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Teachers' Room > Lesson Library > Browse Library

The Environment

The Shape of Things to Come
A shiny white pod that has begun road tests may well be the taxi of the future. The pod, known as ULTra -- Urban Light Transport -- could make driver-free transport a reality and not just the stuff of futuristic fantasy. (Public transport, transport problems, technology, the future, summarizing, definite and indefinite articles.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Fishy Milk?
Some landlocked Canadian cows are enjoying a little seafood with their hay and grain so they can produce a new kind of milk being touted for its benefits for the brain, eyes and nerves. (Modified foods, diet, fish, nutrition, discussion, comprehension, meanings in context, true or false, prepositions, design a poster, dialogue build.)
Intermediate
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Is Ecotourism Too Popular?
Ecotourism is taking its toll on wildlife and may be endangering the survival of the very animals people are flocking to see, according to researchers. (Ecotourism and its impact on wildlife, animal quiz, talking about animals, predicting, completing a table, check your understanding, true, false or not given, the present continuous, jigsaw reading, crossword.)
Intermediate
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Beware of FrankenFish!
The vegetation grows thick in this dark-watered pond, hiding all that swims beneath. It could double as the set for the 1950s movie classic "Creature from the Black Lagoon." In a way it does, for the dreaded land-crawling, all-eating snakehead fish lives here. (Snakehead fish, eradication program, listening gap fill, writing questions, reading for detail, discussion, non-defining relative clauses.)
Advanced
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Sleep for the Sick?
Patients who have complained they cannot get any rest in noisy hospitals have been vindicated with a report confirming that the racket on hospital wards can be as loud as a rock concert. (Hospitals, importance of sleep, noise levels, survey, ranking, predicting from the headline, completing a table, comprehension, arranging sentence parts, comparisons: as...as and not as....as, brainstorming.)
Upper-Intermediate
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The Great Shrinking Wall
The Great Wall of China is shrinking as tourism and development take their toll on one of the world's most famous monuments. (Famous structures, the Great Wall of China, seven wonders of the world, matching information and pictures, completing a table, constructing questions, finding evidence, summarizing, listening for specific information, infinitive of purpose, discussion.)
Intermediate
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A Brand New Fish!
A little tropical fish that glows fluorescent red will be the first genetically-engineered pet. (Genetic engineering, tropical fish, pets, skimming, reading gap fill, complete the table, matching information, true, false or not given, prepositions, expressing opinions, role plays.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Urban Oz Insects
Millions of giant moths swoop down on Australian cities each spring. Called bogongs, they like the big city lights, where they flutter into high-rise offices, drown in bowls of soup, pester bus drivers, even freeze to death in refrigerators. (Insects, pests, sorting words, finding the main idea, true or false, complete the table, meanings in context, verbs: active or passive voice, present simple or past simple tense, dialogue building, peer dictation, crossword.)
Intermediate
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Can't See The Trees
US cities have lost more than 20 percent of their trees in the past 10 years. This is due mainly to urban sprawl and highway construction. (Importance of trees, loss of trees in cities, understanding the main idea, crossword, interpreting a flowchart and transferring information, reading in detail, present simple, present perfect and past simple tenses, brainstorming.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Turtle Refuge
In New York, finding a nice apartment to live in is all about who you know. For turtles, that person is Richard Ogust. (Endangered species, turtles, wildlife organizations, scanning, true or false, crossword - environment words, where and which, information exchange - marine turtles, dialogue.)
Intermediate
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Green Packaging
Wild Oats Markets Inc. became the first grocery store in the United States to roll out a new type of "green" packaging which looks like plastic but turns into compost after disposal. (Environmentally friendly packaging, comprehension, true or false, meanings from context, summarizing, information gap activity, language - making predictions.)
Intermediate
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Ducks and Locusts
China is using ducks to stop locusts from destroying valuable crops, but the ducks will probably then be eaten in restaurants. (Pests, locusts, prediction, reading for the main idea, sequencing, true or false, discussion, in and into, recipe.)
Elementary
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Cleaning Up Their Acts
With its landfill sites almost full, Japan has launched a plan to halve the amount of trash it buries. Meanwhile, Ireland battles a price of economic success: a waste disposal crisis. From a third island nation, New Zealand, comes a possible waste management solution. (Waste management, environmentally friendly waste management systems, matching sentence beginnings and endings, listening for information, true or false, choose the best answer, using 'also', understanding a process diagram.)
Intermediate to Upper-Intermediate
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Tallest Building
The world's tallest building in Dubai is 828 meters (2,717 ft) high. (Burj Khalifa, Taipei 101, world's tallest buildings, discussion, comprehension, reading for specific information, reference words, identifying nouns, comparative and superlative structures, shouting dictation, information gap game.)
Elementary
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Bushfires Devastate Large Parts of Australia
Fueled by one of the worst droughts in a century, bushfires have scarred a slice of Australia nearly three times the size of Britain -- or almost as big as the second largest U.S. state, Texas. (Bushfires, natural disasters, Australia, true or false, jigsaw reading, complete the table, comparisons of equality and comparing the size of things, Internet research.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Safe SUVs?
In a land where bigger is usually thought of as better, Americans love their sports utility vehicles and they are not going to give them up. (SUVs, fuel consumption, talking about cars, prediction, scanning, true or false, reading for detail, suffixes, discussion, matching sentence beginnings and endings, sell a car information transfer activity.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Signing a Petition
A baby elephant in Germany has signed a petition to protect wild elephants around the world, an environmental protection group says. (Ivory trade and elephants, ranking, predicting, writing questions, guessing the meanings of words in context, true or false, verb forms, short talks, describing an animal.)
Intermediate
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Aussie Thieves Steal Water
Thieves are stealing water from rivers and selling it to Australian farmers. The farmers are fighting one of the worst droughts in a century. (Drought and its effect on crop farming, prediction, reading for gist, comprehension, categorizing words, true or false, reading for detail, word find puzzle, discussion.)
Elementary to Pre-Intermediate
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Gum Law May Change
Chewing gum has been banned in Singapore since 1992. The law said that Singaporeans could not import, sell or make it. But now Singapore may change the law. (Chewing gum ban in Singapore, understanding the main idea, comprehension, true or false, matching ideas with pictures, discussion, group project imperatives.)
Elementary
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Do You Want To Save The Planet?
Some campaigners insisted on going overland to Marrakesh's U.N. conference on climate change, not because they are scared of flying, but because they are worried about what airplanes do to the planet. (Airplane emissions and their effect on the environment, avoiding flying because of environmental impact, discussion, true, false or not given, prepositions 'by' and 'or' and methods of travel, dialogue, fluency practice, crossword - environmental words.)
Intermediate
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New Stoves Could Mark End of Indoor Cooking Fires
Eritrea is hoping a new stove design will do its part to fight the deforestation and lung problems caused by cooking fires used by an estimated 2.5 billion people in the developing world. (Scanning, choosing the best headline, completing the table of information, matching sentences, crossword, finding grammatical errors.)
Upper-Intermediate to Advanced
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Sea Refugees
Nations must make plans to help tens of millions of "sea level refugees" if climate change continues to ravage the world's oceans. (Climate change, global warming, comprehension, true, false or not given, discussion, reported speech and direct speech.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Amazon Destruction
The rate of forest destruction of Brazil's treasured Amazon jungle fell 13.4 percent last year from a five-year peak in 2000, but it is still at a pace that deeply troubles environmentalists. (Amazon jungle, scanning, comprehension, prefixes and suffixes, present participles.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Mangrove Forest Under Threat
Bangladesh and India will work together under a UN plan to protect the Sundarban, the world's biggest mangrove forest. (Conservation, mangrove forests, endangered species, discussion, superlative adjectives, crossword.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Noisy Yoga
A trendy London yoga institute known as a haven of peace and relaxation has come under attack from local residents -- for being too noisy. (Yoga, neighbors, summarizing, word forms, letter of complaint.)
Intermediate
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Pacific Weather Patterns
Cutting edge world science has produced a sudden consensus that a feared El Nino weather pattern is likely to be developing in the Pacific. (Weather forecasting, El Nino, affect and effect, keeping a weather journal.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Dead as a Dodo
Scientists at Oxford University have extracted DNA from a dodo, the famous flightless bird hunted to extinction in the 17th century. (DNA, endangered animals, summarizing, question words.)
Advanced
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Finnish Grapes
Grapes will soon ripen for wine production in Finland using warm water from a nuclear reactor cooling system. (Technology, farming, dictionary work, using 'will' to talk about a future fact.)
Elementary
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Birds of a Feather
Singapore is fighting an army of crows plaguing its high-rise apartments. Rome is battling swarms of starlings that swoop down on Rome's historic piazzas and baroque churches by broadcasting bird "distress calls'' over loudspeakers. (Scientific study, pests, proverbs, writing letters, relative clauses.)
Intermediate to Upper-Intermediate
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Wild Elephants
Wild elephants killed four people and injured 15 others while rampaging through two villages in southeastern Bangladesh. (Problems related to protecting endangered animals, elephants, the Simple Past and Simple Present Tenses.)
Elementary
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Stolen Animals
Criminals steal an estimated 38 million animals from Brazil's forests each year. A recent report has estimated that local traffickers of endangered animals earn about $1 billion a year, causing untold losses to the country's natural habitat. (Smuggling, synonyms, the passive, participle clauses, word forms, suffixes.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Water, water everywhere...
Many of the world's freshwater lakes face death by pollution, resulting in catastrophe for the human populations that depend on them. Experts have warned that there is not a lake left on the planet that is not already being affected by human activities. (Discourse markers, text structure, participles as relative clauses.)
Advanced
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Fly Away Peter, Fly Away Paul
Thirteen tiny endangered songbirds stopped a Cathay Pacific Airways jet after a flight attendant heard them in a passenger's hand luggage just before takeoff. (Smuggling, endangered species, travel, scanning, joining words.)
Intermediate
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A State of Emergency
Italy has declared a state of environmental emergency in Venice, one of its most popular tourist destinations. "Extraordinary measures are needed because of the high levels of pollution," said Federica Cingolani, the environment ministry press secretary. "The states of emergency could last a year but it will be up to local officials to decide." (Pollution, Italy, tourism, collocations Writing / Peer Editing.)
Upper-Intermediate to Advanced
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Parking Meters
Hundreds of motorists didn't have to pay for parking when new solar-powered parking meters stopped working because of Britain's bad weather. (Solar power, traffic, cars, sequencing, use of 'don't have to'.)
Elementary
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Powerful Choices
Wind power, an abundant, clean and affordable alternative to coal, could become a leading source of U.S. electricity with the right political support and investment, researchers said. (Sources of power, electricity, the environment, summarizing, countable and uncountable nouns.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Disposable?
A Dutch city has started recycling the disposable diapers of its youngest citizens. (The environment, recycling, diapers, nappies, essay writing, writing a letter of complaint, verb plus the infinitive or the '-ing' form.)
Intermediate
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Transgenic Mosquitoes
European scientists have created the world's first genetically modified malaria mosquito that could one day help to rid the world of the disease that kills an estimated 2.7 million people each year. (Genetic engineering, health, malaria, prefixes)
Upper-Intermediate
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Skunks and yogurt
Skunks jam their heads in to these containers as they are looking for yogurt and then get trapped and die but will the company responsible help?(Environment, packaging, animals, advertising, '-ing' forms)
Upper-Intermediate
HTML Format
Another World Record
This is about the largest ozone hole ever observed opening up over Antarctica... When? Now. Do the lesson and stay out of the sun! (ozone layer, greenhouse gases, the future, global warming, pollution, prefixes)
Upper-Intermediate
HTML Format
High Tech Garbage
The city of Barcelona is putting micro chips in its 18,000 litter bins to try and make garbage collection easier. How? Do the lesson and find out!(Computers, micro chips, litter bins, Spain, technology, 'can' & 'can't', linkers, listing.)
Elementary
HTML Format
Environmentally Friendly
Are you being confused and misled by the hodge-podge of environmental claims made by household products. You are not alone and help is at hand. Read on. (Product labels, clean green, consumer issues, active and passive verbs)
Upper-Intermediate
HTML Format
A Hitch In Your Hike
Peru plans to limit the thousands of visitors who hike its well-worn Inca Trail, because it says the ancient road is overrun by tourists. (Tourism, Peru, conservation, participles.)
Intermediate
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A Fishy Business
Sadly fish stocks recover far more slowly from overfishing than was previously thought.(The environment, overfishing, conservation, modal verbs - may and might.)
Intermediate to Upper-Intermediate
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A New Fish
Environmentalists are worried about "Frankenstein Foods" or genetically modified food which could upset the delicate balance of nature. Find out about a fish which can grow 10 times faster than normal. (GM foods, fast-growing fish, consumer issues, ensure vs assure or insure.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Tallest Living Thing
An ancient California redwood tree which towers 367.5 feet (112.08 meters) above the forest floor has taken the official title of the tallest living thing in the world. (Trees, environmental problems, tourism)
Intermediate
HTML Format
National Geographic Conservation
Big strides in technology will help make fantastic new discoveries possible this century, but preserving the planet will be one of the biggest challenges facing scientists. (Explorers, conservation, discoveries, the future.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Highland Decision
It has all the ingredients for a Hollywood hit: money, animosity, a craggy clan chief and a cabal of conservationists out to save the Scottish highlands. What is it? (Conservation, traditional rights, mountains, Scotland)
Upper-Intermediate
HTML Format
Arctic Adventures
If you yawn at the thought of a Mediterranean cruise and couldn't care less about Caribbean beaches, how about climbing a frozen waterfall or helping to skin a seal? Arctic tourist adventures. (Nunavut, tourism, the Arctic)
Advanced
HTML Format
Possible Bioweapon
This lesson is about Australian scientists who inadvertently created a killer mouse virus, and the problems of trying to control the spread of biological weapons. (Virus, scientific mistakes, bioweapons)
Advanced
HTML Format
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