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

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 240 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

''Joy in looking and comprehending is nature's most beautiful gift''
Albert Einstein, physicist, 1879-1955

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Earth Hour English lesson

Level: Upper-intermediate to Advanced / B2 - C1

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

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

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

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!

(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

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

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!


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!


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