intro

Welcome! This site is for students to practice their English and keep up to date with environmental issues.

TEN MINUTES OF ENGLISH A DAY!
You can find a mixture of reading, crosswords, videos and short English lessons: these will normally be vocabulary, but I may also treat you to some grammar!

There are now over 200 lessons on this blog. Look through the Blog archive, Post labels and Popular Posts to find what you want.

If you want to print a lesson, click on the lesson title and then look for the Print Friendly icon.

''Let nature be your teacher''
William Wordsworth, poet, 1770-1850

Sunday, 25 January 2015

The 25 biggest turning points in Earth's history

Level: Intermediate B1

Please click the 'Print Friendly' icon at the bottom of the page if you want to print this exercise.

How much do you know about the history of the Earth?

Here is an excellent article from BBC Earth looking the 25 most important events in our planet's history.

Read the article and then answer the following questions:

1) How old is planet Earth?
2) True or false: we know exactly when the first organisms appeared.
3) When are plate tectonics thought to have begun?
4) What are the two great evolutionary growth spurts?
5) When was the first mass extinction?
6) What was the name of the supercontinent 300 million years ago?
7) When did the first apes appear?


Answers next week!

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Time expressions - grammar lesson 16

Level: Intermediate B1

Please click the 'Print Friendly' icon at the bottom of the page if you want to print this exercise.

Time for another grammar lesson! This one looks at what expressions we use to talk about the future.


Time expressions - future

A. Complete the sentences with one of these words:
by                    during              for                    from now                     time                 until

  1. The new national park will be designated      by        the end of the year.
  2. Hopefully a few years                          we will see electric cars on the roads.
  3. We have been trying to save the white rhino                           years.
  4. Experts predict that we have only got                         2050 before oil runs out.
  5. We will see rising sea levels                             the next decade
  6. The agreement comes into force in five weeks’                       .


B. Now complete the rules for during, until, by and for:
§                                        is used to talk about a period of time.
§                                        is used to say how long something will take.
§                                        is used to talk about a future deadline; an action that will be completed before (or at) a specific time..

§                                        is used to talk about a deadline: the emphasis is on a continuous situation that will stop at a specific time.



Answers below!



ANSWERS!


A. Complete the sentences with one of these words:
by                    during              for                    from now                     time                 until

  1. The new national park will be designated      by        the end of the year.
  2. Hopefully a few years             time     we will see electric cars on the roads.
  3. We have been trying to save the white rhino              for        years.
  4. Experts predict that we have only got            until     2050 before oil runs out.
  5. We will see rising sea levels    during  the next decade
  6. The agreement comes into force in five weeks’          from now        .


B. Now complete the rules for during, until, by and for:
§                          during    is used to talk about a period of time.
§                          for         is used to say how long something will take.
§                          by          is used to talk about a future deadline; an action that will be completed before (or at) a specific time..

§                          until       is used to talk about a deadline: the emphasis is on a continuous situation that will stop at a specific time.

Monday, 12 January 2015

New species of marine reptile identified from Skye fossils

Level: Intermediate B1

Please click the 'Print Friendly' icon at the bottom of the page if you want to print this exercise.

A new species of marine reptile has been identified from fossils that are 170 million years old.

Read this article about it and then answer the following questions:

1) How long is the animal?
2) What did it feed on?
3) What are these aquatic mammals known as?
4) Which geological time period are the fossils from?
5) True or false: these fossils are very common.


Answers below!




ANSWERS!


1) 4.2 metres
2) Fish and other reptiles
3) Ichthyosaurs
4) Early to middle Jurassic
5) False (they are very rare)



Eucalyptus study could be key to koala survival

Level: Intermediate B1

Please click the 'Print Friendly' icon at the bottom of the page if you want to print this exercise.

Koala numbers are dropping. Studying eucalyptus leaves could help understand why.
Watch this short video (2.5 minutes) too find out more.


When you have watched the video, answer the following questions:

1) How many koalas are there in the wild?
2) What are the possible reasons for their decline?
3) What is Elisabeth Neilson studying?
4) What technique is she using for this?
5) True or false: the koala is Australia's largest ground mammal?


Answers below!




ANSWERS!

1) Less than 40,000
2) Increase in droughts and fires in their habitat.
3) How koalas digest eucalyptus
4) Genome analysis
5) False (it is the largest tree-dwelling mammal)

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Peru's glaciers melting quickly

Level: Intermediate B1

Please click the 'Print Friendly' icon at the bottom of the page if you want to print this exercise.

Glaciers in Peru are melting very quickly.
What does that mean for the people who live there? Watch this short (two minute) video too find out.
When you have watched the video, answer the following questions:

1) How many people depend on the glaciers?
2) How much have the glaciers reduced in the last four decades?
3) What do locals use the glacier water for?
4) How much has the temperature in the Andes increased by since 1951?
5) Where is the current climate conference being held?


Answers below!


ANSWERS!

1) 30 m (thirty million)
2) 40% in four decades
3) Hydro power and irrigation
4) 1.75 degrees Celsius
5) Lima

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Plastic in the oceans

The build up of plastic in the oceans is one of our biggest environmental problems.
But how much do you know about it?
Here is a great article about the problem, written by Morgana Mattus from FIX.

Plastic Build Up in Our Oceans



Major deltas could be drowned

Level: Intermediate B1

Please click the 'Print Friendly' icon at the bottom of the page if you want to print this exercise.

The world's river deltas are under threat. Read this article to find out why.
When you have read the article, answer the following questions:

1) Why are deltas under threat?
2) How many people live in deltas?
3) How are deltas formed?
4) Which delta is the most extensive wetland in the EU?
5) True or false: the UK has many deltas?


Answers below!




ANSWERS!

1) Rising sea levels and river engineering
2) 0.5 bn (half a billion)
3) Rivers depositing sediment faster than the sea can remove it
4) The Danube delta
5) False