sight to Behold!

“At the entrance to the Cincinnati Zoo’s Africa exhibit every table in the place was packed: with schoolchildren in matching T-shirts, middle-aged tourists with giant S.L.R. cameras slung around their necks, and a mélange of zoo employees…The cafe is the closest eatery to the hippo tank, and therefore the closest to Fiona, the 10-month-old hippo who bounces around inside it.  Over the last year, Fiona has become something of an international cause célèbre, largely because of the efforts of Ms. Curley, the zoo’s communications director, and her four-person team, who started posting Fiona’s every move to social media from the day she was born on Jan. 24 (prematurely, and perilously, but more on that later).” R. Syme, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Fiona’s 2018 calendar photo.

Excerpt: Hooray for Fiona the Hippo, Our Bundle of Social-Media Joy, Rachel Syme, The NYT

“Fionamania has swept the country. Videos of her twirling around in the water, Rubenesque and graceful, rack up millions of views online. She photo-bombed a local couple’s engagement photo, and it wound up on ‘The Tonight Show.’ The popular Cincinnati ice cream purveyor Graeter’s made a ‘Chunky Chunky Hippo’ flavor over the summer — a toffee base with salted peanuts and caramel truffles — that sold out at the zoo every day it was available. A local T-shirt company, Cincy Shirts, screen-printed a small batch of tees with the words ‘Feeling Hip’ along with a cartoon rendering of Fiona in February, and has since shipped 30,000 Fiona-branded products (including tees, stickers, magnets and now Christmas sweaters featuring Fiona in a Santa hat) all over the world.

Fiona the baby hippo takes a walk. USA Today

Fiona starred in her own 7-episode reality show sponsored by Facebook. The zoo’s director, Thane Maynard, sold a children’s book called ‘Saving Fiona: The Story of the World’s Most Famous Baby Hippo’ to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, scheduled for the spring of 2018, with proceeds benefiting the animal’s care. The Cincinnati Reds are planning to have an official ‘Fiona Day’ at the ballpark next summer, complete with commemorative hippopotamus bobbleheads.

When Fiona was born, no one expected her to survive. Bibi, her lumbering, obstinate mother (‘Fiona gets all of her diva tendencies from her mom,’ said Christina Gorsuch, the curator for African mammals) gave birth six weeks early, and the baby weighed only 29 pounds. Most viable hippos weigh between 55 and 120 pounds at birth; premature infants rarely pull through. ‘In the first six weeks, there was at least once a week when we were sure she was going to die,’ said Ms. Gorsuch… She was kept in a newborn I.C.U., with round-the-clock care that included visits from local doctors from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital who located her tiny veins for an IV during a nasty bout of dehydration.

Overnight, Fiona became a symbol of resilience and positivity. Buzzfeed ran listicles of her bravest moments, calling her a ‘sassy, unbothered, unproblematic queen.’ NPR ran a national report on her swelling celebrity status. One website called her ‘The Only Good Thing Left in This World.’

People love a story where everything looks dark and then heroes save the day. Fiona came here in the year 2017, a year when we need a lot more good news. And there she is, our good-news emissary.’

Fiona with her adoring parents. CBS News

‘People tell us all the time that Fiona is something everyone can agree on,’ said Amy LaBarbara, the zoo’s coordinator for marketing and events. ‘We have heard from countless people online that Fiona has been uniting the United States. We hear from people going through chemo that tell us she is the only bright spot in their day.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions:  Have students  examine the titles of the post and of the actual article. After they examine the photos, ask students to create a list of  words and  ideas  that they think might be related to this article. 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. Every Formica table in the place was packed with schoolchildren.
  2. There was a mélange of zoo employees wearing branded fleeces and muddy boots.
  3. Fiona starred in her own reality show.
  4. Caring for a 500-pound baby can be exhausting.
  5. People needed ways to commemorate the special occasion.
  6. Fiona’s birth was documented on social media for the world to see.
  7. That’s when everyone knew that Fiona is really a rock star.
  8. Now  the zoo was getting asked at conferences about how they did it.
  9. Everyone is so invested now.
  10. Many of Fiona’s keepers insist that she courts and adores the attention.

 

Reading Comprehension

Fill-ins

Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following paragraph taken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.

Twitter ___have become ___with Fiona’s flatulence. She has___America’s Large ___Daughter, its___baby queen, its___diva with the skin___of a wet___.

WORD LIST: obsessed, avocado,texture, reigning, triumphant, become, fans, Adult,

Grammar Focus

Word -Recognition

Directions: Students are to chose the correct word or phrases from the article. This exercise reinforces students’ attention on words that have been introduced in the reading. Have them skim the article to check  their responses. Students should also find the meanings for all unknown words.

Scientists/science at the zone/zoo milked/milk a hippo for the first time — “we had no idea what was/why in hippo milk before now,” Ms. Gorsuch said — so that they could recreate/retrace the form/formula for Fiona’s bottles. Every day, between January and May 15, when Fiona finally was able to promenade/promote around the hippo tank for the public, seemed to bring a new heat/health crisis. All of this was documented on social media for the world to see.

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups  and  have each group compose a letter or note to a  person mentioned in the article telling her/him their thoughts on the topic. Share the letters as a class.

Extra: Web Search

Directions: In groups/partners have students search for the topic on the web and see what additional information they can find. Students can either have further discussions or write an essay about the subject.

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down three new ideas they’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things they did not understand in the reading, and one thing they would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.

ANSWER KEY

Category: Animals | Tags:

Jane Goodall was Right: Chimps Do Share Personality Traits With Humans

“In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Jane Goodall started attributing personalities to the chimpanzees she followed in Gombe National Park in what is now Tanzania. In her descriptions, some were more playful or aggressive, affectionate or nurturing. Many scientists at the time were horrified, she recalled… They contended she was inventing personality traits for animals…But time has borne out her insights. Chimpanzees in the wild have personalities similar to those in captivity, and both strongly overlap with traits that are familiar in humans, a new study published in Scientific Data confirms.”  K. Weintraub, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Jane and some of her chimps. NPR

Excerpt: Wild and Captive Chimpanzees Share Personality Traits With Humans By Karen Weintraub, the New York Times

“Dr. Goodall, now 83, said in a phone interview on Monday from her home in England that scientists thought ‘I was guilty of the worst kind of anthropomorphism.’ The new examination of chimpanzees at Gombe updates personality research conducted on 24 animals in 1973 to include more than 100 additional chimps that were evaluated a few years ago. The animals were individually assessed by graduate students in the earlier study, and in the latest by Tanzanian field assistants, on personality traits like agreeableness, extroversion, depression, aggression and self-control.

Jane Goodall Institute

Researchers used different questionnaires to assess the chimps’ traits in the two studies, but most of the personality types were consistent across the two studies. These traits seen among wild chimps matched ones seen among captive animals, the study found, and are similar to those described in people…Clive Wynne, a professor and director of the Canine Science Collaboratory at Arizona State University in Tempe, who was not involved in the research, said the new study offered a ‘really rich picture’ of the overlap among species. 

Jane and a baby

‘It’s backing up and reinforcing a number of things that we assume about animal personality that are seldom established with this degree of security in substantial wild-living populations,’ said Dr. Wynne, who concurs that dogs, his area of specialty, also have similar personality traits.

Jane Goodall-CBS News

Dr. Goodall said that fits what she’s seen, too. She only visits Gombe twice a year now, and only two animals are still alive from the days when she knew them as individuals. One, a mother of twins named Gremlin, has changed a bit, Dr. Goodall said… Dr. Goodall added that she’s pleased that researchers are still finding so much of interest at Gombe, and tapping into the expertise of Tanzanian field workers.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

KWL Chart

Directions: Have students use the KWL chart to list the information they already know about Jane Goodall.  Later in the Post- Reading segment of the lesson, students can fill in what they’ve learned about the topic.

I. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. Goodall started attributing personalities to the chimpanzees.
  2. Chimpanzees have the same personality traits like humans.
  3. During the early research many scientists at the time were horrified at Dr. Goodall’s statement.
  4. Dr. Goodall was accused of the worst kind of anthropomorphism.
  5. Researchers have found that many animals have very vivid personalities.
  6. The new examination of chimpanzees at Gombe updates personality research conducted on 24 animals.
  7. These findings were in line with previous research done by Goodall.
  8. She knew from childhood experiences with guinea pigs, and other pets that animals have personalities that are quite familiar.
  9. According to Dr. Goodall, the ape named Gremlin has become more confident as she gets older.
  10. Researchers used different questionnaires to assess the chimps’ traits.

Reading Comprehension

Fill-ins

Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentences  taken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.

Robert Latzman, an ___professor at Georgia State University, who was not___in the study, said his___with ___in___ has always left open the question of whether animals in the wild are somehow different… ‘The work in the ___how similar these ___truly are to humans.’

WORD LIST: animals, underscores, wild, zoos, chimpanzees, research, involved, associate,

Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical  error. Students are to identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.

I

  1. Many scientists at the time  did not agree with Goodall.
  2. Animals show the same traits as humans.
  3. The animals  was individually assessed.

 

II

  1. Researchers used different questionnaires to assess the chimps’ traits.
  2. According to Goodall,  animals have vivid personalities.
  3. Some say that dogs also has similar personality traits.

III

  1. Research in the wild underscores how similar these animals truly is to humans.
  2. Researchers still have interest  in the chimps at Gombe.
  3. Goodall only visits Gombe twice a year now.

 

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

KWL Chart

Directions:  Have students  fill in the last column of the KWL chart if they used one in the pre-reading segment of this lesson.

Discussion for Reading Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups Have each group list 3  questions they would like to ask any person mentioned in the article. Groups share questions as a class.

1-Minute Free Writing Exercise

Directions: Allow students 1 minute to write down one new idea they’ve learned from the reading. Ask them to write down one thing they did not understand in the reading.  Review the responses as a class. Note: For the lower levels allow more time for this writing activity.

ANSWER KEY

Category: Animals