This activity makes use of a technique that, until I think of a better name for it, is called an organic gap fill. That means that everyone in the classroom lives the text. There is no paper and there’s no drag and drop.
- Language level: Intermediate (B1) +
- Learner type: Young learners; Teens; Adults; CLIL
- Time: 50 minutes
- Activity: Organic gap fill; Videotelling
- Topic: A predator and prey relationship
- Language: Present narrative tenses; Collocations
- Materials: Video clip
Lesson plan outline
- Tell students that they are going to hear about a special kind of relationship. Write the following on the board and ask students to guess what the missing letters are: A p _ _ _ _ _ _ _ -p _ _ _ relationship.
- Put students into pairs. Ask each pair to think of as many predator-prey relationships as they can and ask them to make a list. In order to give this a competitive edge, set a time limit and see which team can think of the most.
- Ask for feedback.
- Tell students that they are going to see a video clip from a nature documentary which involves a predator-prey relationship. Tell students that you are going to give them a number of phrases that the narrator uses. One by one, write the following phrases on the board in the order shown.
(Answer = a predator-prey relationship)
- right next to a breathing hole
- a very long wait
- worth the wait
- to listen out for
- as long as
- keep it going for a week
- no way of knowing
- in use at any one time
- strike lucky
- when the bear stops
After writing each phrase on the board, drill its pronunciation, ask students to copy it into their books, and ask if they can guess what the two animals are.
Note: The term ‘breathing hole’ will give them a clue. When students get to the last phrase, they find out that a bear is involved. Will they realise that it is a polar bear?
- Underwater, there is a certain sound that the seal needs to listen out for: Pad-pad-pad-pad-pad. That is the sound of the polar bear walking across the ice. The seal is safe as long as the bear keeps moving. The problem starts when the bear stops. The problem for the seal is that the bear could be standing right next to a breathing hole. The seal has no way of knowing. The seal can have as many as 12 breathing holes in use at any one time. But which is the dangerous one? The bear’s best strategy is simply to choose a hole and be prepared for what could be a very long wait. But it is worth the wait. The fat from one seal will keep it going for a week. And every week or so, it will strike lucky. Before it surfaces, the seal has one last check for danger because once it begins the ascent it is it committed. It is too buoyant to change direction at the last minute.
Note: Manage students so that they don’t all shout out at once. Encourage them to think about the grammar and logic of their answers. Nominate students when possible or ask students to put up their hands.
Follow up 1
Ask students to reconstruct the text as accurately as they can remember it. In doing so, they should incorporate all of the phrases that were written on the board. You can give students some flexibility of structure (order of ideas, for example) but they should incorporate all of the phrases without changing them in any way. Once this has been done, invite students to be the narrator of the video – allow them to read out their texts as the clip plays with the sound down.
Follow up 2
Use this activity to introduce a project on the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) red list of threatened species. It divides threatened species into three categories according to their risk of extinction.
- CR Critical endangered (most serious)
- EN Endangered
- VU Vulnerable
The polar bear is classified as a vulnerable species. The ringed seal (which features in the video clip) is listed in the (sometimes) ambiguous Least Concern category (see below). If a species is listed as Least Concern, it means that it has been evaluated but doesn’t belong to any of the other categories. It does not necessarily mean that it is thriving.
- EX Extinct
- EW Extinct in the wild
- NT Near threatened
- LC Least concern