Sophomore class 5 (Autumn semester) Talking about Weather, Climate Change and Recycling.

Nimen Hao,

welcome to today’s class.

We are going to work through some exercises and readings on weather, global warming, climate change and recycling. Most are taken from Chapter 8b titled “Recycle your Rubbish” (pages 62-63) in your Face2Face intermediate book.

For homework, you can begin preparation work for our speed debates by beginning to choose the topics.

Exercise 1. Explaining Weather terms

See if you can tell us what the following words mean.

A storm (adj. stormy)             A hurricane (or typhoon)                        

Thunder                   Lightning         A gale              A tornado   (U.S) A twister      

A heatwave                 A Blizzard           A flood          A tsunami       

An earthquake           A drought                A landslide

A shower    Humid        Fog (adj. foggy) Smog (adj. smoggy)

Exercise 2. Working in your small groups, discuss the following (in English).

  1. Have there been any stories about bad weather or natural disasters in the news recently? If so, where? What happened?
  2. Have you ever experienced extremely bad weather? If so, tell the group what happened.
  3. Do you think the weather where you live has changed since you were a young child? If so, how?

Exercise 3. Your weather words.

Take five minutes to write five weather words that are connected to you. Tell us why you chose them.

Reading 1. “FAQs:Global warming and climate change”

Let’s do the reading below. First, make sure you understand these words

(we’ll use the Cambridge University dictionary,

Atmosphere           Greenhouse gasses          Gas       Oil       Coal   Climate      Ice-cap

Gas: a substance in a form like air, that is neither liquid nor solid; it can increase in size to fill any container      

Oil: a thick, liquid substance that burns and is used as fuel or as a lubricant (a substance that is used to make parts move easily)     

Coal: a hard, black substance that is dug from the earth in lumps and used as a fuel

Atmosphere:   gases surrounding a planet, held in place by the gravity of that planet.       

Climate: the general weather conditions usually found in a particular place     

 Greenhouse gasses:   A greenhouse gas is a gas in an atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiant (heat/light) energy. This causes climate change (“global warming”, heating the planet).     

Ice-cap: a thick layer of ice that permanently covers an area of land (for example, polar ice caps)

“FAQs: Global warming and climate change”

Pollution over Mexico City

1. Heat from the sun is held in the earth’s atmosphere by natural greenhouse gasses. These keep the planet warm and without them the average temperature would be -18celcius instead of 14celcius. However, more and more heat is being kept in the atmosphere because of man-made greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide (Co2), which is produced by burning oil, gas and coal. This global warming is already causing changes in the weather all over the world.


2. Since the 1970s, average global temperatures have risen by about 0.6celcius and many scientists believe that more extreme weather conditions have been caused by climate change in recent years.

506x316_whenleveesbroke03.0For example, New Orleans was hit by a huge hurricane in 2005. Many people were killed and thousands were made homeless.

3. Experts believe that more and more places are going to be affected by climate change in the future. And as the ice caps at the North and South Poles melt and sea levels rise further, many towns and villages near the coast will be flooded. This is a frightening thought because more than half the world’s population lives near the coast.

floods south china

4. A lot has been written about what governments and businesses should do to slow down global warming. However, there’s also a lot we can do to save energy at home. For example, always turn off tvs, dvd players and computers. Machines use 70% as much electricity on standby as when they’re being used.

Exercise 4. Let’s fill in the gaps in the following sentences with one word.

1 Without natural greenhouse gases, the earth would be 32C …. than it is.

2 Because the earth is getting hotter, the …. is changing.

4 Sea levels are …. because the polar ice caps are disappearing.

5 We can save …. by turning off machines instead of leaving them on standby.

Listening and comprehension: the rate of change

Watch and listen to the following short clips from the BBC documentary, Climate Change: the Facts.

Clip. 1. The rate of change so far 3.30-4.30

Clip. 2. How much worse? The predictions 33.50-37.00

Clip. 3 What has to be done? Energy. 42.00-4315

Exercise 5. Let’s discuss the following questions.

  1. Did any of the information in the documentary clips surprise you? If so, what was it?
  2. What things could China do to help save the planet from climate change? Who is responsible for the changes needed?

Exercise 6.  Active or Passive expressions?

i) First, put the verbs in brackets in their correct active or passive forms.

a) Do you think global warming …. (take) seriously enough by the governments around the world?

b) What ……….(done) in your country in the last few years to deal with climate change?

c) Which parts of the country …. (damage) because of climate change?

d) Do you think governments should … (do) more to stop people using their cars so much?

e) Do you think the problem of climate change can only …………….. (solve) by governments and multinational companies?

ii) Now discuss the questions in your small groups (questions a-e).

Reading 2. A talk about recycling

Let’s read the following discussion from Face2Face about recycling . There are three characters, Val, James and Pete (they’re English characters).

Val: Hi James.

James: Hello Val. Hi Pete. Come in.

Val: Ready to go?

James: Not quite. Do you want some coffee? I’ve just put the kettle on.

Val: Yes, sure. You get ready, we’ll make it.

James: OK. Oh, there’s a bit of pasta there too if you’re hungry.

Val: Er, no thanks, we’ve just eaten … Well, I’ve found some coffee, but there’s no sugar.

Pete: There’s some in that jar by the toaster.

Val: Oh yes.

Pete: Hmm. There’s enough milk for two cups, but not enough for three.

Val: It’s OK, I’ll have it black.

James: Can someone feed the cat? There are plenty of tins of cat food in the cupboard.

Val: Sure. Here you go kitty. James, where’s your recycling box?

James: Haven’t got one. Why?

Val: Oh, everyone should have a recycling box. Too much rubbish is just thrown away when a lot of it could be recycled.

James: Oh dear, you’re probably right. I never recycle anything, I’m sorry to say.

Pete: Well, you’re not the only one. Hardly any stuff is recycled in this country. Did you know that Germany recycles over 50% of its rubbish, but in the UK it’s about 15%.

James: Hmm, that’s not much is it.

Val: No, and there aren’t enough recycling bins in the country. With stuff like … er, glass, for example, we only recycle 25%, but in Switzerland they recycle about 90%!

James: Yes, I see what you mean. I hadn’t really thought about it.

Val: Well, it’s never too late to start. And there’s a lot of stuff in the bin tha could be recycled. Look, there’s loads of paper and several plastic bottles. The bottles can be made into supermarket bags and the paper can be made into toilet paper — and, oh, those empty cat food tins can be recycled and the metal could be used for making fridge parts.

James: Wow, you know a lot about this.

Pete: Yes, well, there’s plenty of information on it these days isn’t there? But it’s hard changing people’s habits in this country. People are naturally lazy, I think.

Val: Yes, too many people just don’t bother. But the government should do more too. In Germany people have to recycle their rubbish … its the law. They should do that here too, I think.

James: Yes, I suppose you’r right. I’ve only got a few friends who recycle things. But in the future, I’ll try to recycle what I can.

Pete: Come on, we’re late.

James: Let me get my coat. Won’t be a second.

Val: We made a little progress there.

Exercise 7. Choose the correct answers for the following questions

1 Val and Pete have something/don’t have anything to eat.

2 James recycles some/doesn’t recycle any of his rubbish.

3 The UK recycles 50/15% of its rubbish.

4 25/90% of glass in Switzerland is recycled.

5 Parts for fridges can be made from plastic bottles/tins.

6 James is/isn’t going to recycle his rubbish in the future.

Exercise 8. Look at the sentences below and choose the correct words or phrases.

1.There are no/any recycling bins in my street.

2. I probably drink too much/too many coffee.

3. I got too many/hardly any sleep last night.

4. I know a few/a little words in other languages.

5. I watched a bit of/much tv last night.

6. I always have many/plenty of time to do my homework.

7. I haven’t got enough/several money to go on holiday.

8. I’ve been to some/any interesting places.

9. I probably eat too much/too many sweets.

Exercise 9. Tianjin: Hao bu Hao?

Work in your small groups again. Using the words/phrases below, tell each other three good and four bad things about Tianjin. After you have worked in your groups we will have a class discussion.

recycling bins   rubbish    traffic     pollution   cycle lanes     public transport  

places to park       parks  shops   cinemas       art galleries

places to go at night    noise at night

Homework: Individual Debate preparation.

  1.  Choose or make up some topics to debate.
  2. Read my guidance on preparing your debate, including issues of unity, coherence and evidence, as well as grammar.

You can choose your own topic. Some possible topics we’ve discussed so far include

A. Women work harder than men, for less reward.

B. My home town is a better city than Tianjin.

C. Chinese people are much healthier than American people.

D. Our youthful generation is much healthier than the older generation.

E. It’s much better to stay and live in China than to migrate overseas.

F. The national government should fix the problems of global warming, not individuals and communities.

***Just a reminder. Each speaker will speak for up to three minutes.





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