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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.


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

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Mammal Photographer of the Year

Level: Intermediate B1

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

The winners of this year's Mammal Photographer of the Year Award have been announced by the Mammal Society.

The 20 winners and finalists can be seen on Flickr.

Here is a selection of the images on the BBC nature website. Have a look at them and the text that goes with them, then answer the following questions:
1) What has had an impact on Brown Hare populations?
2) In what way are Roe Deer different to other deer?
3) How many of the world's Common Seals live in the UK?
4) Which animal has had a devastating impact on Water Voles?
5) How many insects can a Pipestrelle Bat eat in one night?


Answers next week!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Earth Hour English lesson

Level: Upper-intermediate to Advanced / B2 - C1

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The British Council have produced a great English lesson for Earth Hour.

Go to this link for the lesson.
Watch the two-minute video - with Spiderman!
Then check your understanding and answer the questions under it.
You can also add your comments to the discussion.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Animal idioms and phrases

Level: Advanced / C1

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There are a lot of idioms and phrases in English. Many of them have animals in them.

Do you know what these ones mean?

1) Wise old owl


2) Chicken out


3) Catty


4) Horse around


5) The cat's whiskers


Answers below!



ANSWERS!
(From BBC Learning English)

1) Wise old owl - very experienced in life.

2) Chicken out - to fail to do something, or not try to do it, because you are afraid.

3) Catty - using sly words or remarks which are intended to hurt someone.

4) Horse around - to behave in a silly way, making noise and causing disruption.

5) The cat's whiskers - to be better than everybody else.


Do you know any other animal idioms?!

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Science close up - Wellcome Images 2014

Level: Proficiency / C2

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The annual Wellcome Image Awards celebrate the best in science imaging. 
Watch this short video (five minutes) and enjoy some amazing images.

Now answer the following questions:
1) What is the creature in the first image?
2) Why do ticks have to be removed carefully? (00:35 seconds into the video)
3) What does the specialised MRI scan measure? (00:53)
4) How many x-ray images were taken off the jaw? (01:43)
5) How big is the kidney stone? (02:11)
6) What do the purple cells indicate in the cancer image? (02:40)
7) In the lily flower bud, how many egg cells are there? (03:20)
8) What species of bat is shown (04:02)
9) What elements are being measured in the sludge? (04:18)
10) What is the winning image?


Answers below!


ANSWERS

1) A nit (a head louse egg)
2) Some of the feeding parts can remain embedded in the skin
3) The movement of water
4) 4,800
5) 2 mm wide
6) Cell death
7) Six
8) Brown Long-eared bat
9) Carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and sulphur
10) A scan of a patient with a mechanical heart pump

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Exosuit promises to take ocean explorers to new depths

Level: Upper-intermediate / B2

Vocabulary practice


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


Deep sea exploration is set to take a big step forward with the creation of an advanced exosuit, designed to take a free-diving human deeper than ever before.

Watch this short video (two minutes) to find out more, then answer the following questions:
1) Where was the suit officially unveiled?
2) How deep an a human go in the suit?
3) How much deeper than conventional recreational scuba?
4) Why are scientists interested in bioluminescence?
5) Where will the suit be used in July?


Answers below!





ANSWERS!


1) The American Museum of History, New York
2) 1,000 feet
3) Ten times the depth
4) Biomedicine - bioluminescence proteins could be adapted for use in humans
5) In a canyon off the coast of New England

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

How salmon help keep a rainforest alive

Level: Upper-intermediate / B2

Vocabulary practice

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

Another visit to the BBC's Power of Nature series. This video is called Salmon: Heart of the forest and it looks at how this fish helps the Great Bear Rainforest to survive.

Watch the video (four minutes long) and then answer the following questions:
1)  What does the forest do to the air and water?
2)  Which coast of Canada is the forest on?
3)  Why do the salmon swim up the rivers and creeks?
4)  Where do the bears eat the fish?
5)  How much of the nitrogen in the trees comes from the salmon?



Answers below!



ANSWERS!
1)  It cleanses the air; it stores and purifies water.
2)  The Pacific.
3)  To spawn (and then die).
4)  Deep in the forest.
5)  80%.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Vultures - nature's cleaners

Level: Upper-intermediate / B2

Vocabulary practice

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

Here is another great video from the BBC's Power of Nature series. Called Vulture: Earth's clean up crew it looks at the effects of the loss of vultures in India

The video (four minutes long) and the text with it have some interesting vocabulary.
What do the following words mean:
1)  scavenger
2)  purify
3)  soaring
4)  undertaker
5)  carcass
6)  livestock
7)  feral dog
8)  rabies
9)  rotting
10) extinction


Answers below!




ANSWERS!
The answers are taken from the Oxford on-line dictionary.

1)  scavenger
an animal that feeds on carrion, dead plant material, or refuse
2)  purify
remove contaminants from
3)  soaring
flying or rising high in the air
4)  undertaker
a person whose business is preparing dead bodies for burial or cremation and making arrangements for funerals
5)  carcass
the dead body of an animal
6)  livestock
farm animals regarded as an asset
7)  feral dog
in a wild state, especially after escape from captivity or domestication
8)  rabies
a contagious and fatal viral disease of dogs and other mammals, transmissible through the saliva to humans and causing madness and convulsions. Also called hydrophobia.
9)  rotting
the process of decaying
10) extinction
the state or process of being or becoming extinct
(extinct: (of a species, family, or other larger group) having no living members).