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Instant Lesson� for World's Largest Lesson 2002

Landmine Danger

Pre-Reading Activities

A: Discussion One

Work in small groups and answer the questions below.

1. Look at the pictures below. If you were going for a walk in the area where you live, which of these would you have to watch out for?

2. What other things cause a lot of deaths or injuries in your country?


B: Discussion Two

Work in small groups and answer the questions below.

1. Cigarettes are dangerous but many people continue to buy them, and companies continue to make them. Should businesses stop making dangerous products like cigarettes? Why or why not?

2. If someone you know is doing something that will hurt themselves or others, do you think it is your responsibility to tell them to stop? Why or why not?


C: What Do You Think?

In your small group, discuss whether you think the following statements are 'True' or 'False.'

1. Landmines kill or injure hundreds of people around the world every year.
2. A large number of the people injured by landmines are children.
3. Victims of landmines often need to have limbs (arms, legs) removed.
4. While there is an international treaty banning the use of landmines, a lot of countries have not signed it.
5. There are around 50 to 60 million landmines in the world.
6. Landmines are not a problem once they have been in the ground for three years, because they become too old to explode.

Reading Activities

A: Understanding the Main Idea

Read Part One of the article, and then match each question below with the correct answer. (Be careful, as there are two extra answers.)


1. What is making it more difficult to stop the use of landmines?
2. What group has released a report about the problem?
3. Which countries have put lots of landmines along their shared border?
4. Which two other countries use a lot of landmines?
5. What is the name of the report?
6. How many people are killed by landmines each year?
7. What percentage of those killed are children under 15 years of age?
8. How many people are injured by landmines each year?



a. The International Campaign to Ban Landmines.
b. Myanmar and Russia.
c. Pakistan and India.
d. The widespread use of landmines by some countries.
e. 40 percent.
f. About 10,000.
g. The Landmine Monitor Report 2002.
h. Somalia and Georgia.
i. About 10,000.
j. Nepal, Somalia and Georgia.

Part One
Widespread Use of Landmines Criticized

NEW YORK Friday September 13 (Reuters) - The widespread use of antipersonnel landmines by some nations is making it more difficult to eliminate a weapon that kills or maims thousands of people every year, campaigners said on Friday.

India and Pakistan have laid large numbers of such mines along their common border since coming close to war over Kashmir in December 2001, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) said in a report.

Landmines are also widely used by Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, by Russia in Chechnya, and on a smaller scale in Nepal, Somalia and the former Soviet republic of Georgia, the Landmine Monitor Report 2002 said.

The United Nations estimates that landmines still kill about 10,000 people a year around the world, and activists said the devices injure about another 10,000, often requiring the amputation of limbs.

Up to 40% of all mine victims are children under 15, according to the United Nations.


widespread - something that happens to a very great extent
antipersonnel - designed to kill or injure people
eliminate - to remove something completely
maims - injures someone seriously, often causing permanent damage to their body
amputation - a surgical operation in which a limb is cut off

Article � 2002 Reuters Limited. Lesson � 2002

B: Complete the Information

Read Part Two of the article and use information from it to help you fill the gaps in the box below about the 1997 international treaty.

Name of 1997 Treaty:...
Prohibits: the use, making of, storing of and moving of ____________________.
Number of Countries that have Signed and Ratified the Treaty:...
Number of Countries that have Signed but not Ratified the Treaty:...
Number of Countries that have neither Signed nor Ratified the Treaty:...

Part Two

(.../Continued) The report was issued before the start of a week of talks in Geneva on Monday to review the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, which prohibits the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of antipersonnel mines.

Some 125 countries have signed and ratified the treaty, while 18 have signed but not yet ratified it.

But 50 countries, including big powers such as China, Russia and the United States, have rejected the landmark pact, and 14 countries still produce landmines. (Continued/...)

stockpiling -
collecting and keeping a large supply of something for use in the future
- gave formal approval to an agreement or treaty so that it is official
landmark - an event that marks an important stage in something

Article � 2002 Reuters Limited. Lesson � 2002

C: Choose the Best Answer

Read Part Three of the article and choose the best answer from the list of choices to fill the gap in each of the sentences below.

1. The International Campaign to Ban Landmines has members from...

a. more than 50 countries.
b. between 30 and 40 countries.
c. fewer than 40 countries.

2. People who live in Bosnia or Afghanistan experience danger from landmines...

a. every few days.
b. every day.
c. just once or twice a year.



3. Soldiers in Angola and Sri Lanka...

a. are not using landmines any more.
b. have never used landmines.
c. stopped using landmines in 2000.

4. More than 90 countries...

a. sell landmines to other countries.
b. store landmines for future use.
c. display their landmines in big piles.

Part Three

The ICBL, a global network of over 1,200 non-governmental organizations in 60 countries, says the weapons pose a daily threat in Afghanistan, Angola, Bosnia, Cambodia, Chechnya, Croatia, Iraq, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Somalia and many other places.

On the positive side, both government and rebel forces in Angola and Sri Lanka stopped using landmines in 2002, and some 34 million mines have been destroyed since the Ottawa treaty came into force, the report said. The report said some 230 million antipersonnel landmines are still stockpiled by 94 states, including 110 million in China, 60 to 70 million in Russia and 11 million in the United States.

The number of landmines planted around the world is estimated at 50 to 60 million. Landmines remain dangerous for years, but funding for mine clearance has stagnated at about $240 million a year, it said. The report said groups in at least 14 countries used landmines last year.




threat - a thing likely to cause danger, trouble etc.
funding -
the providing of money
- stopped developing or progressing

Article � 2002 Reuters Limited. Lesson � 2002


D: True or False?

Read Parts One, Two and Three of the article again and check whether your answers from Pre-Reading Activity C are correct.


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

1. Read these sentences from today's article and then answer the question.

- The United Nations estimates landmines still kill about 10,000 people a year around the world.
- 230 million antipersonnel landmines are still stockpiled by 94 states.

Why is the word 'still' used in these sentences?

2. Now look at the sentences from the article again and also the examples below and circle the correct word in brackets to make rules about 'still'.

- They are still very worried about the little boy. He lost a leg in the landmine explosion.
- She was still in hospital ten months after the explosion.
- The spokeswoman announced that her country had still not decided whether or not to support the treaty.
But 50 countries have rejected the landmark pact and 14 countries still produce landmines.
- The factory was still producing landmines despite the protests from different anti-landmine organizations.

a. If the verb is one word, 'still' goes (in front of / after) the verb.
b. 'Still' goes (in front of / after) am, is, are, was, were.
c. If the verb is two or more words (e.g. was producing), 'still' goes (in front of / after) the first verb.

3. Place 'still' in the correct position with the verbs in brackets in this short text about landmines.

Landmine campaigners say there i.__________ (is) a lot of work to be done to rid the world of landmines. Fourteen countries ii.__________ (are producing) landmines. Other countries iii.__________ (are stockpiling) them. Landmine campaigners say they iv.__________ (have) a lot of work to do in making people understand why landmines should be banned. While some countries have agreed to ban them, others v.__________ (support) their use in warfare.

Children are often the victims of landmine explosions. Even if children are told not to pick up strange objects while they are playing, some vi.__________ (will mistake) a landmine for a toy. Those that survive vii.__________ (face) many months or even years of pain and difficulty as they attempt to recover from losing a limb or an eye. For those that do survive and have a limb amputated, it viii.__________ (can take) up to 10 years before they can get an artificial limb fitted.

B: Letter to a Newspaper

Here is a letter to the editor of a newspaper, arguing that landmines should not be banned. Read it and then write a letter to a newspaper, arguing that landmines should be banned.

Landmines should not be banned. Landmine danger is not caused by the manufacturers or users of landmines, but by the existence of situations where countries feel threatened enough to have to use landmines to protect their people. Instead of fighting to stop the use of landmines, we should fight to solve the problems that cause countries to use landmines. Weapons are there to protect civilian populations from danger.

In fact, landmines could be seen as better than many other weapons as they are preventative and static. They are not aggressive weapons, as they cannot be used to attack an enemy. They are designed to prevent or slow down attacks. Having landmines on your border does not threaten the other side, unlike weapons such as missiles, tanks or artillery.

It is the people who have used landmines indiscriminately, often non-governmental groups or rebels, who have given landmines the reputation they have. Recently, the areas where they are used the most, by governments in situations of international tension, is where the landmines do the least harm to civilians.

Like so many products, it is the misuse of landmines that must be fought. The banning of all landmines would destabilize many areas of the world, increasing tension on some borders and creating an environment where the risk of catastrophic war is increased, not decreased.

John Smith


C: Internet Research

Find out more about landmines by looking at the sites below. Before you begin, think of a question about landmines you would like to find the answer to, and have it checked by your teacher. Then use these web sites to try and find the answer to your question. You may like to use a search engine to find other sites that interest you.


Pre-Reading Activities

A: Discussion One and B: Discussion Two - Notes

In classes where students are from different countries or regions of the same country, try to mix students up so they can learn more about each other. (In a one-to-one situation, go through the questions with the student. Try to avoid dominating the discussion with your own ideas, and allow plenty of opportunity for the student to express his / her views.)

(Some students may query why a picture of a coconut palm is included in Discussion One. If someone is silly enough to sit or stand under a coconut tree with ripe coconuts, it is possible that a nut will fall on him / her and this could result in a serious injury or death.)

C: What Do You Think? - Notes

Before doing Pre-Reading Activity C, you may decide to give your students this definition if they don't know what a landmine is:

'A landmine is a container filled with explosive material that is placed in the ground. When a person or a vehicle passes over it, the mine explodes.'

If students are not sure of an answer, encourage them to guess at the answer. This gets them thinking more about the topic and thus, they are better prepared to read the text.

Students will be able to check their answers when they do Reading Activity D.

Reading Activities

A: Understanding the Main Idea - Answers

1. d, 2. a, 3. c, 4. b, 5. g, 6. f or i, 7. e, 8. f or i.

Extra Answers: h, j

B: Complete the Information - Notes

This activity gives teachers of lower-level students an opportunity to teach scanning (i.e. reading quickly through a text to find key words) strategies. You may wish to go through each part of the box and ask students which key words they think they should look for in the article. Key words might include: Treaty; countries; signed and ratified.

You could set a time limit appropriate for your class to encourage students to scan Part One, rather than read it slowly.

(Reading Activities B, C and D can be made more difficult for higher-level students by turning them into speed-reading activities. Set a time limit appropriate for your class and tell students to try and find all the answers within that time.)

B: Complete the Information - Answers

Name of 1997 Treaty: Mine Ban Treaty
Prohibits: the use, making of, storing of and moving of antipersonnel landmines.
Number of Countries that have Signed and Ratified the Treaty: 125
Number of Countries that have Signed but not Ratified the Treaty: 18
Number of countries that have neither Signed nor Ratified the Treaty: 50

C: Choose the Best Answer - Answers

1. a, 2. b, 3. a, 4. b.

D: True or False?

1. False (They kill or injure thousands of people.)
2. True
3. True
4. True
5. False (There are 50 to 60 million landmines planted in the ground, but the actual number of landmines is much higher, as the article says that there is a stockpile of 230 million antipersonnel landmines.)
6. False (They remain dangerous for years.)

Post-Reading Activities

A: Language - Notes

Still is used to talk about the continuation of a situation or action that started in the past. We can use it to express impatience or intolerance, or perhaps surprise that the situation has not stopped. (We could use 'yet' instead, in questions and negatives, but that does not express the impatience.)

Here are some more examples with 'still':
Are you still talking on the phone?
She can't go to the movies - she's still doing her homework.
He still hasn't finished the report.

A: Language - Answers

1. A situation that used to exist is continuing now. Still is used when something hasn't stopped and the writer wants to stress that it is still continuing.

a. If the verb is one word, 'still' goes in front of the verb.
b. 'Still' goes after am, is, are, was, were.
c. If the verb is two or more words, 'still' goes after the first verb.

3: i. is still, ii. are still producing, iii. are still stockpiling, iv. still have, v. still support, vi. will still mistake, vii. still face, viii. can still take.

B: Letter to a Newspaper- Notes

You could get students to discuss the points in groups before writing their letters. If you wish, you could get them to write actual letters, or one letter from the class, to a local newspaper or newspapers. Also, please send the best letters to us at and we will publish a selection on the website.

Before they begin writing, you could show students parts of the sample answer below to illustrate what they could do in their letters. You may then like to give the whole letter to them after they have finished their own letters. Students could do some research on the issue by using the websites in Post-Reading Activity C.

There is an online exercise based on this sample answer at (choose sign in as student, username: world / password: landmine).

There is a longer online lesson available during the week of the WLL at (username: world / password: landmine).

B: Letter to a Newspaper- Sample Answer

Landmines should be banned. They are not just weapons used in wartime, and it is not when they are first put in the ground that they kill the most civilians. Landmines lie hidden for years after the war for which they were used is over. Even when used in a military situation, they go off without discriminating between soldiers and innocent civilians. Unlike other weapons, such as tanks, they cannot be removed easily.

Once buried in the ground, even those who have put them in place no longer have any control over them. They are designed to be difficult to find, and using them in any situation creates a hazard for generations to come. Even when used carefully by government soldiers, they are not laid in an organized way but are thrown randomly, making them even more difficult to find. Usually no records are kept of where landmines are hidden so it is very hard to remove them after a war. They continue to kill and injure people in peacetime.

Removal of landmines is a dangerous and expensive procedure involving trained people or dogs or costly machinery. Money that could be spent on helping rebuild a country after conflict has to be diverted to this time-consuming and difficult operation.

It is a simple fact that if landmines were not manufactured then they would not be used. Landmines kill and injure people, who are often civilians (not soldiers), including thousands of children every year. The manufacture and use of landmines should be banned.

Please Note: Other related lessons that your students may find interesting are found in the Instant Lesson library: 'How Good Is Your Nose?' is an Intermediate - Upper Intermediate lesson that looks at the use of mechanical dogs that can smell landmines. 'Demining Dogs' is an Elementary lesson about dogs that are used to clear landmines in Thailand. Last year's World's Largest Lesson is 'A Global Issue', an Intermediate lesson that looks at a charity that was launched to raise funds for mine clearance.


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