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Lower Intermediate and Above Instant Lesson™

World's Largest Lesson 2008

Pre-Reading Activities

A: Brainstorming
Work in small groups. Look at the photos below. Answer the questions:

1. What problems do the photos make you think about? 
2. List some words that you think of when you look at these photos.
3. Look at the headlines of the articles from today's lesson. What do you think the articles will be about?

Reading Activities

A: Comprehension
Your teacher will give you an article (either Article 1, 2, 3 or 4). Read your article and answer the questions.

B: Working With Unknown Words

Find three words from the article you do not know the meanings of. Try to guess their meanings (thinking about what form the word is, its position in the sentence, any prefixes or suffixes, the meaning of the paragraph it is in as a whole). Discuss your guesses with other students who have read the same article as you.

C: Sharing Information

Get together with students who have read different articles. Tell each other the main points of your article. Talk about:

who or what the article was about.
what problem the article looked at.
how the problem affected people or how people are trying to solve the problem.

D: Drawing Conclusions

Today's lesson looked at two problems affecting the world. Work alone or in pairs and complete these sentences.
1. Today we looked at two problems...
2. Countries that have land mines have problems with...
3. Victims of land mines often lose limbs and...
4. One example of someone working with this problem is...
5. Commodity prices have...
6. Because of this, poorer people in many places...
7. One example of a place affected by rising commodity prices is...
8. One example of someone working to solve this problem is...

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

A: Extra Reading

Read this article about land mine statistics.

Land mines: savage weapon throughout the world

Fri Apr 04 (Reuters) ... Here are some facts on land mines around the world.

* Antipersonnel mines have been used in many conflicts since World War Two, including in the Vietnam War, the Korean War, the first Gulf War and to a large extent in Afghanistan.

* As of August 2007, 145 of the 155 States Parties do not have stockpiles of antipersonnel mines. Eighty States Parties have completed the destruction of their stockpiles. Sixty States Parties have declared that they did not possess stockpiles of antipersonnel mines, except in some cases those retained for research and training purposes. An additional five states have not yet formally declared the presence or absence of stockpiles, but are not believed to possess any mines: Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Haiti, Kuwait and Sao Tome.

* States Parties collectively have destroyed about 41.8 million stockpiled antipersonnel mines. The most recent States Parties to complete their stockpile destruction obligation are Cyprus, Serbia, Montenegro, Angola, Latvia and Cape Verde.

* Cyprus destroyed about 48,000 mines, finishing on its July 1, 2007 deadline. Serbia destroyed its 1.2 million mines, as well as nearly 200,000 held in Montenegro, finishing on May 16, 2007, long before Serbia's deadline of March 1, 2008 and Montenegro's of April 1, 2011. Angola destroyed about 88,000 mines, finishing four days ahead of its January 1, 2007 deadline, despite the discovery of new stockpiles.

* Land mine Monitor estimated that more than 14 million antipersonnel mines remain to be destroyed by 10 States Parties that still have to complete their stockpile destruction programs.

* Land mine Monitor estimated that more than 160 million antipersonnel mines are stockpiled by states not party to the Mine Ban Treaty.

-- The vast majority of these stockpiles belong to just three states: China (estimated 110 million), Russia (26.5 million) and the United States (10.4 million). Other states with very large stockpiles include Pakistan (estimated 6 million) and India (estimated 4-5 million).

* In 2006 there were a total 5,751 casualties from mines, and victim-activated IEDs were recorded in 68 countries and areas, including 1,367 people killed and 4,296 injured (88 were unknown) which was a 16 percent reduction from 2005.

Sources: Reuters, International Campaign to Ban Land mines (

Article © 2008 Reuters Limited. Lesson © 2008


B: Discussion
Work in pairs. Discuss what you could do to learn more about one of the problems described in today's lesson.

Reading Activities

A: Comprehension - Notes
At the end of the Teachers' Notes are the texts for today's reading activities.  There are four different articles so if possible allocate each student in your class to read a different article (i.e. groups of 5 students will each read either Article 1, Article 2, Article 3, Article 4.)

A: Comprehension - Sample Answers
Article 1: 1. Serafin Daudo, part of a land mine clearance squad in Cyprus; 2a. the number of landmines in Cyprus; 3. Daudo was injured by a landmine and now faces rehabilitation as he learns to live with an artificial limb.
Article 2: 1. Iraq; 2. 25 million land mines remain in Iraq; 3. the presence of mines hamper development of oil deposits and farm lands.
Article 3: 1. Moyale, a mountain town in Kenya; 2. the impact of increased fuel, water and food prices on the town which is hard hit because of its dependence on food aid;  3. food prices have greatly increased and people in the town rely on food being brought in from Nairobi.  Food that costs 10 shillings in Nairobi will cost 50 shillings in Moyale.  People have little to sell and it is expensive to send things for sale further south. Water (due to drought) and petrol are expensive now.
Article 4: 1. a UN food summit on the global food crisis in Rome in June; 2. the crisis in global food as very high commodity prices  for staples like rice, corn and wheat make people hungry and cause food riots; 3. they are going hungry; this can lead to political instability. The UN was trying to look at how countries could work together to solve the problem. Kofi Annan, who is heading an Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, hopes to increase farm production in Africa.

Working With Unknown Words - Notes
Students work alone or with others who read the same article to identify words they do not know the meanings of and then think about what information they have (i.e. knowledge of prefixes, suffixes, the form of the word itself) to deduce the meaning of the word. They can then, if you wish, check their answer with you or in a dictionary.

C: Sharing Information - Notes
Students now work in groups: ideally you will have four students in each group, each student having read a different article. They take it in turns to summarize the main points of their article. The other students should listen, take notes and ask questions for clarification.
If you feel it will be beneficial, students could first meet with others who have read the same article in order to prepare for this activity.

D: Drawing Conclusions - Sample Answers

1. Today we looked at two problems: the prevalence of landmines and the current global food crisis.
2. Countries that have landmines have problems with rehabilitating victims and being unable to use land for farming or other purposes because it is mined, and needing to clear mines.
3. Victims of landmines often lose limbs and face expensive operations.
4. One example of someone working with this problem is (answers could vary but could include Daudo or members of the Iraqui government or the UN.)
5. Commodity prices have soared recently.
6. Because of this, poorer people in many places are going hungry because the basic things they need to survive have become so expensive.
7. One example of a place affected by rising commodity prices is (answers could vary but could include Moyale or the continent of Africa).
8. One example of someone working to solve this problem is Kofi Annan, working to increase farm production in Africa.


Article 1:

A: Comprehension
1. Who is your article about?
2. What problem does your article describe?
3. How is the person in the article affected by the problem? What is happening to him now?

Landmine victim helping Cyprus become mine free
LARNACA, Cyprus, Fri APR 04 (Reuters) - A week ago, Serafin Daudo was sweeping for mines... in ethnically divided Cyprus. Today he is lying in a hospital bed, his foot blown off in a bid to make Cyprus land mine free.

Daudo, a Mozambican team leader in a mine clearing squad attached to the United Nations on the war-divided island, was injured in an explosion of an anti-personnel mine on March 28...

On the island for just over three years, Daudo had led a team of experts to make Nicosia's Ledra Street safe... Since November 2004 disposal experts have cleared more than three million square meters of land and 3,483 landmines from 35 minefields on Cyprus. But an estimated 20,000 landmines in 26 minefields are scheduled to be cleared in future....

He required three hours emergency surgery and at some point, he will need an artificial limb, joining a legion of land mine victims.

"I can't see the reason in laying mines in the ground to use against human beings," said the smiling Daudo from his hospital bed, looking younger than his 28 years.

His two brothers are also deminers, a result of living in a mine-infested country riven by a civil war which ended in 1994. Asked if his mother approves, he said: "She worries a lot."

Despite his injuries, Daudo is keen to return to work to ensure he can continue to send home most of his earnings and support his children, a boy and girl aged 8 and 6.

"I'm preparing a future for my children. That's what I really want. I'd want my children to go on to university, be teachers or something, have a future."

Now he says he is taking one day at a time but he wants to continue his chosen profession.

"I have to wait until I recover and attempt to walk again before I think about my future. I would want to return to work given the chance," he said.

Article © 2008 Reuters Limited. Lesson © 2008
Glossary: limb - leg or arm, profession - a paid job, especially one that requires training and education

Article 2:
A: Comprehension
1. What country is your article about?
2. What problem does your article describe?
3. How are people in the article affected by the problem?

Land mines threaten Iraqis and hamper development
BAGHDAD,Wed Jan 23, (Reuters) - Up to 25 million land mines, or almost one for every Iraqi, remain buried in thousands of minefields across Iraq and are hampering development of rich oil deposits, officials said on Wednesday.

Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said the mines were spread across about 4,000 minefields left across Iraq...

"For every Iraqi citizen there is a mine that could kill him at any moment," Dabbagh said at a

Iraqi Environment Minister Nermeen Othman said she had been appointed by the government to lead efforts to clear Iraq of land mines.

"Because of the contamination by land mines, Iraq has lost access to thousands of hectares of farm lands and been unable to invest in its oil fields," Othman said.

"The importance of this explosive material is not just about the damage it can do to ordinary people, it also impacts the economic development of Iraq itself," David Shearer, UN deputy special representative for humanitarian, reconstruction and development in Iraq said.

He said the development of oil reserves and other industries in southern Iraq were being hampered by the presence of mines.

For example, he said in the southern city of Basra, the hub for oil exports that sustain Iraq's fragile economy, 518 sq. km of land was unusable because of the presence of land mines. "The people ... can't use that agricultural area as they should be able to for their own economic development," he said.

Shearer said Iraq last year signed the Ottawa Convention banning anti-personnel mines but added that the government and the international community had a responsibility to do more to clear Iraq of mines.

Article © 2008 Reuters Limited. Lesson © 2008
Glossary: hampering - preventing or slowing down something, unusable - can't be used

Article 3:
A: Comprehension
1. What place is your article about?
2. What problem does your article describe?
3. How are people affected by the problem?

Inflation bites harder in remote Kenyan region
MOYALE, Kenya, July 29 (Reuters) - At a forgotten edge of Kenya's economy, remoteness has been no protection from the global pain of rising prices for the mountain town of Moyale.

It perches at the Ethiopian border, far north of the capital Nairobi across mountains that descend to a forbidding desert of black volcanic stones, sand and armed bandits before rising again into the frontier town's green scrub hills.

Few trucks reach Moyale, at the end of a tire-chewing 500 km (310 mile) rock road, and the produce it sends to the outside world is limited mostly to livestock.

But its distance and the lack of a good road has only magnified the impact of world fuel and food price rises on the cost of goods brought from outside.

"Inflation is affecting them tremendously. We rely heavily on products from Nairobi and the major reason (for inflation) is because of transport, because of the road," Moyale Central District Officer William Chirchir told Reuters. "If it goes for 10 shillings in Nairobi, you'll get it for 50 shillings here," Chirchir said.

Because the prices of basics such as food and fuel make up such a large proportion of household budgets in Africa, people in the world's poorest continent feel soaring commodity prices more than most.

Although less immediately visible than in Africa's cities, the impact can be even harsher in remote corners such as northern Kenya...

Trading in the north seems at a standstill. Most merchants have only the same few things -- firewood and milk -- for sale. The higher fuel costs also mean it is more expensive to send goods to the markets further south...

A sack of potatoes from Meru, more than 550 km (340 miles) away by road, has nearly tripled to 3,050 shillings ($46.20) from 1,300 four months ago.

The higher fuel costs have also pushed up the cost of water in towns such as Moyale and Marsabit, its nearest big neighbor located 250 km (155 miles) south on the road.... Two years of poor rains now means a crisis.

"Water seems like it costs as much as petrol now. It is expensive, but what can you do?" asked Mamo Sharamo, an unemployed resident of Marsabit.

In Marsabit town, dozens lined up late into the evening with 20-liter plastic jerry cans to buy water trucked in from a borehole 60 km away.

The cost to fill is 70 shillings ($1.04), up from 40 last year as the drought began to bite, Sharamo said.

Article © 2008 Reuters Limited. Lesson © 2008
Glossary: remoteness - being very far away from other places or people, magnified - made much bigger or larger
commodity prices - prices of products that are bought and sold between countries

Article 4:
A: Comprehension
1. What meeting is your article about?

2. What problem were people at the meeting discussing?
3. How are people affected by the problem? How are some leaders trying to solve the problem?

Food summit seeks "green revolution" for Africa
ROME, June 4 (Reuters) - A U.N. summit on the global food crisis asked rich nations on Wednesday to help revolutionize farming in Africa and the developing world to produce more food for nearly 1 billion people facing hunger.

"The global food crisis is a wake-up call for Africa to launch itself into a 'green revolution' which has been over-delayed," Nigerian Agriculture Minister Sayyadi Abba Ruma said on the second day of the three-day summit.

"Every second, a child dies of hunger," he told Reuters. "The time to act is now. Enough rhetoric and more action."

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization called the summit after soaring commodity prices threatened to add 100 million more people to the 850 million already going hungry and caused food riots that threaten government stability in some countries.

The cost of major food commodities has doubled over the last couple of years, with rice, corn and wheat at record highs. The OECD sees prices retreating from their peaks but still up to 50 percent higher in the coming decade.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the summit, attended by 151 countries, had shown "a clear sense of resolve, shared responsibility and political commitment among member states".

But discord over how much biofuels contribute to the rise in food prices, by competing with food output for crops, threatened to deprive the summit of a forceful final declaration.

"I doubt there will be a positive agreement on biofuels," said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer...

Ban's predecessor at the head of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, was in Rome to sign an agreement with UN food agencies for a new drive to increase farm production in Africa.

"The world is facing an unprecedented world food crisis and nowhere is this crisis more serious and acute than in Africa," he said of the new plan.

"We hope to spur a green revolution in Africa which respects biodiversity and the continent's distinct regions," said Annan, who chairs the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) which is coordinating the effort.

He told Reuters that African nations using prime farm land for biofuel risked creating food shortages, adding, "they will regret it because the population will turn on them.".....

Article © 2008 Reuters Limited. Lesson © 2008
Glossary: commodities - products that are bought and sold between countries, biofuel -  fuell or gas made from plants
unprecedented - never having happened, prime - first or best


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