Up for a wild low level lesson?


Zoos are for children only? Rubbish. A recent late night at the London Zoo took me back in time to one of my favourite childhood activities, and reminded me of how entertaining it is to look at animals (and at adults looking at animals).

Why not get your students to go to the nearest zoo as long as the nice weather lasts? I’m sure you’ll find lots of interesting animals and situations to talk about. To help your students do so in English, start introducing some handy vocabulary and useful structures beforehand.

Low level lesson:
Get your students warmed up with a muted animal video. Before you watch the video, ask your students to get together in pairs and come up with as many names of animals they see in the video while watching it. Show your students this video from the Guardian homepage about the London Zoo: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/video/2009/jan/08/london-zoo-animal-count.
Put your speakers on mute, in order for students to just see the pictures but not hear the sound. Do they like the animals in the video? Have they ever seen them?

Listen to the audio in the MEC activity ‘Come to the Zoo’ and find out more about the animals this zoo has and hasn’t got. Complete both MEC exercises with your students.
Now, open up the MEC activity ‘Where is everything?’ and ask your students to look at the map. Can they find any of the animals from the exercise before? (lions, tigers, kangaroos, bears, giraffes) Complete the true or false exercise together with the class, also asking students to correct the false statements.

Show your students a map of the London Zoo. You can find an interactive version on the London Zoo webpage here: http://www.zsl.org/zsl-london-zoo/visit/zsl-london-zoo-map,1295,AR.html. There is also a downloadable version that you can print out for your students here: https://static.zsl.org/images/originals/lz-summer-2011-london-map-7874.jpg.
Ask your students to come up with sentences similar to the ones in the MEC activity they just did (e.g. The gorillas are next to the butterflies). Each student writes down 5 sentences using the map of London Zoo, some of which are true, and some false.
Students now work in pairs. Student A tells student B one of his/her sentences, and student B decides if the sentence is true or false, correcting it if possible.

As homework, students complete the MEC Web Project ‘London Zoo’. In this Web Project they will find out more about the London Zoo, its animals, what they eat, how they live, and also how visitors can adopt them. You might like to ask students to find out more about their favourite animal. Students should write down 5 sentences about their favourite animal, and read them out to the class during the next session.

Young learners:
If you are looking for young learner activities, why not try Animal Explorers? This terrific online resource takes your students on an adventure through the animal world and the natural world. The good news is that if you are using Macmillan English Campus, you’ve got Animal Explorers, too.

Try for example the chapter ‘Safari Park’ in The Animal World, and explore names of animals by playing domino, tell mammals apart from birds, and find out more about the animals who live in the Safari Park.

I hope you’ll enjoy teaching the lesson!


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