Category Archives: Biology

Jane Goodall is 87 and Still A Crusader!

Image- janegoodall.org

“Wherever the story of our natural world ultimately lands, Jane Goodall will have earned a proud place in its telling.”D. Marchese, The New York Times, July 12, 2021

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Excerpt: Why Jane Goodall Still Has Hope for Us Humans, By David Marchese, The New York Times, July 12, 2021

Note: [The following is an interview with Ms. Jane Goodall conducted  by David Marchese, The New York Times]

“Goodall, 87, first found fame in the early 1960s for her paradigm-busting work as a primatologist. Studying the chimpanzees of Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania, she was the first to observe those entrancing animals eating meat and using tools, thus expanding our understanding of primate capabilities.

While that work is likely to remain what the public primarily associates her with, Goodall’s career as an activist is arguably her more important legacy. She has spent 44 years leading conservation efforts through her Jane Goodall Institute and seeding the future with like-minded souls via the Roots & Shoots educational programs for young people, which can be found in more than 60 countries and have nurtured millions of students.

Jane Goodall with a group of Roots & Shoots members in Salzburg, Austria. Credit- Jane Goodall Institute:Templeton Prize

DM: The stories you tell about the planet and conservation have to do with instilling hope…But all we have to do is look around to see the persuasiveness of stories built on fear and anger. Have you ever wondered if tapping into those emotions might be useful?

JG: No. It’s one of my big complaints when I talk to the media: Yes, we absolutely need to know all the doom and gloom because we are approaching a crossroads, and if we don’t take action it could be too late. But traveling the world I’d see so many projects of restoration, animal and plant species being rescued from the brink of extinction, people tackling what seemed impossible and not giving up. Those are the stories that should have equal time, because they’re what gives people hope. If you don’t have hope, why bother? Why should I bother to think about my ecological footprint if I don’t think that what I do is going to make a difference?

The Jane Goodall Institute

DM: Are there ideas you have about conservation that you feel are too radical to express publicly?

JG: Absolutely. I would never approach people about the crisis of the billions of animals in the factory farms and say you’ve got to be vegan. People have to change gradually. If you eat meat one less day a week, that’s the beginning. Bad zoos, you want to close them down, but you’ve got to work out what are we going to do with the animals when we do get it closed down. You have to make compromises… I don’t ever want to appear holier than thou. You’ve got to be reasonable. If you tell people, ‘You’ve got to stop doing that,’ they immediately don’t want to talk to you. The main thing is to keep a channel open. Young activists, sometimes they’re inexperienced and demand something. They ask my advice, and I say: Talk about how the issue is affecting you. How you feel about it. I think that’s the way forward. But that’s just my way.

DM: You mentioned zoos. Should they exist?

JG: Oh, yeah. The really good ones have people who understand the animals. They’ve got lovely enclosures. They do a lot of education, especially for children. They put money into conservation programs in the field. They give veterinary training for people caring for animals in captivity around the world. The other thing is, people think out in the wild is utopia for animals. If they’d seen the places I’ve seen, where you hear the chain saws approaching while snares are catching chimps and others are being shot. Then you watch a group of chimps in a good zoo: two or three males grooming, two females lying in the sun, the babies playing. You think, let me put myself in the position of a chimp: I’d rather be in a zoo. People often don’t think from the point of view of the animal.

Jane Goodall, pictured here with baby chimp. Image credit- The Jane Goodall Institute:Hugo van Lawick.

DM: This is maybe a goofy question, but did you ever personally identify with a chimp you studied?

JG: Nobody has asked me that before. The answer is no. There were chimps I liked a lot. Chimps I loved, I guess you could say. Chimps I totally disliked. [Goodall takes a photo down from the bookshelf behind her.] This one here, I’ll show him to you because he was very special. He was the first one to lose his fear of me.

DM: David Greybeard.

JG: Yes, David Greybeard.  He showed me tool-using, helped me get the trust of the others. [Goodall takes down another photo.] Then this one is Frodo. He was a bully. He attacked me several times, but not with a desire to hurt or kill, because otherwise I wouldn’t be here. He was just asserting his dominance.

I was always saying in my mind, Frodo, I know you’re dominant. You do not have to prove it. When he was young, other infants would be playing, and Frodo would join in, and the others would immediately stop because when Frodo joined in then the game would turn nasty, and he’d hurt somebody.

DM: There are obviously plenty of unanswered questions about primate behavior. In your mind, does the same apply to humans?

JG: You’re asking me, ‘Do you understand human nature?’ Definitely not. But I think there are people, for example strict materialists or religious fundamentalists, who have schematics that they feel afford them an understanding of all human behavior.

Religious fundamentalism is one of the strangest things. Religion has a bad name because of fundamentalism. But if you look at every major religion, the golden rule is the same: Do to others as you would have them do to you. These fundamentalists are not actually preaching about the fundamental principles of the religion that they are talking about. They’re educating young people to believe ridiculous things. At the beginning of Islam, nobody ever said that if you went and blew yourself up and killed lots of people, you’d go to heaven. Religion can be so damaging. When I think of our attitude to animals in Genesis, where man is told that he has ‘dominion’ over the birds and the fish and the animals and so on — the actual word, I’m told, is not dominion, it’s stewardship. Which is very different.

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 60 minutes.


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: Examine the titles of the post and of the actual article.  Examine any photos, then create a list of  words and  ideas  that you  and your group members think might be related to this article. 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

  1. Goodall first found fame in the early 1960s for her work as a primatologist.
  2. Studying the chimpanzees of Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania, she was the first to observe those animals using tools.
  3. Goodall is globally known as an activist.
  4. This is arguably her most important legacy.
  5. She has spent 44 years leading conservation efforts through her Jane Goodall Institute.
  6. Jane Goodall believes that we should be aware of all of the doom and gloom in the world.
  7. Traveling the world Jane has seen many projects of restoration.
  8. Many animal and plant species are being rescued from the brink of extinction.
  9. We should be aware of our ecological footprints.
  10. Some people have ideas about conservation that are too radical.

 

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.  Identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.

I

  1. We absolutely need to know all the doom and gloom.
  2. If you don’t have hope, why bother?
  3. People have to change gradually.

II

  1. Back in the 1970s I didn’t know about factory farms.
  2. Talk about how the issue is affecting you.
  3. people think out in the wild is utopia for animals.

III

  1. People often don’t think from the point of view of the animal.
  2. Chimps act on the spur of the moment.
  3. Chimps can be altruistic.

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.

This___, who, as per ___name for him, had ___facial hair, was the ___one she observed at___ eating meat and using___. He also was the___ to___contact with her, ___the way for others in his___to do the same.

WORD LIST:   group, paving,  initiate ,  first,   tools, Gombe,   first,  distinctive,   chimp

Goodall’s, 

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 Questions for Comprehension /Writing

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

  1. Why does Ms. Goodall feel it necessary for us to be aware of the ‘doom and gloom’ printed in the media?
  2. According to Ms. Goodall which stories in the media deserve more attention from us?
  3. What do people generally think about animals out in the wild?  What is the reality for these animals?
  4. Does Jane think chimps are evil?
  5. What is Goodall’s example of ‘evil’?
  6. Does Jane understand human nature?
  7. Do you understand human nature? Explain why or why not.
  8. Make a list of questions that you would like to ask Jane Goodall. Share them with the class.
  9. List three new ideas  that you’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things that you did not understand in the reading, and one thing you  would like to know that the article did not mention.  Share your responses with your class.

Additional Activities

The article states that, “Jane Goodall first found fame in the early 1960s for her paradigm-busting work as a primatologist. Studying the chimpanzees of Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania… While that work is likely to remain what the public primarily associates her with, Goodall’s career as an activist is arguably her more important legacy. She has spent 44 years leading conservation efforts through her Jane Goodall Institute and seeding the future with like-minded souls via the Roots & Shoots educational programs for young people.”

Directions:  Students (in groups) might research  Jane Goodall’s work with chimpanzees beginning with the Jane Goodall Institute website https://janegoodall.org/our-story/about-jane/

Next, students could visit Jane’s famous Roots and Shoots website https://www.rootsandshoots.org  which offers a variety of projects for students.

After, groups  can create graphs, pictures, collages, or models to demonstrate their understanding of Jane’s work with chimpanzees and with preserving our environment.

ANSWER KEY

Improving Our Wildlife Will Improve Our Lives

“Sweden’s announcement that it is to build a series of animal bridges is the latest in global efforts to help wildlife navigate busy roads.” The Guardian, Jan. 23, 2021

Reindeer viaducts in Sweden will keep herds safe from traffic as they roam in search of grazing. Photograph- Pawel Garski.:Alamy

 

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Excerpt: How creating wildlife crossings can help reindeer, bears – and even crabs, The Guardian, Jan. 2021

“Every April, Sweden’s main highway comes to a periodic standstill. Hundreds of reindeer overseen by indigenous Sami herders shuffle across the asphalt on the E4 as they begin their journey west to the mountains after a winter gorging on the lichen near the city of Umeå.

Red crabs on Christmas Island climb a bridge designed for their protection. Photograph- Chris Bray Photography:Swell Lodg

As Sweden’s main arterial road has become busier, the crossings have become increasingly fractious, especially if authorities do not arrive in time to close the road. Sometimes drivers try to overtake the reindeer as they cross – spooking the animals and causing long traffic jams as their Sami owners battle to regain control.

‘During difficult climate conditions, these lichen lands can be extra important for the reindeer,’ says Per Sandström, a landscape ecologist at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences who works as an intermediary between the Sami and authorities to improve the crossings.

A wildlife overpass in Banff national park, in the Canadian Rockies. Photograph- Ross MacDonald:Banff National Park

This week, Swedish authorities announced they would build up to a dozen “renoducts” (reindeer viaducts) to aid the crossings and allow reindeer herds to reach grazing more easily…The country’s 4,500 Sami herders and 250,000 reindeer have been hit hard by the climate crisis, battling forest fires in the summer and freezing rain in the winter that hides lichen below impenetrable sheets of ice…The renoducts are part of a growing number of wildlife bridges and underpasses around the world that aim to connect fractured habitats. On the Yucatán peninsula in Mexico, underpasses have been used to shield jaguars from traffic.

Mountain lions live in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Natural canopy bridges in the Peruvian Amazon have helped porcupines, monkeys and kinkajous pass over natural gas pipelines…To help save the mountain lion population from local extinction, an $87m (£63m) wildlife bridge is planned over the 101 highway north of LA, which would be the largest in the world… A 2014 study found that fencing off the road and installing wildlife passes had maintained high genetic diversity in black and grizzly bear populations…a big fall in roadkill along the highway, also significantly reducing human mortality from animal collision.”

Key Things to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines CDC (Centers for Disease Control)

 

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 60 minutes.


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.

Pre-reading

 Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

Directions: Examine the title of the post and of the actual article. Next examine  any photos. Write a paragraph describing what you think this article will discuss. A pre-reading organizer may be used.

Pre-reading Organizer By Scholastic

 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

  1. Every year hundreds of reindeer shuffle across the asphalt in Sweden.
  2. The reindeer are overseen by indigenous Sami herders.
  3. They begin their journey west to the mountains after a winter gorging on the lichen near the city of Umeå.
  4. Per Sandström is a landscape ecologist at the Swedish University of Agricultural.
  5. Sometimes drivers try to overtake the reindeer as they cross.
  6. During difficult climate conditions, these lichen lands can be extra important for the reindeer.
  7. Swedish authorities announced they would build up to a dozen “renoducts” (reindeer viaducts) to aid the crossings.
  8. It is hoped the crossings will allow herders to find fresh grazing lands and alleviate traffic jams.
  9. Natural canopy bridges in the Peruvian Amazon have helped porcupines and monkeys.
  10. The wildlife bridges help avert some of the billions of animal deaths that happen on the roads every year.

 

Grammar Focus: Identifying Prepositions

Directions: The following sentences are from the news article.For each sentence choose the correct preposition from the choices listed. Note that not all prepositions listed are in the article.

Some Prepositions: at,as, across, around,by, during,for, from, in, into,of, on,to, over,off, through, up,with, since,

It is hoped the crossings will allow herders___find fresh grazing lands and alleviate traffic jams, and also help moose and lynx ___move around the landscape. The country’s 4,500 Sami herders and 250,000 reindeer have been hit hard___the climate crisis, battling forest fires___the summer and freezing rain ___the winter that hides lichen ___impenetrable sheets ___ice… ___southern California, there have been signs ___inbreeding ___lions___ the Santa Monica Mountains because busy freeways around Los Angeles have isolated populations___ low genetic diversity.

 

Reading Comprehension: Identify The  Speakers

Directions: Read the following quotes from the speakers in the article. Then identify the speakers.

  1. “During difficult climate conditions, these lichen lands can be extra important for the reindeer.”
  2. “When habitat is isolated, we can have impact on individual animals where they might not be able to find water or food. We can also have impact on the genetic diversity of populations.”
  3. “We’re woefully behind the rest of the world. In Europe, it’s become second nature in some areas.”

III. Post Reading Activities

Graphic Organizers: Finding The Main Idea

Directions:  Have students use this advanced organizer from Write Design to assist them with  discussing  or writing about  the main idea and points from the article.

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

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

  1. Can you think of ways that climate change has affected our wild life in the U.S.?
  2. Why do the Sami herders have to take their reindeer across Sweden’s highway every April?
  3. What are renoducts and what purpose do they serve?
  4. What are some of the climate problems Sami herders have encountered?
  5. According to the article, which animals benefit from these crossings the most?
  6. What other countries have provided protection for their animals from heavy vehicle traffic?
  7. According to the article, approximately how many animal deaths occur on the roads every year world wide?
  8. Why has there been inbreeding among the lion population in the Santa Monica Mountains?
  9. How are humans protected by the animal bridges?
  10. Do you agree or disagree that more animal bridges should be built? Provide a reason for your answer.
  11. What new information have you learned from this article?

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

While Humans are Sheltered Wild Animals Are Free to Roam

“Goats in Wales; coyotes in San Francisco; rats, rats, everywhere: With much of the world staying home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, animals have ventured out where normally the presence of people would keep them away.” S. Garcia, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Goats are seen outside a church in Llandudno, Wales, on March 31, 2020.PHOTO- REUTERS

 

Even lions are enjoying the peace and quiet, a set of new photos from South Africa’s Kruger National Park shows. CNN

 

Excerpt: When Humans Are Sheltered in Place, Wild Animals Will Play, Sandra E. Garcia, The New York Times

“Under the cover of night, in their feathered, silken, cream-colored coats, they trotted into Llandudno, a seaside town in Wales.

On Thursday evening, a herd of Great Orme Kashmiri goats galloped through the desolate streets of the small town looking for food. Some goats got their fill from hedges, others climbed building walls.

‘They are very mischievous,‘ Andrew Stuart, a Llandudno resident who spotted the goats, said in an interview. ‘They seem a bit wary of humans, they wouldn’t go past me at one point and were very cautious.’

Luckily for the goats, there weren’t many humans around.

More than a billion people worldwide are staying at home under guidance from their governments, socially distancing themselves from one another to avoid the spread of the coronavirus, which has claimed over 43,000 lives globally, including 2,300 in Britain…But with the country under lockdown because of the coronavirus, the goats saw an opportunity to get a whiff of their neighboring town and hopped right to it. In the video Mr. Stuart recorded, the goats can be seen running down the middle of a street.

‘They were just racing through the town,’said Mr. Stuart, who called a nonemergency police line. ‘They are in town because it is so quiet, because hardly anyone is about.’

There is also hardly anyone outside in San Francisco — except for the coyotes.

A pack of sleeping coyotes in the middle of a usually busy San francisco-Sacremento Bee

A coyote relaxes in front of the Golden Gate Bridge – Mar 25, 2020 The Sacremento Bee

Residents in San Francisco have been under orders to practice social distancing for two weeks, leaving their homes only to buy groceries, go to pharmacies and participate in other essential tasks. The streets have been left to the coyotes, which seem to be venturing farther into the city because there are so few cars, according to Deb Campbell, a spokeswoman for San Francisco Animal Care and Control

A group of dolphins swim in the Mediterranean Sea at the Calanques National Park, off the coast of south-eastern France, on March 19, 2020.PHOTO- AFP

Social distancing has not increased wild animals’ populations, but it does seem to have changed their behavior in seeking new food sources, said Jim Fredericks, chief entomologist at the National Pest Management Association…Ever since Louisiana imposed a lockdown, causing restaurants to shut down, the rats in New Orleans are almost certainly wondering where the usual French Quarter crowds — and their trash — have gone.This moment of desperation for the rodents can become an opportunity for communities trying to control the pest population, since rats are more likely to be lured by traps and baits, Dr. Fredericks said.

A puma walks along a street during dawn in a neighbourhood before being captured and taken to a zoo in Santiago, Chile, on March 24, 2020.PHOTO- REUTERS

A wild deer roams in a deserted street during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown in the port city of Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, on March 31, 2020.PHOTO- AFP

Dr. Riegel and her team are taking advantage of that…New York City is known for its large population of already brazen rats, including the notorious Pizza Rat. There has not been a change in behavior from pests in the city, according to Katy Hansen, the spokeswoman for the Animal Care Centers of NYC…

Scopoli’s shearwater birds on the Mediterranean Sea at the Calanques National Park, with Marseille in the background, off the coast of south-eastern France, on March 19, 2020.PHOTO- AFP

But there is a possibility that with the absence of people, and their trash, New York rats become even more brazen in their search for food, as a gang of macaques did in Lopburi, Thailand, last month.

A woman watches monkeys as they search for food in front of her shop near Prang Sam Yod temple in Lopburi, Thailand, on March 17, 2020.PHOTO- REUTERS

The macaques are usually fed by tourists who visit the ancient city, but with an 85 percent drop in tourism, the monkeys became more aggressive in their search for food.

Spotted Malabar civet… A critically endangered mammal not seen until 1990 resurfaces for the first time in India during lockdown.

Squirrels roam undisturbed inside Solari Park, emptied due to the coronavirus emergency lockdown, in Milan, Italy, on March 29, 2020.PHOTO- EPA-EFE

Humans can easily forget that the cities and towns they call home and frequently visit are also home to wild animals, like the Great Orme goats.”

 

ADDITIONAL TEACHING SITES FOR STUDENTS

FUN GAMES TO LEARN ENGLISH (For young ESL Learners)

“The aim of this site is to provide a resource for students to practice English in an engaging and fun way. Other similar sites are more geared towards providing teachers with resources to give to their students, but the intention this site is to be a resource that language learners can use independently…The games are aimed at a relatively low level of English, with pretty much all the content being around elementary level. A lot of the vocabulary content would probably even be more introductory or pre-elementary level.” ~Owen Dwyer~

Owen Dwyer’s site for Kids

 

The English Club:

Learn English : ESL Games :”Try these fun vocabulary games for ESL learners to test your understanding of English words. All games have answers available.”

ALSO:

Coronavirus COVID-19 Vocabulary

https://www.englishclub.com/vocabulary/coronavirus-covid19.php?sb

“This glossary of terms related to coronaviruses and COVID-19 in particular is intended for learners of English though it may be of interest to a wider audience. In times of crisis, knowing and understanding the terminology involved may help alleviate some of the fears and even panic that such times breed.”

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.

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions: Examine the title of the post and the actual article.  Examine each of the photos, Describe what you see in the photo? Notice the background.What do you think the animals are wondering?

Next, create a list of  words and  ideas  that you  and your group members 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. The goats trotted into Llandudno, a seaside town in Wales.
  2. Some goats got their fill from hedges, others climbed building walls.
  3. They are very mischievous.
  4. People worldwide are staying at home under guidance from their governments.
  5. People are getting a glimpse of what animals do when they are left alone.
  6. The Great Orme goats’ descendants are wild animals that roam and forage in the large park.
  7. The goats saw an opportunity to get a whiff of their neighboring town.
  8. People should only go out to get groceries, go to pharmacies and participate in other essential tasks.
  9. In San Francisco, the streets have been left to the coyotes, which seem to be venturing farther into the city.
  10. Social distancing has not increased wild animals’ populations, but it does seem to have changed their behavior.

Whimsical Vocabulary Organizer by Danielle Mays

Grammar Focus:Identifying Prepositions

Directions: The following sentences are from the news article.For each sentence choose the correct preposition from the choices listed. Note that not all prepositions listed are in the article.

Some Prepositions: at,as, across, around,by, during,for, from, in, into,of, on,to, over,off, through, up,with, since,

Additional Prepositions:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_English_prepositions

Goats in Wales; coyotes___San Francisco… With much___the world staying home___prevent the spread___the coronavirus, animals have ventured out where normally the presence ___people would keep them away.

Under the cover___night,___their feathered, silken, cream-colored coats, they trotted ___Llandudno, a seaside town in Wales… The goats live ___Great Orme Country Park,___Conwy, Wales. They were a gift___Queen Victoria.

 

Reading Comprehension

Identify The  Speakers

Directions:  Hand out the following quotes from speakers in the article. Group members are to identify the speakers from the article.

  • “They seem a bit wary of humans, they wouldn’t go past me at one point and were very cautious.”
  • The streets have been left to the coyotes, which seem to be venturing farther into the city because there are so few cars.”
  • “What we are also seeing is that they are looking for food in places they had not before.”
  • “Animals are opportunistic and feed off trash… The restaurants [were] producing a lot of trash, and right now, a lot of that is just gone.”

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 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. According to the article what effects do less people in the cities have on the wild life?
  2. Are there any wild animals native to your area? Which ones?
  3. Have you seen more wild animals since people have been sheltered?  Which ones?
  4. In your opinion, do  the animals in the photos seem hostile, friendly or afraid? 
  5. Why would wild animals venture into cities when people are not present?
  6. According to Jim fredericks, what has changed in wild animals since humans have been sheltered?
  7. What are the residents in Louisiana going to do about the rat infestation?
  8. Unlike Louisiana what problem does New York City have with their rats?

 

Group Activity: Research and Writitng

Directions:  With group members Choose several wild animals (goats, coyotes, rats, turkeys etc.) and research the animal. Write a brief report on your animal. Provide information such as where did the animals originate, what is their normal diet, how do they act around people (think about the  monkeys in Thailand)

 

3-2-1-Writing

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

ANSWER KEY

“We Are Speeding Extinction And Altering the Natural World”

For a long time, people just thought of biodiversity as saving nature for its own sake,” said Robert Watson, chairman of the group that conducted the assessment. “But this report makes clear the links between biodiversity and nature and things like food security and clean water in both rich and poor countries.” B. Plumer, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Fishing nets and ropes are a frequent hazard for olive ridley sea turtles, seen on a beach in India’s Kerala state in January. Getty Images

 

Excerpt: Humans Are Speeding Extinction and Altering the Natural World at an ‘Unprecedented’ Pace, By Brad Plumer,

“Humans are transforming Earth’s natural landscapes so dramatically that as many as one million plant and animal species are now at risk of extinction, posing a dire threat to ecosystems that people all over the world depend on for their survival, a sweeping new United Nations assessment has concluded.

The Missouri River encroaches on homes in Sioux City, Iowa, during a 2011 flood Stocktrek Images: Media Bakery

The 1,500-page report, compiled by hundreds of international experts and based on thousands of scientific studies, is the most exhaustive look yet at the decline in biodiversity across the globe and the dangers that creates for human civilization.

A summary of its findings, which was approved by representatives from the United States and 131 other countries, was released Monday in Paris. The full report is set to be published this year.

Moe Flannery of the California Academy of Sciences inspected a dead gray whale in Tiburon, Calif., last month, one of seven whales that have washed up on shore. Huston Chronicle

Its conclusions are stark. In most major land habitats, from the savannas of Africa to the rain forests of South America, the average abundance of native plant and animal life has fallen by 20 percent or more, mainly over the past century. With the human population passing 7 billion, activities like farming, logging, poaching, fishing and mining are altering the natural world at a rate ‘unprecedented in human history.’

Cattle grazing on a tract of illegally cleared Amazon forest in Pará State, BrazilCreditLalo de Almeida for The New York Times.

At the same time, a new threat has emerged: Global warming has become a major driver of wildlife decline, the assessment found, by shifting or shrinking the local climates that many mammals, birds, insects, fish and plants evolved to survive in.

When combined with the other ways humans are damaging the environment, climate change is now pushing a growing number of species, such as the Bengal tiger, closer to extinction.

Volunteers collected trash in March in a mangrove forest in Brazil. MSN.com

As a result, biodiversity loss is projected to accelerate through 2050, particularly in the tropics, unless countries drastically step up their conservation efforts.

The report is not the first to paint a grim portrait of Earth’s ecosystems. But it goes further by detailing how closely human well-being is intertwined with the fate of other species.

Extinction is happening at 1,000 times the normal speed. Quartz

In the next two years, diplomats from around the world will gather for several meetings under the Convention on Biological Diversity, a global treaty, to discuss how they can step up their efforts at conservation. Yet even in the new report’s most optimistic scenario, through 2050 the world’s nations would only slow the decline of biodiversity — not stop it.”

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. Extinction is occurring at an unprecedented pace.
  2. As many as one million plant and animal species are at risk of extinction.
  3. The report is the most exhaustive look yet at the decline in biodiversity.
  4. A new threat has emerged, the decline of wildlife.
  5. Biodiversity loss is projected to accelerate through 2050.
  6. The report is not the first to paint a grim portrait of Earth’s ecosystems.
  7. As natural landscapes wither the services they provide to humans have been dwindling.
  8. The devastation of nature has become so severe, wildlife refuges will no longer be sufficient.
  9. All told, three-quarters of the world’s land area has been significantly altered by people.
  10. 85 percent of the world’s wetlands have vanished since the 18th century.

Word Map by Against the Oddstiff

 

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.

Humans/Human are produced/producing more food than ever, but land degradation is/are already harming/harmful agricultural productivity on 23 percent of the planet’s land area, the new/knew report said. The decline/declining of wild bees and other insects/insect that help pollinate fruits and vegetables is putting up to $577 billion in annual crop production at risk.

Reading Comprehension: Fill-ins

Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentencestaken 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.

The ___rain forest ___immense ___of carbon dioxide and helps slow the pace of ___warming. Wetlands ___drinking water. Coral reefs ___tourism and fisheries in the Caribbean. Exotic tropical___form the basis of a variety of medicines. But as these___ landscapes___ and become less biologically rich, the services they can provide to ___have been dwindling.

WORD LIST: absorbs, sustain, quantities, plants, humans, Amazon, natural, wither, global, purify.

 

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. According to the article, what activities have increased global biodiversity loss?
  2. Why could it become harder in the future to breed hardier crops and livestock?
  3. The article states that, “in addition to advocating the expansion of protected areas, the authors outline a vast array of changes aimed at limiting the drivers of biodiversity loss.” What will the following groups of people have to learn to do?  Farmers and ranchers; Consumers in wealthy countries;  Governments around the world.

Group Projects

Directions: Have groups visit the  Earth Day Network and do the following:

Make a list of ways each endangered species might be saved.

Create a list of things we can all do to help the environment.

Create  collages, graphs or pictures of endangered species.

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

“Dynamic Duos: Why Science Loves Twins”

“One of the broadest studies of twins in the United States suggests that our genes tend to influence the diseases that afflict us more than where we live, according to research published Monday in the journal Nature Genetics.” M. Nedelman, CNN

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Astronaut twins Mark (l) and twin Scott Kelly (r)-were subjects of experiments. NASA

Excerpt: Why science loves twins, M.Nedelman, CNN

“Using insurance claims data, researchers identified more than 56,000 pairs of twins and estimated the heritability of 560 diseases, finding that nearly a third of the variation in these conditions could be attributed to genetics, on average. Where people grew up was less contributory on the whole…’The relationship between genetics and environment in disease is incredibly nuanced,’ said study author Chirag Patel, assistant professor of biomedical informatics at Harvard Medical School.

Scott Kelly (left) spent a year in space while his identical twin Mark (right) stayed on Earth as a control subject. Photo- NASA

Of the diseases the researchers looked at, 40% had a significant genetic component, and about 25% had an environmental one — though the strength of that relationship could be different for any given disease. For example, morbid obesity was found to be strongly influenced by genetics and the environment, Patel said.

‘You get people who are very deterministic, who say ‘it’s genes’ or ‘it’s environment.’ This shows it’s a mixture,’ said Jeffrey M. Craig, associate professor at the Deakin University School of Medicine and deputy director of Twins Research Australia. Craig was not involved in the new study.

Twin Plus Festival-Melbourne.weekendnotes.comjpeg.

As twin registries merge and incorporate big data, as in the new study, experts like Craig look forward to new stages of twins enriching science. ‘That’s one of the ways twin research is growing,’ he said.

About 33 in every 1,000 human births in the United States are twins, a rate that has climbed in recent decades as more women marry later and take fertility drugs or employ in vitro fertilization, factors that are known to increase the likelihood of multiple births. Identical twins are an even more exclusive club: roughly four in every 1,000 births. They are formed when a single fertilized egg splits in two, creating two embryos with the same DNA.

McClure Twins.

In more recent years, however, twins have revealed a genetic component to a number of outcomes such as epilepsy, religiosity, autism and mental health, according to experts. NASA even conducted its own twin study on how astronaut Scott Kelly’s gene expression changed after a year on the International Space Station, relative to that of his identical twin, Mark, who remained on Earth. Twins have also suggested that something outside the genetic code can explain why one identical twin might develop Type 1 diabetes or Parkinson’s disease and the other doesn’t.

Annual gathering in Twinsburg, Ohio. mirror.co.uk

One festival for twins has also become one big Petri dish for scientists: Twins Days, an annual event that brings thousands of twins to northeastern Ohio.

Year after year, a cluster of research tents invites twins to contribute to a potpourri of science. In past years, Procter & Gamble, the maker of Olay, has studied twins to better understand the aging process and its effect on skin.

The Los Angeles Police Department has looked at slight differences between twins’ fingerprints to improve its identification tools. Biometric researchers have photographed and recorded twins speaking in order to create better facial and voice recognition systems. The FBI has funded similar research there, as well.

Traditionally, researchers have studied identical twins versus fraternal controls. These sibling pairs share the same upbringing and environment, but identical twins share all their DNA and fraternal twins onlyabout half…There’s even research by twins, for twins — looking at their ‘special bond’ in order to best counsel them in therapy, Craig said.

Ayumichi twins.

But even though twin research long predates the discovery of the double helix, advancements in genetics have not replaced twins, who continue to unravel our most elusive traits.”

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 Activity: 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 relationship between genetics and environment in disease is incredibly nuanced.
  2. Research found that nearly a third of certain conditions could be attributed to genetics.
  3. Obesity was found to be strongly influenced by genetics and the environment.
  4. More women marry later and take fertility drugs.
  5. Some women employ in vitro fertilization
  6. Identical twins are  a very exclusive class.
  7. Twins have also suggested that there is something outside the genetic code to explain various diseases.
  8. Biometric researchers have photographed and recorded twins speaking.
  9. One festival for twins has also become one big Petri dish for scientists.
  10. Traditionally, researchers have studied identical twins versus fraternal twins.

Word Map by Against the Oddstiff

 

Grammar Focus: Identifying Prepositions

Directions: The following sentences are from the news article.For each sentence choose the correct preposition from the choices listed. Note that not all prepositions listed are in the article.

Prepositions: in, for, of, with, by, on, at, to, as, into, across, around, over, through, from, during, up, off,

Environment was less contributory ___the whole.

One ___the broadest studies___twins___ the United States takes place ___Ohio.

Roughly 33 ___every 1,000 human births___ the United States are twins.

Decades ago, there was very little acknowledgment___genetic influences ___children’s mental health.

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.

Our ___is whether some ___are ___and, if so, to what? Our ___is whether this is a ___determined trait. We like to ___genetically___twins to___that are no more ___than ordinary siblings.

WORD LIST:  similar,   twins,  compare, identical, taste-blind, question, genetically, people, interest,

Discussion 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, There’s also value in looking at children of twins and at twins raised apart…which could shed light on whether certain behaviors or disorders are likely to be passed down through parents’ genes versus their home environments.”  Provide examples that supports this statement.
  2. Are you a twin? If so describe how you and your twin behave differently (or the same) as other siblings.
  3. Would you like to be a twin? Explain why or why not.

 

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