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Pre-Intermediate Instant Lesson™

Social Climbers?

Pre-Reading Activities

A: Discussion
Answer these questions in pairs or small groups.
What are the names of these animals?
Which of the sentences are true for each of these animals?
Kangaroo Hyena Crocodile Tortoise Parrot Orangutan
It can walk.            
It can swim.            
It can dig.            
It can fly.            
It can laugh.            
It can climb.            
It can talk.            
It can jump.            
It can dive.            
It can drive a car.            

Reading Activities

A: Understanding The Headline
Look at today's article very quickly (do not read every word). Put the words of the headline of today's article in the correct order:

climb trees crocodiles can

Friday February 14, Orlando (Reuters) - When most people go into crocodile territory, they keep a lookout for crocodiles in the water or on the land. But now researchers say people should look up.  Researchers say crocodiles can climb trees.

Researchers studied crocodiles in Australia, Africa and North America.  They saw crocodiles climbing as high as 6 feet off the ground. University of Tennessee researcher, Vladimir Dinets, says he received stories of crocodiles climbing almost 30 feet.

Crocodiles don't have good toes and feet for climbing but small and young crocodiles climb upwards and larger crocodiles climb angled tree trunks and branches. 

"They just go slowly," he said.  "Eventually they get there."

The research is in the January edition of "Herpetology Notes". The other researchers were Adam Britton from Charles Darwin University in Australia and Matthew Shirley from the University of Florida.

The researchers believe the crocodiles climb to keep a lookout and to warm themselves in the sun.  The crocodiles most often climb trees where there are few places to warm themselves on the ground.

Dinets was co-author of a 2013 study that showed crocodiles use sticks and twigs to hunt.  They put twigs on their snouts just above the water line to attract birds. The crocodiles lie in wait for hours and lunge when birds come near them.
Article © 2014 Thomson Reuters Limited. Lesson © 2014

B: True or False?
Are these statements true (T) or false (F) according to today's article?
1. Dinets works at a university.

Researchers saw crocodiles climbing more than 20 feet high.
3. Crocodiles climb slowly.
4. Crocodiles make traps for birds.

5. Crocodiles often climb trees because they want to get warm.

C: Working With Unfamiliar Words

Today's article has some words that you probably don't know. However, you can use your understanding of the article and your knowledge of crocodiles to help you work out the meanings of these words. Practice with these words from today's article. Answer the questions about each word.
1. ...larger crocodiles climb angled trunks and branches
What kind of word is 'angled'? Is it a noun, a verb, an adjective or an adverb?
The word 'angled' here describes the way the tree trunks and branches are growing. We know that little crocodiles climb upwards. How do you think bigger crocodiles climb?
What do you think the word 'angled' means?
2. Eventually they get there.
    What kind of word is 'eventually'? Is it a noun, a verb, an adjective or an adverb?
The word 'eventually' here talks about the time it takes for a crocodile to climb to a place. We know that the feet of crocodiles are not good for climbing and that crocodiles climb slowly.
What do you think the word 'eventually' means?
3. crocodiles use sticks and twigs to hunt ...
    What kind of word is 'twig'? Is it a noun, a verb, an adjective or an adverb?
The word 'twig' is something that the crocodile uses for hunting. The crocodile also uses sticks. This suggests that sticks and twigs have similar meanings.
What do you think the word 'twig' means?

D: Check Your Understanding
Use today's article to answer these questions.
1. What animal did researchers study?

2. Where did the research take place?

3. What universities were the researchers from?

4. What does the article say about the feet of a crocodile?

5. What kind of trees do older crocodiles climb?

6. In what kind of land are crocodiles most likely to climb?

7. What do crocodiles use to trap birds?

8. The article suggests crocodiles are patient hunters. What words in the article show this?

Post-Reading Activities
You may do one or more of these

A: Language
expresses ability: Can you speak English? Yes, I can. (I am able to speak English.)
Can crocodiles climb trees? Yes they can. (They are able to climb trees.)

Ask and answer these questions in pairs.
Can you walk?
    Can you swim?
Can you dig?
       Can you fly?
Can you laugh?
    Can you climb?
Can you talk?
      Can you jump?
Can you dive?      Can you drive a car?

B: Language Extension
Part One: Read this text.
I'm Sophie and I'm 8. I can swim, but I'm not very good at swimming. I can float and I can jump into the water, but I can't dive and I can't float on my back. I can blow bubbles and I can open my eyes under the water.

Answer 'yes' or 'no' for these questions.
Can Sophie...


  float on her front?
  jump into the water?
  float on her back?
  blow bubbles?
  open her eyes under the water?
Part Two
Now write sentences for yourself for a sport like swimming.

C: Finding Out Information

When you do something well, we say you are 'good at it'.
For example, crocodiles are very good at swimmingCrocodiles are very good at hunting fish and birds.
We often say 'I am not very good at...' e.g. Crocodiles are not very good at climbing. They can do it, but they are not experts.
Find out what other people in the class are good at. Then report back to the class.


Reading Activities

A: Understanding The Headline - Notes
Students may try to make the question "Can crocodiles climb trees?" However, point out that there is no question mark in the headline. Therefore the headline is a statement, not a question.

A: Understanding The Headline - Answer

Crocodiles Can Climb Trees

B: True or False? - Answers
1. T, 2. F (they heard stories of crocodiles climbing more than 20 feet), 3. T, 4. T, 5. T.

C: Working With Unfamiliar Words - Notes
You may like to follow the same procedure with other words in today's article. Effective ones to use would be 'look-out', lunge, co-author and snouts. Students may even like to have a go at guessing the meaning of "Herpetology".

C: Working With Unfamiliar Words - Answers
1. angled - adjective (a participle used as an adjective),
They don't climb vertically, they climb up and sideways.
At a sideways slant. 

2. eventually -
after a long time

3. twigs -
a thin woody shoot growing from a tree branch

D: Check Your Understanding - Answers
1. crocodiles, 2. Australia, Africa and North America, 3. University of Tennessee, Charles Darwin University and University of Florida. 4. the toes and feet are not built for climbing, 5. trees with angled trunks and branches, 6. where there are few places for them to lie in the sun to warm themselves, 7. twigs which they hold in their snouts, 8. lie in wait for hours.

Post-Reading Activities

B: Language Extension - Answers
Part One

Can Sophie...
swim? - yes she can
float on her front? - yes she can
jump into the water? - yes she can
dive? - no she can't
float on her back? - no she can't
blow bubbles? - yes she can
open her eyes under the water? - no she can't



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