WP_Query Object
(
    [query_vars] => Array
        (
            [post_type] => planet-english
            [post__not_in] => Array
                (
                    [0] => 12372
                )

            [post_status] => publish
            [orderby] => date
            [order] => DESC
            [monthnum] => 0
            [year] => 0
            [paged] => 0
            [error] => 
            [m] => 
            [p] => 0
            [post_parent] => 
            [subpost] => 
            [subpost_id] => 
            [attachment] => 
            [attachment_id] => 0
            [name] => 
            [static] => 
            [pagename] => 
            [page_id] => 0
            [second] => 
            [minute] => 
            [hour] => 
            [day] => 0
            [w] => 0
            [category_name] => 
            [tag] => 
            [cat] => 
            [tag_id] => 
            [author] => 
            [author_name] => 
            [feed] => 
            [tb] => 
            [meta_key] => 
            [meta_value] => 
            [preview] => 
            [s] => 
            [sentence] => 
            [title] => 
            [fields] => 
            [menu_order] => 
            [embed] => 
            [category__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [category__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [category__and] => Array
                (
                )

            [post__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [post_name__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag__and] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag_slug__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag_slug__and] => Array
                (
                )

            [post_parent__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [post_parent__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [author__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [author__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [ignore_sticky_posts] => 
            [suppress_filters] => 
            [cache_results] => 1
            [update_post_term_cache] => 1
            [lazy_load_term_meta] => 1
            [update_post_meta_cache] => 1
            [posts_per_page] => 10
            [nopaging] => 
            [comments_per_page] => 200
            [no_found_rows] => 
        )

    [tax_query] => WP_Tax_Query Object
        (
            [queries] => Array
                (
                )

            [relation] => AND
            [table_aliases:protected] => Array
                (
                )

            [queried_terms] => Array
                (
                )

            [primary_table] => ali_posts
            [primary_id_column] => ID
        )

    [meta_query] => WP_Meta_Query Object
        (
            [queries] => Array
                (
                )

            [relation] => 
            [meta_table] => 
            [meta_id_column] => 
            [primary_table] => 
            [primary_id_column] => 
            [table_aliases:protected] => Array
                (
                )

            [clauses:protected] => Array
                (
                )

            [has_or_relation:protected] => 
        )

    [date_query] => 
    [post_count] => 10
    [current_post] => -1
    [in_the_loop] => 
    [comment_count] => 0
    [current_comment] => -1
    [found_posts] => 14
    [max_num_pages] => 2
    [max_num_comment_pages] => 0
    [is_single] => 
    [is_preview] => 
    [is_page] => 
    [is_archive] => 1
    [is_date] => 
    [is_year] => 
    [is_month] => 
    [is_day] => 
    [is_time] => 
    [is_author] => 
    [is_category] => 
    [is_tag] => 
    [is_tax] => 
    [is_search] => 
    [is_feed] => 
    [is_comment_feed] => 
    [is_trackback] => 
    [is_home] => 
    [is_404] => 
    [is_embed] => 
    [is_paged] => 
    [is_admin] => 
    [is_attachment] => 
    [is_singular] => 
    [is_robots] => 
    [is_posts_page] => 
    [is_post_type_archive] => 1
    [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => 847dfd764e8a01494edb0bd84eaa8254
    [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => 
    [thumbnails_cached] => 
    [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => 
    [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array
        (
            [0] => query_vars_hash
            [1] => query_vars_changed
        )

    [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array
        (
            [0] => init_query_flags
            [1] => parse_tax_query
        )

    [query] => Array
        (
            [post_type] => planet-english
            [post__not_in] => Array
                (
                    [0] => 12372
                )

            [post_status] => publish
            [orderby] => date
            [order] => DESC
            [monthnum] => 0
            [year] => 0
            [paged] => 0
        )

    [request] => SELECT SQL_CALC_FOUND_ROWS  ali_posts.ID FROM ali_posts  WHERE 1=1  AND ali_posts.ID NOT IN (12372) AND ali_posts.post_type = 'planet-english' AND ((ali_posts.post_status = 'publish'))  ORDER BY ali_posts.post_date DESC LIMIT 0, 10
    [posts] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 12615
                    [post_author] => 10
                    [post_date] => 2017-05-03 18:37:51
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-03 16:37:51
                    [post_content] => In 1969 an accident happened on an oil rig off the coast of California. Between 13,000 and 16,000 cubic metres of crude oil spilled into the sea. The oil polluted the water and killed fish, birds and other marine animals. It was an ecological disaster, and it wasn’t the first one. Modern industrial society had been causing more and more damage to the environment. After the oil rig accident, American senator Gaylord Nelson decided that it was time for a great rally in defense of mother Earth, so he helped organize the first Earth Day, which was held on 22 April 1970. Some twenty million people participated. The organizers claimed that the world – our only home – was in grave danger. Famous journalist Walter Cronkite summarized their message: “half-way measures and business as usual cannot possibly pull us back from the edge of the precipice. […] What is at stake, and what is in question, is survival.”

 

The precipice

Even though humanity was (and is) heading towards a precipice, not much has changed. People have continued to injure and ruin the very world in which they live, extracting and consuming its resources without thinking of the consequences. Pollution is worse than ever. For example, it was recently estimated that 500 billion plastic bags end up in the sea every year. 15 billion trees are lost each year. Human activity is also causing the extinction of many plant and animal species. Scientists claim that the last time so many species disappeared was 66 million years ago when a huge asteroid hit the Earth and killed all the dinosaurs. This time, we are the asteroid! Over the years something else has become apparent: not only are we making our planet dirtier, we’re also making it warmer. This will cause the climate to become unpredictable and dangerous. According to most scientists, global warming is the greatest threat humanity will face in the 21st century.  

Hope

Ecologists, though, have not given up. Earth Day has been celebrated every year since 1970, and in 1990 it became a global event. More and more people around the world are taking action to protect the environment. Even politicians are slowly responding to the pressure of scientists and concerned citizens. Last year, during Earth Day 2016, 175 countries signed the Paris Agreement, a commitment to fight global warming. (See our January 2016 article “COP 21 Trying to save planet Earth”.) This year, Earth Day was accompanied by another event: the March for Science. This was a series of rallies and marches held in more than 600 cities around the world aimed at reminding politicians, and people in general, of the importance of science. Science can tell us what we’re doing wrong, and it can help us find solutions to save the environment.  

Tomorrow’s leaders

Earth Day 2017 was celebrated in more than 200 countries. Festivals, rallies and all kinds of events encouraged people to be more environmentally friendly. Earth Day organizers stressed the importance of supporting politicians with a ‘green’ agenda, and they encouraged the development and use of green forms of energy, like solar and wind power. They also suggested some simple actions that everybody could take to help the environment, like planting a tree (or donating money to help someone else plant one for you), eating less meat, and stopping using disposable plastic. Education, they claim, should also play a part: a school is the perfect place in which to learn how to become more environmentally friendly. As the organizers of Earth Day write: “today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders.” This is a great responsibility but also a great opportunity to make the world a better place.
Useful links 1) Here is the Earth Day official website: http://www.earthday.org/ 2) Help Earth Day reach three billion ‘acts of green’: http://www.earthday.org/take-action/ 3) Learn about green schools and what you and your school can do for the environment: http://www.earthday.org/campaigns/education/ 4) Here are five more things you can do to help save the world: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/apr/19/earth-day-five-things-to-make-a-difference-plastic-paper-towels 5) How much do you know about the environment? Take a quiz: https://www.infoplease.com/science-health/environment/earth-day-quizzes-games-activities?gclid=CKiZ24GmwtMCFVAQ0wodBWoOyQ 6) Do you want to know more about the March for Science? Here’s its official website: https://satellites.marchforscience.com/
 
  COMPREHENSION 1) Read the article and complete the sentences with the right alternative. 1. The oil spill of 1969 was
  1. caused by Gaylord Nelson.
  2. the only ecological disaster of its kind.
  3. one of many such events.
2. Walter Cronkite said that
  1. we can continue with business as usual.
  2. we are in grave danger.
  3. we are falling down a precipice.
3. The cause of pollution is
  1. industrial society.
  2. oil rigs.
  3. plastic bags.
4. Scientists say that we are as dangerous as
  1. an asteroid.
  2. dinosaurs
  3. global warming.
5. Scientists claim that
  1. global warming is very dangerous.
  2. global warming will be solved in the 21st
  3. global warming is not as dangerous as pollution.
5. Scientists are saying that we are
  1. extracting and consuming resources.
  2. unpredictable and dangerous.
  3. polluting and heating the planet.
6. Earth Day was celebrated in
  1. 175 countries.
  2. 200 countries.
  3. 600 cities.
7. The March for Science
  1. always accompanies Earth Day.
  2. was celebrated this year, for the first time.
  3. was celebrated in 1990.
8. Earth Day is organized
  1. by politicians with a ‘green’ agenda.
  2. by schools.
  3. by ecologists.
9. Earth Day organizers in the importance of schools because schools
  1. can teach the importance of ecology.
  2. can organize rallies.
  3. can support politicians.
  VOCABULARY 2) Complete the sentences with the following words. Put the verbs and nouns in the right form, if necessary. to injure  *  unpredictable  *  to respond  *  agenda  *  precipice  *  claim  *  oil rig  *  rally  *  commitment  *  to pollute 1. The politician’s ______ is the list of things he plans to do. 2. The workers got together in a ______ to protest against the government. 3. The edge of a steep cliff is called a ______. 4. The smoke from that factory ______ the air. 5. A ______ is a formal agreement. 6. ______ means to answer. 7. Scientists can prove their ______ with very detailed evidence. 8. I never know what she’ll do next. She’s ______. 9. ______ means to cause harm. 10. An ______ is a platform that has machinery that drills oil from underground.     GRAMMAR – Interrogative pronouns 3) Complete the sentences choosing the correct interrogative pronoun (who, whom, whose, which, what, where, when, why, how).   1. Who/Whom helped organize the first Earth Day? 2. When/What and where/how was the first Earth Day held? 3. Where/Why do scientists claim that the environment is in danger? 4. How/Where was the oil rig that caused the oil spill? Whose/Who fault was it? 5. How/Which successful was the March for Science? 6. Who/What was the message that the event tried to convey? 7. Which/Whom animals are risking extinction? 8. Who/Whom are you going to invite to the rally? 9. Who/What caused the extinction of the dinosaurs? 10. What/Where is the Paris Agreement and when/why is it important?     SHORT ESSAY 4) Look at the ‘acts of green’ listed on the Earth Day official website. Which ones can you do or are you already doing? In what way are these actions important for the environment? (60-80 words)   5) Do you think it’s easy to be ecologically friendly, or is it difficult? Explain. (60-80 words)
(Carlo Dellonte) (Image credits: NASA, flickr and Tom Hilton, flickr ) [post_title] => Earth Day 2017 [post_excerpt] => On April 22, Earth Day was celebrated in more than 200 countries around the world. This yearly event was first held in the US in 1970. Earth Day wants to promote the protection of the environment. Its organizers say that we all have to act, and act now. We stand on the edge of environmental disaster and what is at stake is our very survival. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => earth-day-2017 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-26 09:50:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-26 07:50:11 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/?post_type=planet-english&p=12615 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => planet-english [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 3 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 12148 [post_author] => 10 [post_date] => 2017-02-27 20:55:01 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-02-27 19:55:01 [post_content] => Winston Churchill was one of the most influential politicians of the 20th century. He was the Prime Minister of Britain during the Second World War, from 1940 to 1945. He became famous for directing the war effort against the Nazis, but also for his powerful, inspiring speeches. These radio broadcasts helped keep up the morale of the British during the war. Churchill was also a prolific writer. He wrote articles, biographies and histories, and he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953 “for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values.” Incredibly, one of his articles was discovered a few days ago inside a box in a museum in Missouri. The article, written in 1938 and never published, is not about politics or history, but about science. It is titled “Are We Alone in the Universe?”  

War of the Worlds

Churchill was interested in science, and he wrote articles on biology and physics. He was also a fan of science-fiction writer H.G. Wells, author of “The War of the Worlds”, a novel about Martians invading Earth. Shortly before Churchill wrote his article, Wells’ novel was adapted into a radio drama. Some of the listeners thought that the Martians’ invasion was real, and panicked. While many ordinary people believed in Martians, few scientists did. Most claimed that planets were extremely rare in the universe and that, probably, life existed only on Earth. Churchill disagreed. In his article he writes: “I am not sufficiently conceited to think that my sun is the only one with a family of planets.” He also writes that he is not “so immensely impressed by the success […] of our civilization” as to believe that we are alone, or that we represent “the highest type of mental and physical development” of life in the universe. His answer to the title of his article is therefore “no!”  

Exoplanets

Today we seem to be on the verge of confirming Churchill’s hypothesis. The first step has been to find ‘exoplanets’, planets outside the solar system. The first confirmed exoplanet was found in 1992. Since then, thanks to powerful new telescopes, more than 3000 exoplanets have been discovered. It is too early to say if there is life on any of them. Surely, not all of them can harbour life, or at least life as we know it. As Churchill wrote, quite correctly, life can exist “between a few degrees of frost and the boiling point of water.” Some exoplanets are too hot, while others are too cold. An exoplanet needs to orbit in the so-called ‘Goldilocks zone’, a habitable zone around a star where the conditions are just right for life to exist. Scientists now estimate that our galaxy, the Milky Way, might contain between 11 and 40 billion habitable Earth-sized planets. Quite a change from when they thought planets were extremely rare!  

Trappist-1

One of the most exciting discoveries was announced on 22nd February. “New record!” tweeted Nasa. “We’ve found 7 Earth-sized planets around a single star outside our solar system; 3 in habitable zone.” The star is called Trappist-1, and it is 39 light-years away. Although only three of its planets are in the Goldilocks zone, all seven could be habitable if they have the right atmospheric conditions. This means that all seven could harbour life. In the coming months, the Trappist-1 star system will be studied in greater detail using space telescopes. These high-tech instruments will study the planets’ atmospheres and find out what chemicals they contain. Astronomer Michael Gillon, the leader of the international team that discovered the seven planets, says that if certain chemicals are found in the right proportions, then it “would tell us that there is life with 99% confidence.” The time for speculations seems to be over. The discovery of life in the universe is probably just around the corner.
Useful links 1) Learn more about Winston Churchill using Wikipedia Simple English... https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winston_Churchill ...and the Nobel Prize website: https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1953/churchill-facts.html 2) Read about Churchill’s article “Are We Alone in the Universe?”: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/feb/15/winston-churchill-essay-alien-life-discovered-us-college-are-we-alone-in-the-universe 3)  Listen to “The War of the Worlds” radio drama: http://www.mercurytheatre.info/ 4) Read about the 7 Earth-sized planets orbiting Trappist-1 and get a  free poster! https://exoplanets.nasa.gov/news/1419/nasa-telescope-reveals-largest-batch-of-earth-size-habitable-zone-planets-around-single-star/ 5) Explore the exoplanets discovered by Nasa: https://exoplanets.nasa.gov/ 6) You can follow Nasa on social media: https://www.nasa.gov/socialmedia

COMPREHENSION

1) Read the article and complete the sentences with the right alternative.

1. Winston Churchill became Prime Minister in
  1. 1938.
  2. 1940.
  3. 1945.
2. Winston Churchill won the Nobel Prize for writing
  1. fiction.
  2. non-fiction.
  3. newspaper articles.
3. Winston Churchill
  1. wrote “The War of the Worlds.”
  2. adapted “The War of the Worlds” into a radio drama.
  3. admired the author of “The War of the Worlds.”
4. “The War of the Worlds” radio drama
  1. scared Winston Churchill.
  2. scared many people.
  3. scared scientists.
5. In the 1930s most scientists believed that
  1. we were probably alone in the universe.
  2. the universe was full of life.
  3. the universe was full of planets.
6. Looking at human civilization, Churchill reflected that
  1. we could not possibly be the highest form of life in the universe.
  2. we had to be the highest form of life in the universe.
  3. we could be the highest form of life in the universe.
7. An exoplanet is a planet
  1. with the right conditions for life to develop.
  2. orbiting our sun.
  3. orbiting a star other than our sun.
8. When Churchill wrote his article, the first exoplanet
  1. had just been discovered.
  2. still had to be discovered.
  3. was found in the Goldylock zone.
9. The seven planets of Trappist-1
  1. have liquid water.
  2. are approximately as large as the Earth.
  3. are in the habitable zone.
10. Michael Gillon declared that
  1. there’s a 99% chance that there’s life in the universe.
  2. there’s life in the Trappist-1 star system.
  3. a specific atmosphere points to the presence of life.
 

VOCABULARY

2) Complete the sentences with the following words. Put the verbs and nouns in the right form, if necessary.

to harbour  *  conceited  *  oratory  *  to exalt  *  prolific  *  mastery  *  hypothesis  *  habitable  *  to estimate  *  influential

1. You can’t say that this house is ______ (habitable): it has no roof! 2. A ______ (conceited) person is vain and egotistic. 3. An unproven theory is called a ______ (hypothesis). 4. She has complete ______ (mastery) of English, but she knows very little French. 5. He wrote 30 novels. He is a very ______ (prolific) writer. 6. The art of public speaking is called ______ (oratory). 7. ______ ( To harbour) means to provide a safe place for something. 8. Many historians ______ (exalt) Churchill, claiming he was the best British political figure. 9. Scientists ______ (estimate) that only a very small percentage of exoplanets is habitable. 10. H.G. Wells was an ______ (influential) writer: he is considered the father of science fiction.  

GRAMMAR – Prepositions of time

3) Complete the sentences choosing the correct preposition of time.

1. Winston Churchill was born in/at November. 2. Churchill made many inspiring speeches during/since the war. 3. Churchill was Prime Minister for the second time in/from 1951 to/by 1955. 4. “The War of the Worlds” was published on/in 1897. 5. “The War of the Worlds” radio drama aired in/on Halloween: it aired at/from 8 pm on/in 31st October 1938. 6. The discovery of the 7 planets was made public on/at Wednesday, 22nd February. 7. “We will discover life in the universe by/since the end of the decade,” said the scientist. 8. My friends arrived in/on time. 9. From/Since ancient times, humans have dreamed of reaching the stars. 10. I love watching the sky at/during night at/in summer.  

SHORT ESSAY

4) How would you answer the question: “are we alone in the universe?” Give reasons for your answer. (60-80 words)

5) What if scientists discover life on another planet? What if they discover another advanced civilization? What do you think the reaction and consequences would be on planet Earth? (60-80 words)

(Carlo Dellonte) (Image credits: Wikipedia and NASA) [post_title] => Are we alone in the Universe? [post_excerpt] => Winston Churchill was an influential politician, but also a prolific writer with an interest in science. A lost and unpublished article by Churchill was recently found in a museum in Missouri. It’s titled “Are We Alone in the Universe?” and the timing of its discovery seemed perfect: astronomers might be on the verge of finally answering that question. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => are-we-alone-in-the-universe [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-03-31 11:26:01 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-03-31 09:26:01 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/?post_type=planet-english&p=12148 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => planet-english [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 11875 [post_author] => 10 [post_date] => 2017-01-26 10:10:29 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-01-26 09:10:29 [post_content] =>

Just five days into 2017, London exceeded its annual air pollution limit. This means that in those five days dangerous quantities of pollutants were found in London’s air more times than is legally permitted for the whole year. Besides damaging the environment, air pollution causes several health problems. In the short term it produces conditions such as coughing and asthma, and in the long term it can lead to lung damage and serious diseases. Approximately 9,000 Londoners a year die prematurely because of air pollution. MPs called the situation a “public health emergency” and the new mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, promised to take action. He wants to make London one of the world’s greenest cities. But can he truly solve a centuries-old problem?

 

London particular

The problem of London’s polluted air goes as far back as the thirteenth century. At the time, the problem was coal smoke from chimneys: Londoners burned coal in their homes to cook and keep warm. This problem worsened as London became more populous. In 1661, writer John Evelyn said that the burning of coal had turned London into ‘Hell upon Earth’. In the nineteenth century, industries began pumping even more smoke into the air. This smoke mixed with the fogs of the Thames Valley and formed what became famously – or infamously – known as smog. London’s smog was full of soot and poisonous gases. This smog was so typical of London that it was called ‘London particular’, and it was so thick that it was also called ‘pea soup’. Attempts were made to pass laws to solve the situation, but without success. Then disaster struck in 1952.

 

The Great Killer Fog

In December 1952, due to special weather conditions, Londoners were trapped in the worst air-pollution event in the history of the UK. The Great Smog, or the Great Killer Fog, was so bad that flights were grounded, traffic restricted, and various events had to be cancelled. Firemen had to walk in front of their vehicles to see where they were going. The smog even seeped indoors. A performance of La Traviata at Sadler’s Wells was suspended because the audience couldn’t see the stage. The Great Smog lasted less than a week, but it killed 12,000 people. This tragedy made health and environmental concerns so urgent that parliament was forced to do something. In 1956 it passed the Clean Air Act, which introduced measures to clampdown on pollutants that caused smog. London’s air began to clear up, but over the years the old, visible pollutants, such as coal smoke, were replaced by new, invisible ones.

 

Clean Air Now!

Some people think that politicians are once again taking too much time to solve the problem. A group of artists, photographers and 16 to 25-year-old volunteers decided to take action themselves, and they set up the Clean Air Now campaign. Over the course of the last few months, they have used large posters, billboards and street art to raise awareness about the illegal levels of London’s air pollution. They hung their posters and art in some of London’s most polluted areas. “The idea was to take billboard space for something other than advertising,” said one of the organizers. “Billboards, due to their size and scale, are a great way to talk about this issue – they hover over London just like the pollution itself.” Although today’s pollutants can’t be seen, 20 x 12-foot posters can! The activists hope that their action will support the mayor’s plan to clean up London’s air.

Useful links

1) Read about London’s current air pollution problem:

http://www.clientearth.org/london-breaches-annual-air-pollution-limits-five-days/

2) Look at these pictures of the Great Smog of London and read the captions:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/gallery/2012/dec/05/60-years-great-smog-london-in-pictures

3) Watch this video to learn more about the Great Smog of 1952:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtjBz_es4wU

4) Watch this other video to learn more about today’s situation:

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-20615186

5) Explore the Clean Air Now website:

http://cleanairnow.org.uk/home/

 

COMPREHENSION

1) Read the article and complete the sentences with the right alternative.

1. Air pollution is bad for
  1. people.
  2. the environment.
  3. both people and the environment.
2. Sadiq Khan said that
  1. London is one of the world’s greenest cities.
  2. London’s air is a public health emergency.
  3. he will do something against air pollution.
3. Back in the thirteenth century London was
  1. ‘Hell upon Earth.’
  2. a polluted city.
  3. a city with clean air.
4. John Evelyn lived in the
  1. thirteenth century.
  2. seventeenth century.
  3. nineteenth century.
5. The Great Smog of 1952 lasted
  1. just a few days.
  2. a whole year.
  3. a month.
6. ‘London particular’ and ‘pea soup’
  1. are two different kinds of smog.
  2. both refer to the same thing.
  3. are a mix of soot and poisonous gases.
7. Unlike the new pollutants, the old ones
  1. produced a very thick smog.
  2. killed people.
  3. were not produced by human activity.
8. The activists of Clean Air Now
  1. want to tell people about the problem of air pollution.
  2. use billboards to advertise commercial products.
  3. think that politicians are doing a good job reducing air pollution.
9. The activists of Clean Air Now chose to use billboards
  1. because they hover over London just like the air pollution.
  2. because they can be found in London’s most polluted areas.
  3. because they are huge and easy to see.
10. The activists of Clean Air Now
  1. work for the mayor.
  2. hope to help the mayor.
  3. are against the mayor.
 

VOCABULARY

2) Complete the sentences with the following words. Put the verbs and nouns in the right form, if necessary.

hover  *  to seep  *  populous  *  to exceed  *  MP  *  to ground  *  billboard  *  to clamp down  *  soot  *  mayor

1. Yesterday, a police helicopter ______ over the street demonstration. 2. This roof is not waterproof: water is ______ in and dripping all over the place! 3. You’re driving too fast! You’re ______ the speed limit! 4. The most ______ countries in the world are China and India. 5. ______ is an abbreviation that stands for Member of Parliament. 6. That’s it young man! No more coming home late! You’re ______ for a week! 7. Today, advertisements are everywhere. Look at all the ______ along this road. 8. The police promised ______ on crime and make the city safe again. 9. I cleaned the chimney and now look at me: I’m black with ______. 10. The ______ is the head of the government of a city.  

GRAMMAR – Future forms (present simple, present continuous, will, shall, be going to)

3) Complete the sentences choosing the correct future form.

1. Hurry up. Your flight for London will leave/leaves in one hour. 2. I’m sure you will have/have a wonderful time in London. 3. Shall we join/Are we joining the Clean Air Now campaign? I think we should. 4. The demonstration is going to start/starts at 3 pm – don’t be late! 5. It’s very cloudy today. Shall I get/Will I get my umbrella? 6. The pollution problem is so great that it is going to take/shall take ages to solve it. 7. Who knows if the mayor will succeed/is going to succeed in making London a green city? 8. I am meeting/meet the mayor tomorrow to tell him about our campaign. 9. She is coming/shall come tomorrow. We arranged to meet at the train station. 10. London’s air pollution is getting worse and worse. We are never breathing/are never going to breathe clean air in this city!  

SHORT ESSAY

4) Do some research on one ecological disaster caused by humans. What caused it and what was done to remedy it? (60-80 words)

5) What could be done to fight pollution and/or improve the air quality of your town/city? (60-80 words)

(Carlo Dellonte) (Image credits: Iain Buchanan, flickr and shirokazan, flickr)   [post_title] => Young Londoners' war on air pollution [post_excerpt] => Just five days into 2017, London exceeded its annual air pollution limit. London’s polluted air is a centuries-old problem. A group of young activists believe that too little has been done for too long. With their campaign Clean Air Now they hope to raise awareness of the problem and to pressure politicians to improve, once and for all, London’s air quality. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => young-londoners-war-on-air-pollution [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-02-27 20:56:06 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-02-27 19:56:06 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/?post_type=planet-english&p=11875 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => planet-english [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 2 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 11782 [post_author] => 10 [post_date] => 2016-12-30 11:44:51 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-12-30 10:44:51 [post_content] =>

On 20 January the presidency of Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States, comes to an end. Many Americans, as well as many people around the world, will miss him. Obama’s slogan, when he campaigned for the presidency eight years ago was ‘Yes we can.’ He believed that when people come together anything is possible. He is the living proof of this: he is the first African American to be elected President, and this was possible because millions of people, for decades, fought against racism and for civil rights and social justice. His policies as President were aimed at a fairer society. For example, he wanted to provide health care to those who didn’t have it. He also fought hard against unemployment and climate change. In foreign policy he favoured negotiations rather than aggressive action. In 2009 he won the Nobel Peace Prize “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”

 

President-Elect

Obama’s successor is New York billionaire Donald Trump. Trump comes from a very rich family. He will be the richest American President in history. He will also be the oldest: Trump is 70. He has been a businessman and real-estate developer. He built skyscrapers, palaces, parks, casinos, golf courses. Trump Tower is probably his most famous building: a very luxurious 200-metre building in Manhattan. In recent years Trump was also a television personality, hosting the popular programme The Apprentice where he judged the business skills of a series of contestants. Trump’s interest in politics grew over the years. He wanted to run for President already in 2000, but eventually decided not to. Few took him seriously when he decided to run again in 2015. Could a celebrity businessman with no political experience really compete against professional politicians?

 

Campaigning

Donald Trump was one of the Republican Party’s 17 candidates for President. Trump campaigned with the slogan ‘Make America Great Again’, appealing to the patriotism of Americans. Trump claimed that Washington was ‘broken’, run by corrupt politicians and controlled by lobbyists. He presented himself as an outsider who could ‘shake up’ the political system and give it back to the people. Despite being a billionaire, many of his electors said about him: “he’s one of us.” His critics said that he was just talking to the ‘belly’ of the nation, appealing to the fear, anger and pride of the Republican electors, often making unrealistic promises. Over the course of a few months, though, he emerged as the most popular Republican candidate, and he won the party’s nomination.

 

Person of the Year

At the general election Donald Trump faced the candidate of the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton, the first woman to be nominated for President by a major US political party. She represented continuity with Barack Obama. They both belong to the same party, and Clinton’s slogan – ‘Stronger together’ – recalled the solidarity of Obama’s ‘Yes We Can’. Clinton’s critics said that she was part of the political elite, no longer in touch with the everyday problems of Americans. Most polls, though, said that she was going to win the presidency. They were wrong: Donald Trump won instead. Waiting to see what he will do as President, Time Magazine elected him ‘Person of the Year 2016’. Time gives this title to the year’s most influential person, for better or worse. “So which is it this year,” asks Time, “better or worse?” America is divided on the answer. Will Donald Trump, a person known for his unpredictability, be a good President? Only time will tell.

Useful links

1) Here’s a short biography of President Barack Obama: https://www.whitehouse.gov/1600/presidents/barackobama

2) Explore the White House, where the President lives and works: https://www.whitehouse.gov/about/inside-white-house

3) Take a tour of the West Wing of the White House, where the President has his office: https://www.whitehouse.gov/about/inside-white-house/west-wing-tour

4) Learn more about President-elect Donald Trump http://www.timeforkids.com/news/meet-donald-j-trump/415956

5) Learn more about the election of Donald Trump: http://www.timeforkids.com/news/election-remember/496771

COMPREHENSION

1) Read the article and complete the sentences with the right alternative.

1. Barack Obama’s slogan promoted
  1. a solidarity.
  2. personal success.
  3. racism.
2. Barack Obama fought hard to increase
  1. unemployment.
  2. climate change.
  3. employment.
3. Trump was
  1. of humble origins.
  2. very rich.
  3. very poor.
4. Trump was
  1. the host of The Apprentice.
  2. a contestant on The Apprentice.
  3. the creator of The Apprentice.
5. Many Americans think that Donald Trump should not be President because
  1. he is too rich.
  2. he has no political experience.
  3. he is a television personality.
6. Donald Trump’s slogan is
  1. ‘Make America Great Again’.
  2. ‘Stronger Together’.
  3. ‘He’s One Of Us’.
7. Donald Trump’s critics said:
  1. “He’s one of us.”
  2. “He speaks to the belly of the nation.”
  3. “Washington is run by corrupt politicians.”
8. Hillary Clinton was criticized because
  1. she represented continuity with Obama.
  2. she doesn’t know the problems of Americans.
  3. she doesn’t believe in solidarity.
9. The polls said that the next President would be
  1. Clinton.
  2. Obama.
  3. Trump.
10. Trump was elected Time’s Person of the Year 2016 because
  1. he won the presidency.
  2. he is unpredictable.
  3. he was the most influential person of the year.
 

VOCABULARY

2) Complete the sentences with the following words.

to campaign *  policy  *  unemployment  *  billionaire *  to appeal  *  elite  *  lobbyist  *  outsider  *  influential  *  to recall

1. Youth ______ is a big problem: 20% of young people don’t have a job. 2. He travels the state to speak to the people and to tell them what he would do if they elect him: he’s ______ to become President. 3. To ______ means to bring back to mind, to remember. 4. They are wealthy and privileged; most people consider them the country’s ______. 5. Powerful companies try to have a say in politics using ______, people whose job is to influence the decisions of politicians. 6. A ______ is a person who has at least a thousand millions. 7. Nobody thought he would win the race, everybody called him an ______, but he defeated the champion. 8. That politician ______ to me: he’s offering solutions to my problems. 9. Her foreign ______ was this: international disputes must be solved through peaceful means. 10. Everybody does what he says. He’s incredibly ______.  

GRAMMAR – Modal verbs (may/might for possibility)

3) Complete the sentences using the modal verbs will, may, might

1. Barack Obama ______ remain in politics, but he ______ decide to do something else. 2. Donald Trump ______ be President at the end of January. He ______ be reelected in 2020. 3. Trump ______ be a good President, but I doubt it. 4. I’m sure that many of Trump’s electors ______ vote for him again in 2020. 5. There’s a rumor that Michelle Obama, Barack’s wife, ______ run for President in 2020. 6. Barack Obama said quite clearly that he ______ not write a book about his presidency, and I believe him. 7. He ______ not know much about politics now, but I’m sure he ______ learn quickly. 8. Trump declared that he ______ make America great again. 9. ______ you vote for Trump in 2020? 10. I ______ vote for him in 2020. It depends on what he does as President.  

SHORT ESSAY

4) According to you, what qualities should a political leader have and why?

5) Do some research on Barack Obama and Donald Trump, then compare and contrast them.

(Carlo Dellonte) (Image credits: The White House, YouTube and Gage Skidmore, flickr) [post_title] => Exit Obama, enter Trump [post_excerpt] => On 20 January the presidency of Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States, comes to an end. His successor is businessman, television personality and billionaire Donald Trump. Few took him seriously when he decided to run for President, but his campaign proved very successful. Learn more about the American general elections and President-elect Donald Trump. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => exit-obama-enter-trump [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-01-26 10:10:56 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-01-26 09:10:56 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/?post_type=planet-english&p=11782 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => planet-english [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 10 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 11546 [post_author] => 10 [post_date] => 2016-11-28 16:13:34 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-11-28 15:13:34 [post_content] =>

Back in the 19th century, the Swedish scientist and businessman Alfred Nobel invented dynamite and other explosives. A French newspaper called him a “merchant of death” who “became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before”. Nobel did not want to be remembered like this, so he decided to leave his fortune to people who make the world a better place. To do so, he created the Nobel Prize. Each year the Prize is awarded to eminent people in the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and peace. Today the Nobel Prize is considered the most prestigious award in these fields. Authors who write in English have dominated the Literature Prize with 28 winners out of 113 (plus 3 who wrote both in English and in another language). Among them are 11 American, 10 British and 4 Irish writers. The winners are chosen by the members of the Swedish Academy, helped by the advice of scholars from around the world. Not everybody agrees with the choices of the Academy, but no choice was more controversial than this year’s.

 

Are songs literature?

This year’s Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded not to a novelist, nor to a poet, nor to a playwright, but, for the first time, to a singer-songwriter: the American music legend Bob Dylan. The Academy chose him because he created “new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.” Many writers and critics around the world praised the decision. Others agreed that it was time for an American writer to win the Prize – the last one was Tony Morrison who won it 23 years ago – but they believed that novelists like Philip Roth or Don DeLillo were far more deserving than Bob Dylan. Some claimed that songs belong to a different art form: they are not literature. Others said that even if one considers songs literature, Bob Dylan’s lyrics did not deserve a Nobel Prize. The heated debate continued, and while the world was discussing him, Bob Dylan said nothing.

 

Speechless or arrogant?

Bob Dylan did not comment on winning the Prize. Many wondered: was he going to refuse it? For sure, he was ignoring it. The Swedish Academy tried to get in touch with him, but it gave up after more than ten days of failed attempts. One of its members suggested that Dylan was being “impolite and arrogant.” A few more days passed and finally Dylan called the Academy and said that winning the Prize left him “speechless.” He accepted the Prize but he wasn’t sure if he could attend the Nobel ceremony on 10 December. Again the world wondered: was he being rude a second time? The days passed and finally Dylan said that he was not going to the Nobel ceremony due to “pre-existing commitments.” What could be more important than receiving from the hands of the King of Sweden the greatest literary prize in the world?

 

Prizes and artistic freedom

The critics of Bob Dylan’s attitude probably did not consider that not all writers approve of the Nobel Prize. In 1925 Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw almost refused it. He wittily said: “I can forgive Alfred Nobel for having invented dynamite, but only a fiend in human form could have invented the Nobel Prize.” He probably considered prizes fit for competitions, not for art forms such as literature. In 1964, French writer Jean-Paul Sartre won the Prize but refused it. He claimed that a writer should be free and should not be “institutionalised.” Bob Dylan differs from Shaw and Sartre because he accepted the Prize and seems to consider it important. His attitude, though, seems to suggest that he also believes, like Shaw and Sartre, that artistic freedom is more important. Writers write for personal reasons or to communicate with their readers, not to win prizes. If they win them, that’s fine, but it’s no big deal. Even if it is the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Useful links

1) Watch this video to learn more about the Nobel Prize: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94YQ3el6LMc

2) Here is the official page of the Nobel Prize in Literature: https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/

3) Find out some interesting facts about the Nobel Prize in Literature: https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/facts/literature/index.html

4) What do you know about this year’s winner? Learn more about Bob Dylan here: https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/2016/bio-bibl.html

5) George Bernard Shaw was famous for his intelligent, often witty remarks: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/g/george_bernard_shaw.html

COMPREHENSION

1) Read the article and complete the sentences with the right alternative.

1. Alfred Nobel was criticized because
  1. his inventions were dangerous.
  2. he created the Nobel Prize.
  3. he became rich.
2. The winners of the Nobel Prize are chosen by
  1. Alfred Nobel.
  2. the Swedish Academy.
  3. scholars from around the world.
3. So far, the winners of the Prize who wrote in English are
  1. 113.
  2. 28.
  3. 31.
4. Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize because of his
  1. novels.
  2. plays.
  3. songs.
5. One of the 11 American Nobel Prize winners for Literature is
  1. Tony Morrison.
  2. Philip Roth.
  3. George Bernard Shaw.
6. The Swedish Academy called Bob Dylan, but
  1. Dylan answered that he was busy.
  2. they couldn’t get through.
  3. Dylan said that he was not interested in the Prize.
7. Bob Dylan
  1. said he will accept the Nobel Prize on 10 December.
  2. refused the Nobel Prize.
  3. accepted the Nobel Prize.
8. George Bernard Shaw said that
  1. dynamite was a worse invention than the Nobel Prize.
  2. the Nobel Prize was a worse invention than dynamite.
  3. he did not want to be “institutionalised.”
9. The Nobel Prize was refused by
  1. George Bernard Shaw.
  2. Bob Dylan.
  3. Jean-Paul Sartre.
10. Dylan, Shaw and Sartre believe in
  1. artistic freedom.
  2. the importance of literary prizes.
  3. the importance of the Nobel Prize.
 

VOCABULARY

2) Complete the sentences with the following words.

eminent  *  speechless  *  commitment  *  wit  *  merchant  *  lyrics  *  fortune  *  field  *  scholar  *  fiend

1. The surprise made her so happy that it left her ______. 2. Shaw was full of ______: he could always make funny and intelligent remarks. 3. The words of a song are called ______. 4. When he died, the rich businessman left a ______ to his children. 5. A ______ is a large open space, but it can also mean a specific area or subject of human activity. 6. A ______ is a devilish, evil person. 7. If you promise to do something, you are making a ______. 8. Einstein was an ______ physicist: he was among the best scientists of his age. 9. A person who works buying and selling goods is called a ______. 10. That professor is a Latin ______: he’s been studying that ancient language all his life.  

GRAMMAR – Conjunctions

3) Complete the sentences using the following conjunctions:

because  (x2) *  unless  * although  while  *  that  *  whereas  *  when  *  if  *  but

1. Alfred Nobel was called a “merchant of death” ______ he invented dynamite. 2. Alfred Nobel was so shocked by the criticism ______ he decided to become a philanthropist. 3. ______ the Academy announced the winner, the journalists let out a gasp of surprise. 4. ______ he is a songwriter, Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize in Literature. 5. ______ Bob Dylan remained silent, the world talked about him. 6. Many critics agreed with the Academy’s choice, ______ many others did not. 7. A member of the Academy said that Bob Dylan was rude  ______ he did not answer the Academy’s calls. 8. Bob Dylan said he would go to the Ceremony ______ he had previous commitments. 9. “______ I have nothing else to do, I will come,” he said. 10. Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize, ______ Philip Roth did not.  

SHORT ESSAY

4) Who is your favourite writer? Why do you like his/her work? Has he/she taught you something important? (60-80 words)

5) Do some research on Bob Dylan or on another Nobel Prize winner, then write about him/her. (60-80 words)

 --- (Carlo Dellonte) (Image credits: mtarvainen, flickr and Francisco Antunes, flickr)

 

[post_title] => Bob Dylan wins the Nobel Prize [post_excerpt] => On 13 October the Swedish Academy announced the winner of this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature. The Nobel Prize is the most important literary award in the world and this year’s winner was the most controversial ever. Not only because he was the first songwriter to win the Prize, but also because for weeks nobody knew if he was going to accept it. Learn more about the Nobel Prize in Literature and this year’s winner: American rock legend Bob Dylan. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => bob-dylan-wins-the-nobel-prize [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-12-30 11:16:59 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-12-30 10:16:59 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/?post_type=planet-english&p=11546 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => planet-english [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 11361 [post_author] => 10 [post_date] => 2016-11-02 15:29:40 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-11-02 14:29:40 [post_content] =>

Fear is not a pleasant emotion, but most people like a little thrill in their lives. Some people might enjoy reading a horror novel, others might like riding on a ghost train in an amusement park. Strangely, being frightened can be fun. One of the year’s most beloved celebrations, Halloween, revolves around fear. On that day, many adults sit at home to watch horror films, and many children go trick-or-treating, dressed as scary creatures such as vampires, ghosts, zombies and witches. But this year’s Halloween was a little different. One outfit was particularly popular even if it wasn’t a traditional monster costume: this year lots of people dressed up as scary clowns.

 

Scary Clowns

The wave of ‘scary clowns’ began months before Halloween. In August, the people of Wisconsin saw an unkempt clown with black balloons walking the streets. In September and October, dozens of other scary clowns appeared across the US, the UK, Australia and other countries. Sometimes these clowns just wandered around looking scary. Other times they jumped out of nowhere and started chasing people. Sometimes they even frightened passersby with fake weapons. Most of these scary clowns proved harmless, but some took the joke too far and ended up injuring people. A few were arrested for “making a terrorist threat connected to ‘clown-related activity’.” This sounds ridiculous, but it’s not funny at all. Policemen have better things to do than arrest people dressed as scary clowns! Following police advice, many schools banned clown costumes from Halloween celebrations.

 

It

Nobody knows the reason for this scary clown craze. Some believe that it’s a way to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the horror novel It written by Stephen King. It tells the story of a group of kids terrorized by a mysterious monster. This creature often disguises itself as a clown called Pennywise. Before writing the book, King wondered: “what scares children more than anything else in the world?” The answer he gave himself was: clowns. Clowns can be ambiguous: who is hiding behind the face paint? Are their drawn smiles sincere, or are they the smiles of madmen such as the Joker, Batman’s enemy? If the recent wave of scary clowns is paying homage to the novel It, Stephen King is not grateful. He recently tweeted: “Hey, guys, time to cool the clown hysteria – most of them are good, cheer up the kiddies, make people laugh.”

 

A noble tradition

Indeed, the professional clowns who want to make people laugh are worried by what’s happening. They say there’s a big difference between real clowns and people in scary masks. Their profession has a noble tradition: there were clowns already in ancient Egypt! Clowns believe that “laughter is health,” and with their acts they explore emotions such as happiness and sadness, but also hate and fear. A clown wants to teach people to face life and difficulties with a smile. They also teach resilience: clowns survive anything that’s thrown at them. Many clowns do good around the world. For example, Clowns Without Borders is an association of clowns who entertain and help children in war zones. Patch Adams, similarly, is a doctor who uses ‘clowntherapy’ to help sick children in hospitals. Although these professionals are worried by the scary clown craze, they are confident that they’ll survive. “We’ve been around for centuries,” they say. “We’ll still be here after these people in scary masks are long gone!”

Useful links 1) Read about the origin and history of Halloween: http://www.familyeducation.com/fun/history-halloween/spooktacular-history-halloween https://www.loc.gov/folklife/halloween.html

2) Learn more about clowns and scary clowns in this short video: http://abcnews.go.com/US/video/clowns-funny-scary-43146002

3) Find out how a man dressed up as Batman is chasing down the scary clowns: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/10/12/man-dressed-as-batman-chases-killer-clowns-in-cumbria/

4) Learn more about the history of clowning: http://www.humourfoundation.com.au/resources/history-of-clowning.html

5) Read and listen to what professional clowns have to say about the scary clown craze: https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2016/oct/13/clowns-clown-craze-professionals-costume-sightings-phenomenon

6) Here are the American and British websites for Clowns without Borders: http://www.clownswithoutborders.org/ http://clownswithoutborders.org.uk/

7) Learn about Patch Adams and his work: http://www.patchadams.org/

COMPREHENSION

1) Read the article and complete the sentences with the right alternative.

1. People who like being scared probably enjoy celebrating
  1. Christmas.
  2. Halloween.
  3. New Year’s Eve.
2. Traditionally, on Halloween children go trick-or-treating dressed as
  1. clowns.
  2. adults.
  3. monsters.
3. The first scary clown was seen in
  1. the US.
  2. the UK.
  3. Australia.
4. The scary clowns craze is
  1. an American phenomenon.
  2. a British phenomenon.
  3. an international phenomenon.
5. The police are not happy because
  1. scary clowns are a distraction from their real work.
  2. scary clowns are not funny.
  3. scary clowns are banned from schools.
6. Thirty years ago Stephen King created a famous character:
  1. Batman.
  2. Pennywise.
  3. Joker.
7. Stephen King asked the people dressed as crazy clowns
  1. to pay homage to his novel It.
  2. to calm down.
  3. to continue scaring people.
8. Professional clowns are interested in exploring
  1. all kinds of emotions.
  2. only positive emotions.
  3. only negative emotions.
9. Clowning has been around for
  1. hundreds of years.
  2. thousands of years.
  3. less than a hundred years.
10. Patch Adams and his clowns work
  1. in war zones.
  2. in circuses.
  3. in hospitals.
 

VOCABULARY

2) Complete the sentences with the following words. Conjugate the verbs if necessary.

craze  *  passerby  *  to disguise  *  outfit  *  unkempt  *  ban  *  resilient  *  grateful  *  to revolve  *  harmless

1. The spy ______ himself using a wig and dark glasses. 2. There’s a ______ on cigarettes in this building: you can’t smoke inside. 3. Clowns are ______: they recover quickly from the bad things that happen to them. 4. I was very ______ that mom helped me with my homework. 5. The garden looks ______: nobody has mowed the lawn in ages. 6. That dog is ______: sure, he barks a lot but he doesn’t bite. 7. The latest  ______ in fashion is purple jeans. Everybody wants them. 8. The lady fell in the middle of the street and a ______ helped her up. 9. Halloween films usually ______ around ghosts and monsters. 10. A vampire ______ must include fake vampire teeth and a black cape.

GRAMMAR – Adverbs of place, time, manner, degree

3) Complete the sentences using the following adverbs:

only  *  nowhere  *  lately  *  yet  *  extremely  * everywhere  * carefully  *  there  *  really  *  warily  *  soon  *  angrily

1. The clown hasn’t finished his act ______. 2. ______ there has been a wave of crazy clowns in the UK 3. The professional clown ______ claimed that the crazy clowns are stupid people with scary masks 4. He was in no hurry, so he ______ put on the green zombie makeup 5. “The clown was over ______,” said the boy, pointing at the forest behind the school 6. The police are ______ worried about the clown craze 7. The clown jumped out of ______ and scared everybody 8. I ______ enjoyed the clown’s performance, it was great 9. He looked around the corner ______, thinking that the crazy clown was there 10. He celebrated Halloween ______ once 11. The clown craze has spread ______ in the US 12. Some say that the crown craze will ______ be over.  

SHORT ESSAY

4) Did you celebrate Halloween this year? Did you wear a costume? Write about what you wore and what you did. (60-80 words)

5) Which is the scariest mask you can think of? Explain why you find it so frightening. (60-80 words)

   --- (Carlo Dellonte) (Image credits: Graeme Maclean, flickr and Lucas Ramos Bispo, flickr)

 

[post_title] => The scary clown craze [post_excerpt] => This year’s Halloween was a little different: lots of people didn’t dress up as monsters, but as scary clowns. The scary clown craze began months ago and it spread quickly across the US and the UK. Dozens of scary clowns appeared out of nowhere to frighten people. Learn more about this strange phenomenon and about the ancient art of clowning. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => the-scary-clown-craze [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-11-28 16:14:18 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-11-28 15:14:18 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/?post_type=planet-english&p=11361 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => planet-english [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 3 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 11179 [post_author] => 10 [post_date] => 2016-09-29 15:16:50 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-09-29 13:16:50 [post_content] =>

London is a city of great diversity: more than one third of its inhabitants are foreign-born. It is the city with the second largest immigrant population in the world, after New York. All kinds of ethnicities and nationalities live in London, speaking more than 300 different languages. It was a diverse city already in the 19th century, when trade and wealth attracted many foreigners. For example, Chinese employees of the East India Company, a company that traded with Asia, settled in the neighbourhood of Limehouse. By the beginning of the 20th century, London was the largest city in the world, full of people from around the globe. But how diverse was the very first London, the Londinium that the Romans founded almost 2000 years ago? A recent archaeological find seems to suggest that it was somewhat similar to the London of today.

 

An “absolutely phenomenal” discovery

In the October issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science, British researchers published a study regarding 22 skeletons from a small Roman cemetery found in South London. Using cutting edge techniques, the scientists could make an educated guess about the origin of the skeletons. What they found was, according to them, “absolutely phenomenal.” Four people were ethnically African and two were Asian, most likely Chinese. This was the very first time people of Chinese origin were identified in Roman Britain. Londinium was an important centre of the Roman province of Britannia with a population of approximately 60,000, but it was still a provincial city on the very edge of the known world, far from the hub of the Empire. So what were Chinese people doing in London?

 

Beyond the Silk Road

At the time, the Roman Empire and the Chinese Han Empire were two huge civilizations at the opposite ends of the Eurasian continent. They were so distant that they knew little about each other besides rumours and legends. There was trade, though, between them. A thin, 8,000 kilometre route connected the Mediterranean to China: the so-called Silk Road. Along this route travelled the goods of Rome and China: Roman glassware reached Chinese homes and Chinese silks reached Roman markets. These goods were not transported by the Romans and the Chinese, but by the many traders who bought and sold them along the Silk Road. At least this is what our current historical knowledge tells us. The finds of the Chinese skeletons in London might change all this. If two Chinese had wondered so far from the Silk Road to distant Britannia, the relations between the two ancient empires might have been much deeper than previously thought.

 

A mystery in Londinium

Maybe the Chinese people in London were merchants. Maybe they were ambassadors or the descendants of Chinese travellers. Maybe they were not free men: sadly, slaves were also traded along the Silk Road. What’s certain is that the finds in London have raised a mystery. More data will be needed to solve it. The skeletons analysed were few, and the method used to determine their origin is not infallible. What is absolutely certain is that the ‘Chinese skeletons’ were from people not born in Britain. Their Chinese origin, however, must be confirmed by further testing. What these skeletons (as well as the four African ones) prove, though, is that there was great diversity in the Roman Empire, even in the far away province of Britannia. This reinforces other previous archaeological finds that showed that ancient Londinium is not so different from modern London: it was an important trading centre as well as a multicultural city.

Useful websites

Read more about the “absolutely phenomenal” discovery of the Chinese skeletons in London: http://www.history.com/news/possible-chinese-skeletons-could-rewrite-roman-history

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/archaeology/chinese-skeleton-discovery-roman-history-society-southwark-cemetery-asian-remains-a7330666.html

Listen to this brief audio. One of the researchers who studied the Chinese skeletons talks about them on BBC radio: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-37452287

Watch this video about the ethnic diversity of Roman Londinium: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-34809804

Research the Silk Road, starting from this Wikipedia Simple English article: https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silk_Road

Read about London’s Chinatown: http://www.chinatownlondon.org/

Learn more about London’s history: http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/a-brief-history-of-london

COMPREHENSION

1) Read the article and complete the sentences with the right alternative.

1. The city with the largest immigrant population in the world is
  1. London.
  2. New York.
  3. Limehouse.
2. London was founded by ‘foreigners’:
  1. the Chinese.
  2. the Indians.
  3. the Romans.
3. Londinium was
  1. an important city in Britannia.
  2. the largest city in the world.
  3. the largest city of the Roman Empire.
4. British researchers made an “absolutely phenomenal” discovery:
  1. Londinium had a population of 60,000.
  2. non-European people lived in Londinium.
  3. they found 22 skeletons in a Roman cemetery.
5. The Silk Road was
  1. trading route.
  2. a road built by the Romans.
  3. a road built by the Chinese.
6. From what we know, the Romans and the Chinese
  1. knew very much about each other.
  2. did not know each other.
  3. knew very little about each other.
7. The Roman Londinium
  1. was very far from the Silk Road.
  2. was on the Silk Road.
  3. was on the Mediterranean.
8. The Romans loved
  1. Chinese legends.
  2. Chinese glassware.
  3. Chinese silk.
9. The study on the ‘Chinese skeletons’ proves that
  1. there were lots of Chinese living in Londinium.
  2. foreigners lived in Londinium.
  3. Chinese merchants reached Londinium.
10. The study on the ‘Chinese skeletons’
  1. raised a mystery.
  2. solved a mystery.
  3. did not discover anything new.
 

VOCABULARY

2) Complete the sentences with the following words. Conjugate the verbs if necessary.

glassware  *  to settle  *  to found  *  diverse  *  cutting edge  *  educated guess  *  hub  *  goods  *  rumour  *  to trade

1. A gossip or an unconfirmed story is called a ______ . 2. An ______ is a conclusion based on previous knowledge or facts. 3. Romulus and Remus ______ the city of Rome. 4. Objects or containers made of glass can be defined as ______. 5. The word ______ can be used to describe the centre of a wheel, an airport, and the most active part of a city or place. 6. The things for sale that can be found in shops are called ______. 7. ______ technology is the newest and most advanced technology there is. 8. The class was very ______: there were students from 10 different countries. 9. Many immigrants ______ in London, making it their new home. 10. Today we usually ______ using money, but once it was common to do it by exchanging goods.  

GRAMMAR – Comparative and superlative adjectives

3) Complete the sentences using the adjective in brackets with comparatives of majority (+) minority (–) or equality (=), or superlatives (S). 1. New York has a ______ (large) immigrant population than London. (+) 2. London is ______ (diverse) New York. (=) 3. Early 20th century London was ______ (large) city in the world. (S) 4. New York is ______  (old) than London. (–) 5. London is not ______ (old) city in the world. (S) 6. One of ______ (far) cities of the Roman Empire was Londinium. (S) 7. Londinium was ______ (far) from Rome than China. (–) 8. The Roman Empire was ______ (large) the Chinese Empire. (=) 9. The Silk Road was ______  (good) route to get from China to Rome. (S) 10. Ancient history is probably ______ (mysterious) than we think. (+)  

SHORT ESSAY

4) Research the history of your city. Who founded it? Who were the first settlers? Compare it to the way it is today. (60-80 words)

5) Which is the most incredible archaeological find you can think of? Explain why you think it’s so interesting. (60-80 words)

6) Imagine that archaeologists make an unexpected, incredible discovery. Think of something really revolutionary. (Roman ruins in America? A UFO inside the Great Pyramid?) Write a report of the discovery, and explain how it will rewrite history. (60-80 words)

 --- (Carlo Dellonte) (Image credits: Wikipedia and Dun.Can, flickr) [post_title] => Roman Londinium: an international city [post_excerpt] => History books tell us that the Roman Londinium was a provincial town at the very edge of the known world, very different from the international London of today. A recent archaeological find disagrees, promising to rewrite history, not just of London, but of the whole ancient world. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => roman-londinium-an-international-city [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-11-02 15:36:32 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-11-02 14:36:32 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/?post_type=planet-english&p=11179 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => planet-english [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 6 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 11020 [post_author] => 10 [post_date] => 2016-09-15 11:56:51 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-09-15 09:56:51 [post_content] =>

The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro finished with no surprises at the very top of the medal table: the United States came 1st with 46 gold medals. The US has come 1st 5 times in the last 6 Summer Olympics. Its most famous athlete is probably the swimmer Michael Phelps who won 5 golds and 1 silver in Rio. That’s one person winning more medals than some entire countries – only 18 nations won more golds than Phelps did by himself! Other ‘usual suspects’ such as China, Russia, Germany, France and Italy were among the top 10 nations in the medals table. But there was one big surprise in 2nd place: the United Kingdom. The UK won 27 gold medals in a wide range of disciplines, from athletics to cycling, from rowing to gymnastics.

 

Rise to the top

This feat is incredible if one thinks of the UK’s Olympic past. Twenty years ago, at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, the UK won only 1 gold medal, finishing 36th in the medal table. This was the UK’s worst Olympics after many bad ones. Never, since World War II, had the UK won more than 6 golds. After hitting rock-bottom in 1996, something changed: the UK started climbing up the medal table. It came 10th in Sydney 2000, 10th in Athens 2004 and 4th in Beijing 2008. In 2012 it hosted the Olympics in London and came 3rd. It is normal for a nation to do particularly well when hosting the Games, but the UK was the first nation to improve again in the following Olympics – Rio 2016 – where it came 2nd. The UK can now consider itself a “superpower” of sports. But how did this amazing transformation happen?

 

The causes of success

After the UK’s horrible performance in Atlanta, Prime Minister John Major decided that sports needed more funding and a different mentality. He used the money the government earned from lotteries to finance sports. A new approach was also adopted, called the ‘no compromise approach’: the UK would invest money and energies only in those sports that produced medals. “Why do we invest in medal success?” said Liz Nicholl, who works for UK Sport, the agency that funds sport across the UK. “We invest in medal success to create a proud, ambitious, active, healthy nation.” But is this really happening? Is the UK a prouder, more ambitious, more active and healthier nation than before? Do people exercise more if they see top British athletes winning medals at the Olympics?

 

Controversy

Back in the 1960s and 70s, when the UK won very few medals, the Sports Council promoted the creation and expansion of local leisure centres. There, ordinary people could play sports without Olympic competition in mind. Today many of these centres are in financial trouble; they are closing or they are being converted into expensive, private facilities. This is partly the result of the ‘no compromise approach’: if the sport is not producing medals, it will get no funding. History proves that people exercise more if they have access to facilities, not if top athletes win Olympic medals. Indeed, the number of British people participating in sports has fallen since 2012. The UK faces a dilemma: is it better to have elite athletes win gold medals, or is it better to promote sports for all? Maybe both aims can be achieved. UK Sport has recently softened its ‘no compromise approach’ and money will be used to fund also those sports that do not produce medals. Hopefully the next Olympics – Tokyo 2020 – will see both successful British athletes, and a healthier nation, back home, cheering for them.

Useful links

-  Do you want to know more about the Olympics? Here is the official website of the International Olympic Committee:

https://www.olympic.org/

- This cool interactive diagram tells you how many medals each nation won in every Summer Olympics:

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/sports/olympics/rio-olympics-2016-medals-results.html

- These interesting graphs give you another break-down of Olympic medals. Check out the various sports. Is there a sport in which Italy dominates?

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/08/08/sports/olympics/history-olympic-dominance-charts.html?_r=0

- Here are some fun facts about Rio de Janeiro, the city that hosted the 2016 Games: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/south-america/brazil/rio-de-janeiro/articles/rio-2016-olympics-100-fascinating-facts-about-rio-de-janeiro/

- Here is the official home page of UK Sport:

http://www.uksport.gov.uk/

- Did you know these interesting facts about the Olympics?

http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/sciencefacts/sports/summerolympics.html

COMPREHENSION

1) Read the article and complete the sentences with the correct option.

1. The 2016 Summer Olympics was hosted by
  1. Brazil.
  2. the US.
  3. Russia.
2. The nation that came 1st in the medals table at Rio was
  1. The United Kingdom.
  2. The United States.
  3. China.
3. The UK’s worst performance at the Olympics was
  1. at London 2012.
  2. at Atlanta 1996.
  3. at Sydney 2000.
4. The UK’s best placing at the Olympics since World War II has been
  1. 2nd place.
  2. 3rd place.
  3. 4th place.
5. The prime minister who helped British sports in 1996 was
  1. Michael Phelps.
  2. Liz Nicholl.
  3. John Major.
6. Most of the funds that finance British sports come from:
  1. lottery money.
  2. the government.
  3. the Olympic Committee.
7. If British athletes win lots of medals, says Liz Nicholl,
  1. more British people will exercise.
  2. British people will buy more lottery tickets.
  3. more British people will watch the Olympics.
8. The “no compromise approach” has
  1. helped all sports.
  2. helped some sports, but not others.
  3. made British people healthier.
9. Compared to 2012, today in the UK
  1. more people play sports.
  2. the same number of people play sports.
  3. fewer people play sports.
10. The next Summer Olympic Games will be hosted by
  1. Korea.
  2. Japan.
  3. China.
 

VOCABULARY

2) Complete the sentences with the following words. Conjugate the verbs if necessary.

feat  *  to hit rock bottom  *  host  *  leisure  *  to cheer  *  medal table  *  usual suspects *  to fund  *  facility  *  to soften

1. Prices ______: they can’t get any cheaper. 2. If you invite your friends to dinner, you are the ______ and your friends are the guests. 3. Who ate all the chocolate biscuits? The ______ are Jack and Jill: they love chocolate. 4. We came to the stadium ______ our team – we want them to win! 5. A ______ is an extraordinary, very difficult act. 6. You are too critical in this letter. Rewrite it, and try ______ your language. 7. A school is an educational ______. 8. You can’t work all day! You need some ______ too. 9. I have a great idea for a startup, but I have no money. I need somebody ______ it. 10. A ______ is a list of countries ordered by the numbers of medals won.  

GRAMMAR – Cardinal and ordinal numbers

3)  Complete the table writing the numbers, first as cardinal numbers, then as ordinal numbers.

Ordinal numbers

Cardinal numbers

 1

one

1st

first

 2

 3

 4

 50

 62

 74

 81

 99

 100

 

SHORT ESSAY

4) Did you follow the Summer Olympics? Was there a specific moment or an event that you liked? Or was there an athlete that impressed you? Share your impressions and thoughts. (60-80 words)

5)  Write about a sport that you practice or that you enjoy watching. Why do you like it? (60-80 words)

6) Do some research to find out why a nation wins more medals than usual when it hosts the Olympic Games. (60-80 words)

---

(Carlo Dellonte)

(Image credits: US Army, flickr e JuliaC2006, flickr)

[post_title] => The World’s New Sporting Superpower: the UK [post_excerpt] => Twenty years ago, at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, the UK won only 1 gold medal, finishing 36th in the medal table. After hitting rock-bottom, something changed: the UK started a dramatic climb to the top. This summer, at the Olympics in Rio it came 2nd with 27 gold medals. How did this amazing transformation happen? Learn the secrets behind the world’s new sporting superpower. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => the-worlds-new-sporting-superpower-the-uk [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-11-02 15:31:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-11-02 14:31:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/?post_type=planet-english&p=11020 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => planet-english [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 10749 [post_author] => 10 [post_date] => 2016-05-30 15:20:18 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-05-30 13:20:18 [post_content] =>

Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom, celebrated her birthday on April 21. She will celebrate it again on June 11. Strange but true: the Queen has two birthdays – her real one, in April, and an official one, in June. For centuries English kings and queens have had this privilege. Their excuse? British weather. It all began in 1748 with King George II. His birthday was in November, not a good month for outdoor parties. So George decided to celebrate his birthday in late spring, combining his celebration with a military parade known as Trooping the Colour. Having a double royal birthday became a tradition. This June 11 will be quite special: the Queen will celebrate her 90th birthday, while her husband, Prince Philip, will turn 95 the day before.

 

A record-breaking royal couple

At 90 and 95, the British royal couple has broken quite a few records. Last year Elizabeth II became the UK’s longest-reigning monarch, beating the record held by her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria. Elizabeth has been Queen for more than 64 years now. This also makes her the world’s longest-reigning female monarch – no other queen has reigned longer than she has. (She still has a long way to go to beat the male record: king Sobhuza II of Swaziland reigned for an incredible 84 years and 254 days!) Elizabeth II holds another record: the longest royal marriage in history. She has been married for 68 years. Obviously, she shares this record with her husband, Prince Philip, and the Prince holds another record of his own: he is the oldest-ever male member of the British royal family.

 

A busy and beloved Queen

During her record reign, the Queen has kept very busy. She is always meeting people, attending ceremonies, receptions, audiences, etc. Last year, she had 306 engagements in the UK and 35 abroad. That’s almost one a day. Over the years she has attended something like 25,000 events of all kinds! She has awarded more than 400,000 honours and has held more than 100 state banquets. She is the patron of more than 600 organizations and charities. Apparently, she once said: “I have to be seen to be believed,” and, indeed, she has shown herself quite a lot! Her work ethic, dedication and continuous public presence have made her very popular. For her official birthday on June 11, 10,000 guests have been invited to a giant street party and picnic in front of Buckingham Palace. And big screens will be placed in other parts of London to broadcast the event. That’s one incredible birthday party!

 

Criticism and the future of British Monarchy

Not everybody, though, wants to celebrate. Many do not like the Queen, or more generally, royalty. A hundred years ago, the English writer H. G. Wells said: “the time has come to rid ourselves of the ancient trappings of throne and sceptre.” Back then, there were 22 monarchies in Europe – now there are only 12. Today we are used to electing our leaders, but nobody ever elected their king or queen. Why should they live in castles and have lots of privileges (like the Queen having two birthdays)? Daniel Radcliffe, the actor who played Harry Potter, considers the royals a “symbol of class division.” The influential English singer and songwriter Morrisey (who released with The Smiths an album called ‘The Queen is Dead’) said: “the full meaning of the Monarchy is, like the Queen herself, a complete mystery to most people.” Yet, whether they understand it or not, the British Monarchy is not going away anytime soon. According to recent surveys, between 70 and 80% of Britons want the monarchy to continue. So, come June 11, for the second time this year, most Britons will wish Happy 90th Birthday to Queen Elizabeth II.

Useful links

 - Do you want to know more about the Queen? Read this: http://royalcentral.co.uk/uk/thequeen/her-majesty-at-90-a-look-back-at-her-remarkable-life-59389

- What powers does the Queen have? Here’s the answer: http://royalcentral.co.uk/blogs/insight/what-are-the-queens-powers-22069

- Read about Trooping the Colour and check out the cool time-lapse video: http://www.trooping-the-colour.co.uk/

- Here’s what the Queen’s guests will eat at her incredible birthday street party: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/queen-elizabeth-II/12200138/Whats-inside-Marks-and-Spencer-Patrons-Lunch-hamper-for-Queens-90th-birthday-street-party.html

-  The Queen’s birthday can even change pub opening times! Check out this: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/03/23/pubs-to-stay-open-late-so-drinkers-can-toast-to-the-queen/ 

- Here’s a very unusual ‘Happy Birthday’ to the Queen from the UK’s republicans: https://republic.org.uk/stopthereign

-  Here is some more interesting criticism. Check out the “Monarchy Myth Buster”: https://republic.org.uk/what-we-want/monarchy-myth-buster

COMPREHENSION

1) Read the article and complete the sentences with the right alternative.

1. The Queen has two birthdays because
  1. all kings and queens around the world do.
  2. it’s part of a British tradition.
  3. her 90th birthday is a special occasion.
2. Trooping the Colour is
  1. the name of the Queen’s birthday celebrations.
  2. a military parade invented by George II.
  3. a military parade held on the day of the Queen’s official birthday.
3. Prince Philip’s birthday is very close to
  1. the Queen’s real birthday.
  2. the Queen’s official birthday.
  3. King George’s birthday.
4. Queen Elizabeth II has reigned for more years than
  1. King Sobhuza II.
  2. Queen Victoria.
  3. Prince Philip.
5. Prince Philip holds
  1. two records.
  2. one record.
  3. no records.
6. The Queen
  1. is always meeting people.
  2. never meets people.
  3. rarely meets people.
7. The Queen’s official birthday party will be
  1. a very private celebration.
  2. celebrated inside Buckingham Palace.
  3. held outdoors.
8. Writer H.G. Wells was
  1. a supporter of the British crown.
  2. against royalty.
  3. an expert in the ancient trappings of royalty.
9. Today in Europe there are
  1. fewer monarchies than a hundred years ago.
  2. more monarchies than a hundred years ago.
  3. elected kings and queens.
10. The British monarchy is
  1. very popular.
  2. not very popular.
  3. very unpopular.
 

VOCABULARY

2) Complete the sentences with the following words. Use the plural for nouns and conjugate the verbs if necessary.

parade  *  engagement  *  patron  *  to broadcast  *  trappings  *  record  *  to reign  *  sceptre  *  survey  *  privilege

1. A ______________ is a march or a public walk, usually done by military troops, or for special occasions such as a carnival or Thanksgiving. 2. The job of kings and queens is ______________, but their power, today, can be very limited. 3. Lorenzo il Magnifico was a famous ______________ of the arts: he gave support and money to painters and other artists. 4. An ______________ can be a promise of marriage, but it can also be an event or an appointment, like a meeting or a special dinner. 5. Televisions and radios ______________ programmes. 6. Traditionally, a king wears a crown on his head and holds a ______________ in his hand. 7. A big house, an expensive car and fashionable clothes are the ______________ of success. 8. The ______________ asked the students of the school what their favourite subject was. 33% said it was English. 9. Usain Bolt is the fastest man alive. He holds both the 100 metres and 200 metres world ______________. 10. I am against some people having ______________! I think everybody should have equal rights!  

GRAMMAR – Past Simple and Present Perfect

3) Complete the sentences using the verbs provided. In one instance use the past simple, in the other the present perfect.

1. The Queen ______________ (to marry) Prince Philip in 1952. They ______________ (to be) married for 65 years. 2. Elizabeth II ______________ (to become) Queen 64 years ago. She ______________ (to be) Queen since 1952. 3. The Queen ______________ (to break) many records. She ______________ (to break) the record of longest-reigning monarch in 2015. 4. Queen Victoria ______________ (to rule) for 63 years. So far, Queen Elizabeth II ______________ (to rule) for 64 years. 5. The Queen ______________ (to be) the patron of my charity for many years. She even ______________ (to invite) me to Buckingham Palace once. 6. The Queen ______________ (to meet) the British prime minister last week. During her long reign, she ______________ (to meet) twelve prime ministers. 7. John ______________ (to see) the Queen at a ceremony in 2013. Lucy, however ____ never ____ (to see) her. 8. The Queen ______________ (to award) a medal to that man. It was a very special occasion for him, but for her it probably wasn’t: she ______________ (to award) thousands of honours since she became Queen. 9. ____ you ever _______ (to visit) Buckingham Palace? I ______________ (to visit) it last year. 10. Morrisey ______________ (to criticize) the monarchy in his 1986 album ‘The Queen is Dead’. He ______________ (to criticize) the monarchy for decades.  

SHORT ESSAY

4) Imagine you are a monarchist, somebody who supports and believes in monarchy. Explain why you think a monarchy is better than a republic. (60-80 words)

5) Now imagine you are a republican, somebody who supports and believes that all people in power should be elected. Explain why you think a republic is better than a monarchy. (60-80 words)

(Carlo Dellonte)

---

(Image credits: flickr and flickr)

[post_title] => Why does the Queen have two birthdays? [post_excerpt] => Strange but true: Queen Elizabeth II has two birthdays and the reason is… British weather! Find out about this strange, century-old tradition, and learn more about an extraordinary and record-breaking Queen. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => why-does-the-queen-have-two-birthdays [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-06-16 11:44:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-06-16 09:44:11 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/?post_type=planet-english&p=10749 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => planet-english [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 10 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 10388 [post_author] => 10 [post_date] => 2016-05-02 14:21:31 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-05-02 12:21:31 [post_content] =>

No currency symbol is more famous than that of the dollar ($), and no banknotes are more iconic than the green dollar bills. There are seven denominations of dollar bills ($1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100), and each has, on its front, the portrait of an important American. The seven lucky ones include five US presidents and two Founding Fathers, the people who helped found the United States of America. They are all men, though, and somebody thought this was not right. In 2014 Sofia, a 9-year-old girl from Massachusetts, wrote a letter to President Obama saying that women too deserved to be on the front of a dollar bill. Obama answered that this was ‘a pretty good idea.’ To make space for a woman, a president or a Founding Father had to go.

 

Hamilton

Jack Lew, Secretary of the Department of the Treasury (which prints US dollars), suggested removing Founding Father Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804) from the $10 bill. Lots of people protested. Among them was Lin-Manuel Miranda, the author of the incredibly successful Broadway musical Hamilton. Hamilton, which premiered in 2015, tells the story of the Founding Father in a very original way, using hip-hop music and a multi-cultural cast. Lew went to see the musical and loved it. He later met with Miranda who asked him to ‘save’ Hamilton. Like so many Americans, Hamilton was a poor immigrant. With courage and determination he fought for American independence. He lived an adventurous life and was killed in a pistol duel. Most importantly, he helped create the Department of the Treasury and was its first Secretary. If it wasn’t for Hamilton, there probably would be no such thing as the dollar! He had to stay!

 

Jackson

Lew reconsidered. He suggested keeping Hamilton on the front of the $10 bill and putting images of the women’s movement on the back. Again lots of people protested, especially women. They claimed that what matters is who’s on the front of dollar bills, not on the back! It seemed impossible to find a solution that made everybody happy. Yet a popular movement called Women on 20 had a suggestion: an American woman could go on the front of the $20 bill, replacing the controversial president Andrew Jackson (1767-1845). Jackson was a slave owner who opposed the abolitionist movement that wanted to end slavery. He also forced native Americans to leave their lands so he could give it to white settlers. This relocation, later called the ‘Trail of Tears’, caused the deaths of thousands of native Americans. Jackson had to go!

 

Tubman

On April 20, 2016, Lew declared his final decision. Hamilton is safe: he will remain on the front of the $10 bill. The back of the same bill will show leaders of the movement to give women the right to vote. Finally, a woman will replace Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20 bill. The woman chosen will not only be the first woman to appear on the front of a dollar bill, but she will also be the first African American person to do so. Her name is Harriet Tubman (1822-1913). She was born a slave, but escaped to freedom. She helped many other slaves escape, and she became a leading abolitionist. During the American Civil War she worked as a nurse and even as a spy! After the war she fought for the rights of women to vote.

Everybody praised Lew’s choices. Not everybody was happy with his schedule, though. The new bills will be released no sooner than 2020!

Useful links

1) Here are some interesting facts about money:

http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/sciencefacts/technology/money.html

2) And here is a video on how money is made:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEePLZxLcVo

3) Learn more about US dollars:

http://www.kidzsearch.com/wiki/United_States_dollar

4) Read Sofia’s letter to president Obama and Obama’s answer:

http://time.com/3765227/woman-us-currency-obama-letter/

5) Do you want to know more about the musical Hamilton? Check out these videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKSx9RixuQ0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wboCdgzLHg

6) Are you interested in Women on 20? Here’s the official website:

http://www.womenon20s.org/

7) Read about Alexander Hamilton and Harriet Tubman on Wikipedia Simple English:

https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Hamilton

https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harriet_Tubman

COMPREHENSION

1) Read the article and complete the sentences with the right alternative.

1. The dollar symbol ($) is
  1. the least famous symbol for money in the world.
  2. the most famous symbol for money in the world
  3. one of the most famous symbols for money in the world.
2. All persons featured on American dollars are
  1. Founding Fathers.
  2. American presidents.
  3. important men from American history.
3. Jack Lew
  1. is the first Secretary of the department of the Treasury.
  2. is the author of the Broadway musical Hamilton.
  3. is the current Secretary of the department of the Treasury.
4. Hamilton, like so many Americans,
  1. was born in the United States.
  2. was not born in the United States.
  3. died in a pistol duel.
5. Women on 20 want
  1. the women’s movement on the $10 bill.
  2. Jackson off the $20 bill.
  3. Jackson on the $29 bill.
6. The Broadway musical Hamilton
  1. helped change Lew’s mind.
  2. convinced Lew that Hamilton had to go.
  3. had no influence on Lew’s decisions.
7. Andrew Jackson was
  1. an American president.
  2. a Founding Father.
  3. a native American.
8. The victims of the ‘Trail of Tears’ were
  1. American settlers.
  2. native Americans.
  3. slaves.
9. Harriet Tubman
  1. died a slave.
  2. helped many slaves become free.
  3. Was against the abolitionist movement.
10. Lew finally decided to make changes
  1. a. only to the $10 bill.
  2. b. only to the $20 bill.
  3. c. to the $10 and the $20 bills.
 

VOCABULARY

2) Complete the sentences with the following words.

claim  *  abolitionist  *  founded  *  debate  *  duel  *  settlers  *  bills  *  portrait  *  schedule  *  nurse  *  denominations

1. A person who wanted to end slavery was called an _______________. 2. A person is born, a nation is _______________. 3. To _______________ something means to say that something is true. 4. Money usually comes in the form of metal coins and paper _______________. 5. A ______________ was a fight between two people, usually fought using swords or guns. 6. A ______________ is like a discussion, but it is often public and focuses on a specific topic. 7. After a long journey, the ______________ found a piece of land where they could build their new house. 8. Important people of the past had their _____________ painted by famous artists. 9. “When will the bus arrive? Could you please check the bus _____________?” 10. A _____________ is the value of a particular coin or bill.  

GRAMMAR – Reported speech

3) Rewrite the sentences using reported speech.

1. Sara said: “Women should feature on money as well.” e.g. Sara said (that) women should feature on money as well. 2. President Obama answered: “It’s a good idea.” ____________________________________________________________________ 3. Lew said: “I could remove Hamilton from the $10 bill.” ____________________________________________________________________ 4. Miranda disagreed. He said: “Lew, you must save Hamilton!” ____________________________________________________________________ 5. Lew said: “I’ll save Hamilton, but somebody else has to go.” ____________________________________________________________________ 6. Women on 20 said: “We are campaigning to get Jackson off the $20 bill!” ____________________________________________________________________ 7. Lew asked: “Does everybody agree?” ____________________________________________________________________ 8. Somebody asked: “Who will replace Jackson?” ____________________________________________________________________ 9. Lew said: “I thought of replacing Jackson with Harriet Tubman.” ____________________________________________________________________ 10. Everybody said: “It’s a wonderful choice!” ____________________________________________________________________

SHORT ESSAY

4) Imagine that you have to design a new currency. Which important people (dead or alive) would you feature on your bills? Explain why you think they deserve this honour. (60-80 words)

 

(Carlo Dellonte)

---

(Image credits: flickr and Wikipedia)

 

[post_title] => Historic changes to the dollar bills [post_excerpt] => The US dollar bills will soon undergo an important restyling, the outcome of a long and heated national debate. Read how a 9-year-old girl, a Broadway musical and the women’s movement helped shape the history of the world’s most famous currency. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => historic-changes-to-the-dollar-bills [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-05-30 15:24:49 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-05-30 13:24:49 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/?post_type=planet-english&p=10388 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => planet-english [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 2 [filter] => raw ) ) [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 12615 [post_author] => 10 [post_date] => 2017-05-03 18:37:51 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-03 16:37:51 [post_content] => In 1969 an accident happened on an oil rig off the coast of California. Between 13,000 and 16,000 cubic metres of crude oil spilled into the sea. The oil polluted the water and killed fish, birds and other marine animals. It was an ecological disaster, and it wasn’t the first one. Modern industrial society had been causing more and more damage to the environment. After the oil rig accident, American senator Gaylord Nelson decided that it was time for a great rally in defense of mother Earth, so he helped organize the first Earth Day, which was held on 22 April 1970. Some twenty million people participated. The organizers claimed that the world – our only home – was in grave danger. Famous journalist Walter Cronkite summarized their message: “half-way measures and business as usual cannot possibly pull us back from the edge of the precipice. […] What is at stake, and what is in question, is survival.”  

The precipice

Even though humanity was (and is) heading towards a precipice, not much has changed. People have continued to injure and ruin the very world in which they live, extracting and consuming its resources without thinking of the consequences. Pollution is worse than ever. For example, it was recently estimated that 500 billion plastic bags end up in the sea every year. 15 billion trees are lost each year. Human activity is also causing the extinction of many plant and animal species. Scientists claim that the last time so many species disappeared was 66 million years ago when a huge asteroid hit the Earth and killed all the dinosaurs. This time, we are the asteroid! Over the years something else has become apparent: not only are we making our planet dirtier, we’re also making it warmer. This will cause the climate to become unpredictable and dangerous. According to most scientists, global warming is the greatest threat humanity will face in the 21st century.  

Hope

Ecologists, though, have not given up. Earth Day has been celebrated every year since 1970, and in 1990 it became a global event. More and more people around the world are taking action to protect the environment. Even politicians are slowly responding to the pressure of scientists and concerned citizens. Last year, during Earth Day 2016, 175 countries signed the Paris Agreement, a commitment to fight global warming. (See our January 2016 article “COP 21 Trying to save planet Earth”.) This year, Earth Day was accompanied by another event: the March for Science. This was a series of rallies and marches held in more than 600 cities around the world aimed at reminding politicians, and people in general, of the importance of science. Science can tell us what we’re doing wrong, and it can help us find solutions to save the environment.  

Tomorrow’s leaders

Earth Day 2017 was celebrated in more than 200 countries. Festivals, rallies and all kinds of events encouraged people to be more environmentally friendly. Earth Day organizers stressed the importance of supporting politicians with a ‘green’ agenda, and they encouraged the development and use of green forms of energy, like solar and wind power. They also suggested some simple actions that everybody could take to help the environment, like planting a tree (or donating money to help someone else plant one for you), eating less meat, and stopping using disposable plastic. Education, they claim, should also play a part: a school is the perfect place in which to learn how to become more environmentally friendly. As the organizers of Earth Day write: “today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders.” This is a great responsibility but also a great opportunity to make the world a better place.
Useful links 1) Here is the Earth Day official website: http://www.earthday.org/ 2) Help Earth Day reach three billion ‘acts of green’: http://www.earthday.org/take-action/ 3) Learn about green schools and what you and your school can do for the environment: http://www.earthday.org/campaigns/education/ 4) Here are five more things you can do to help save the world: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/apr/19/earth-day-five-things-to-make-a-difference-plastic-paper-towels 5) How much do you know about the environment? Take a quiz: https://www.infoplease.com/science-health/environment/earth-day-quizzes-games-activities?gclid=CKiZ24GmwtMCFVAQ0wodBWoOyQ 6) Do you want to know more about the March for Science? Here’s its official website: https://satellites.marchforscience.com/
 
  COMPREHENSION 1) Read the article and complete the sentences with the right alternative. 1. The oil spill of 1969 was
  1. caused by Gaylord Nelson.
  2. the only ecological disaster of its kind.
  3. one of many such events.
2. Walter Cronkite said that
  1. we can continue with business as usual.
  2. we are in grave danger.
  3. we are falling down a precipice.
3. The cause of pollution is
  1. industrial society.
  2. oil rigs.
  3. plastic bags.
4. Scientists say that we are as dangerous as
  1. an asteroid.
  2. dinosaurs
  3. global warming.
5. Scientists claim that
  1. global warming is very dangerous.
  2. global warming will be solved in the 21st
  3. global warming is not as dangerous as pollution.
5. Scientists are saying that we are
  1. extracting and consuming resources.
  2. unpredictable and dangerous.
  3. polluting and heating the planet.
6. Earth Day was celebrated in
  1. 175 countries.
  2. 200 countries.
  3. 600 cities.
7. The March for Science
  1. always accompanies Earth Day.
  2. was celebrated this year, for the first time.
  3. was celebrated in 1990.
8. Earth Day is organized
  1. by politicians with a ‘green’ agenda.
  2. by schools.
  3. by ecologists.
9. Earth Day organizers in the importance of schools because schools
  1. can teach the importance of ecology.
  2. can organize rallies.
  3. can support politicians.
  VOCABULARY 2) Complete the sentences with the following words. Put the verbs and nouns in the right form, if necessary. to injure  *  unpredictable  *  to respond  *  agenda  *  precipice  *  claim  *  oil rig  *  rally  *  commitment  *  to pollute 1. The politician’s ______ is the list of things he plans to do. 2. The workers got together in a ______ to protest against the government. 3. The edge of a steep cliff is called a ______. 4. The smoke from that factory ______ the air. 5. A ______ is a formal agreement. 6. ______ means to answer. 7. Scientists can prove their ______ with very detailed evidence. 8. I never know what she’ll do next. She’s ______. 9. ______ means to cause harm. 10. An ______ is a platform that has machinery that drills oil from underground.     GRAMMAR – Interrogative pronouns 3) Complete the sentences choosing the correct interrogative pronoun (who, whom, whose, which, what, where, when, why, how).   1. Who/Whom helped organize the first Earth Day? 2. When/What and where/how was the first Earth Day held? 3. Where/Why do scientists claim that the environment is in danger? 4. How/Where was the oil rig that caused the oil spill? Whose/Who fault was it? 5. How/Which successful was the March for Science? 6. Who/What was the message that the event tried to convey? 7. Which/Whom animals are risking extinction? 8. Who/Whom are you going to invite to the rally? 9. Who/What caused the extinction of the dinosaurs? 10. What/Where is the Paris Agreement and when/why is it important?     SHORT ESSAY 4) Look at the ‘acts of green’ listed on the Earth Day official website. Which ones can you do or are you already doing? In what way are these actions important for the environment? (60-80 words)   5) Do you think it’s easy to be ecologically friendly, or is it difficult? Explain. (60-80 words)
(Carlo Dellonte) (Image credits: NASA, flickr and Tom Hilton, flickr ) [post_title] => Earth Day 2017 [post_excerpt] => On April 22, Earth Day was celebrated in more than 200 countries around the world. This yearly event was first held in the US in 1970. Earth Day wants to promote the protection of the environment. Its organizers say that we all have to act, and act now. We stand on the edge of environmental disaster and what is at stake is our very survival. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => earth-day-2017 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-26 09:50:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-26 07:50:11 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://aulalingue.scuola.zanichelli.it/?post_type=planet-english&p=12615 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => planet-english [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 3 [filter] => raw ) )
Planet English | Zanichelli Aula di lingue
In Evidenza