“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
“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.’
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.
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.”
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.
II. While Reading Activities
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.
- The puppies had been cloned from cells taken from Ms. Streisand’s late dog Samantha.
- It was basically an aside.
- Ms. Streisand revealed that two of her three Coton de Tulear dogs were clones.
- The possibility of cloning dogs intrigues many owners.
- You do not have to be an incredibly famous and highly acclaimed actor.
- The older dog served as the surrogate mother.
- It was reported that cloned animals aren’t exact replicas of original dogs.
- Cats and dogs delivered by cloning have the same genes as their donor pets.
- There is strong potential for miscarriages.
- A California company made plans to auction off chances to clone five dogs.
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.
- Do you have a favorite pet? If so is cloning your pet something you’d consider? Explain why or why not.
- Other than cloning pets, what other reasons are there for cloning animals?
- In your opinion, what are some advantages and disadvantages of cloning?
- Who was Dolly the sheep? Why is she famous?
- Are there any questions your group would like to ask Ms. Streisand?
- 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.