Dear teachers, all material here can be used in the classroom for environment-themed lessons. You will find lesson plans here. You will also find material aimed both at learners for self study, and for use by teachers in the classroom with a projector, or as photocopies. Don’t be afraid of bringing the environment into the classroom, it is a language rich topic and is exciting and motivating for students if approach in the right way (see 6 tips for environment themed lessons).
You will find out about Earth Hour which takes place on 24th March. You will match up expressions of strong intention which will make your speaking very persuasive if you use them, and you will come up with ideas of things to do for Earth Hour. Teachers: a PowerPoint version for class: What are you doing this Earth Hour!
Starting as a symbolic lights out event in Sydney in 2007, Earth Hour is now the world’s largest grassroots movement for the environment, inspiring millions of people to take action for our planet and nature. What do you think people will do for Earth Hour and why?
While you watch
Watch the video. Are people doing the things you thought of in Preparation? Are some of them doing different things? Why are they doing them?
Check your understanding
After you’ve watched the video, decide if the following are true or false:
Earth Hour happens in countries all across the world.
Earth Hour is about governments and businesses doing things to protect the world.
According to Leonardo DiCaprio, we cannot reverse climate change.
In many cities, the lights are switched off from famous buildings.
This cartoon camel rapping will get children thinking about saving water. Add to that questions to focus them on routines involving water (brushing your teeth, having a shower) using present continuous, and this is ready to go with A1 level young learners. The video is posted on the excellent islcollective website, a mine of resources.
This lesson plan is based on the excellent campaign ‘I Like Clean Air’ in which London parents and kids fight pollution. Students discuss air pollution, listen to a fantastic song created for the campaign, read and analyse a letter by a child requesting a change to improve air quality and learn how to write a letter asking for something to be done about an issue important to them.
Language level: Pre-Intermediate (A2) upwards
Learner type: Primary and Secondary Young Learners
Time: 90 minutes
Language: Learners can differentiate between and use correctly complex and simple expressions for a transactional letter.
Skills: Learners write a letter requesting action to improve their cities air quality
Content: Learners explore the issue of air quality and become empowered to take action on it.
PowerPoint Air Quality Lesson
1 copy of the song lyrics I Like Clean Air for the teacher
1 copy of I Like Clean Air worksheet per student.
Ask students to discuss in groups what they love about their city and what they don’t love about it. Feedback to class and put ideas on the table in the PowerPoint.
Tell learners that students in London produced a song about their city. Students Brainstorm 3 things they might love about London and 3 things they don’t love. Feedback to class and add ideas to the table on slide 2.
Give out the worksheet I Like Clean Air Students read it, predict what the missing words are. They listen to the song again to check.
Students read the letter on the accompanying PowerPoint slide 4 and answer the following: Who is it from? Who is it to? What is it about? What is the format?
Elicit from students what expressions the writer of the letter uses to ask someone to do something. Then go to slide 5 on the PowerPoint and students match up the simple and complex phrases according to function. Elicit the pros of more complex language (more precise meaning) and the cons (can be less clear).
Ask what air quality issues there are in the students’ town or city. Who could they contact to do something about it? Complete the table on slide 6 and add ideas.
Students write a letter to a person of their choice on an air quality issue of their choice. This can be displayed on the classroom walls for the other students to read and then hand in.
How does religion view climate change? In this lesson based on a jigsaw reading, learners investigate what three of the world’s religions say about it. How will there view be different from that of the science academies? Prepare to be surprised when you find out. Students will also learn high level vocabulary on the topic and do a role-play. For C1 level and above.
Albena Simeonova and Ruth Buendía both won a prestigious prize for their dedicated work against all odds protecting the environment and the people living in it from ruthless exploitation. In this jigsaw reading lesson we honour their achievements, discover how ordinary people achieve great things and focus on environment-themed vocabulary and talk about people we admire. This lesson can be used with B1 and above, adults and teenagers.
Air pollution is a serious problem. And now we find that car-makers are cheating in their vehicle emissions tests. Outrageous? Yes! Here is a lesson plan dealing with this topic that practices third and mixed conditionals.
They make a mess in both town and country. Have you ever been to a beautiful place and seen rubbish everywhere? On the other hand, are they the biggest problem the environment faces? They don’t pollute the air or damage our lungs like car exhaust fumes, we can re-use them and recycle them. Whatever the truth, many places restrict their sale. This lesson is a role play debate. Should we ban their sale or not? Practice language for agreeing and disagreeing, and reaching consensus. For B1 level upwards.
All too often, course books make students write a letter of complaint using the same old contexts every time. An unsatisfactory hotel room, a faulty product or bad service in a restaurant. This time let’s breathe some fresh air into this genre of writing. And do some good for the world we live in at the same time!
They say you can tell next season’s hottest trend by looking at the colour of the rivers in Mexico and China. That’s because global fashion brands like Calvin Klein and GAP are using hazardous chemicals and dyes to make our clothes.
In this lesson students watch a fantastic mock anime film trailer in which our superheros expose the dark side of fashion. They also see how a ‘people-powered’ campaign set up by Greenpeace is changing the fashion industry for the better.
Students also learn vocabulary for clothes and use the present continuous to describe what someone is wearing.
A lesson aimed at teenage learners. B1/intermediate level upwards.
A lesson plan based on a more eco-friendly and city-friendly alternative to the car: the electric bike. While looking at this exciting development, students focus on indirect questions, and do a fact-finding mingle.