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Chile Quake Made Our Days Shorter (3rd March, 2010)

The tragic earthquake that killed hundreds of people in Chile on February the 27th probably shortened our days. The huge 8.8 magnitude quake was one of the most powerful ever recorded. Experts say it was 500 times bigger than the one that hit Haiti in January. Richard Gross, a NASA scientist, believes the Chile trembler changed the Earth’s position. He said our planet’s axis moved sideways by 8cm. This shift is enough to make Earth spin faster, which would cut the length of a day by 1.26 microseconds.

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More than 700 people died in the terrible natural disaster. Aid agencies say over 2 million have been affected. Half a million homes have been damaged or destroyed. The NASA statistic is one that will cause people less concern than the ones affecting human lives. The figure is tiny – our days are now 0.00000126 seconds shorter than they were before the earthquake. It would take nearly a million days for us to lose a whole second. Mr Gross said he is not sure if his calculations are correct because one-millionth of a second is too short to measure.

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PHRASE MATCH

Match the following phrases from the article.

Paragraph 1

1.

tragic

a.

quake

2

8.8

b.

spin faster

3.

the one that hit

c.

moved sideways

4.

changed the Earth’s

d.

magnitude earthquake

5.

our planet’s axis

e.

Haiti

6.

enough to make Earth

f.

position

 

Paragraph 2

1.

the terrible natural

a.

concern

2

Aid

b.

a second

3.

Half a million homes have

c.

disaster

4.

cause people less

d.

been damaged

5.

one-millionth of

e.

measure

6.

too short to

f.

agencies


LISTENING GAP FILL

The __________________ that killed hundreds of people in Chile on February the 27th probably __________________. The huge 8.8 magnitude quake was one of the most powerful ever recorded. Experts say it was 500 times __________________ that hit Haiti in January. Richard Gross, a NASA scientist, believes the Chile trembler changed __________________. He said __________________ moved sideways by 8cm. This shift is enough to make Earth spin faster, which would __________________ a day by 1.26 microseconds.

More than 700 people died in the ______________________. Aid agencies say over 2 million __________________. Half a million homes have been damaged or destroyed. The NASA statistic is one that will cause __________________ than the ones affecting human lives. The figure is tiny – __________________ 0.00000126 seconds shorter than they were before the earthquake. It __________________ a million days for us to lose a whole second. Mr Gross said he is not sure if his calculations are correct because one-millionth of a second is __________________.


MULTIPLE CHOICE

The (1) ____ earthquake that killed hundreds of people in Chile on February the 27th probably (2) ____ our days. The huge 8.8 magnitude quake was one of the most powerful ever recorded. Experts say it was 500 times bigger than the one that (3) ____ Haiti in January. Richard Gross, a NASA scientist, believes the Chile trembler changed the Earth’s position. He said our planet’s axis moved (4) ____ by 8cm. This shift is enough to make Earth spin faster, which would cut the (5) ____ of a day by 1.26 microseconds.

More than 700 people died in the terrible natural disaster. Aid (6) ____ say over 2 million have been affected. Half a million homes have been damaged or destroyed. The NASA statistic is one that will (7) ____ people less concern than the ones affecting human lives. The figure is tiny – our days are now 0.00000126 seconds shorter than they (8) ____ before the earthquake. It would take nearly a million days for us to lose a (9) ____ second. Mr Gross said he is not sure if his (10) ____ are correct because one-millionth of a second is too short to measure.

Put the correct words from this table into the article.

1.

(a)

tragedy

(b)

tragic

(c)

tragically

2.

(a)

short

(b)

shortens

(c)

shortened

3.

(a)

hit

(b)

smack

(c)

punched

4.

(a)

side

(b)

sideways

(c)

sided

5.

(a)

long

(b)

lengthen

(c)

length

6.

(a)

agent

(b)

agency

(c)

agencies

7.

(a)

cause

(b)

course

(c)

coarse

8.

(a)

was

(b)

is

(c)

were

9.

(a)

whole

(b)

hole

(c)

wholly

10.

(a)

calculate

(b)

calculations

(c)

calculated


SPELLING

Spell the jumbled words (from the text) correctly.

Paragraph 1

1.

tgairc earthquake

2.

The huge 8.8 magnitude keaqu

3.

500 meist bigger

4.

changed the Earth’s oinptois

5.

make Earth spin faetrs

6.

cut the englth of a day

 

Paragraph 2

7.

terrible rltnaau disaster

8.

Aid sieneagc

9.

agdeamd or destroyed

10.

ryelna a million days

11.

his calculations are ccrerot

12.

too short to aesruem


PUT THE TEXT BACK TOGETHER

Number these lines in the correct order.

(    )

days. The huge 8.8 magnitude quake was one of the most powerful ever recorded. Experts say it was 500 times

(    )

people less concern than the ones affecting human lives. The figure is tiny – our days are now 0.00000126

(    )

More than 700 people died in the terrible natural disaster. Aid agencies say over 2 million have been

(    )

second. Mr Gross said he is not sure if his calculations are correct because one-millionth of a second is too short to measure.

(    )

bigger than the one that hit Haiti in January. Richard Gross, a NASA scientist, believes the Chile trembler

(    )

to make Earth spin faster, which would cut the length of a day by 1.26 microseconds.

(    )

seconds shorter than they were before the earthquake. It would take nearly a million days for us to lose a whole

(    )

affected. Half a million homes have been damaged or destroyed. The NASA statistic is one that will cause

(    )

changed the Earth’s position. He said our planet’s axis moved sideways by 8cm. This shift is enough

1  )

The tragic earthquake that killed hundreds of people in Chile on February the 27th probably shortened our


THE READING / TAPESCRIPT

With a partner, put the words back into the correct order.

1.

tragic     that     hundreds     The     earthquake     killed.    

2.

of     One     recorded     ever     powerful     most     the.    

3.

times    bigger    than    the    one    that    hit    Haiti    It    was    500

4.

Earth’s     position     The     .     Chile     trembler     changed     the

5.

day     a     of     length     the     Cut     microseconds     1.26     by.    

6.

died     People     disaster     natural     terrible     the     in.    

7.

been     have     homes     million     a     Half     damaged.    

8.

shorter     days     seconds     Our     now     0.00000126     are.    

9.

sure     calculations     not     his     correct     is     if     are     He.    

10.

short    too    is    second    a    of    millionth    -    One    measure   to.   


DISCUSSION (Write your own questions)

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

1.

________________________________________________________

2.

________________________________________________________

3.

________________________________________________________

4.

________________________________________________________

5.

________________________________________________________

6.

________________________________________________________

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

1.

________________________________________________________

2.

________________________________________________________

3.

________________________________________________________

4.

________________________________________________________

5.

________________________________________________________

6.

________________________________________________________


WRITING

Write about earthquakes for 10 minutes. Show your partner your paper. Correct each other’s work.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________


HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find more information about earthquakes. Talk about what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. MAGAZINE ARTICLE: Write a magazine article about earthquakes. Include imaginary interviews with two people who survived the quake. Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Give each other feedback on your articles.

4. WHAT HAPPENED NEXT? Write a newspaper article about the next stage in this news story. Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Give each other feedback on your articles.

5. LETTER: Write a letter to NASA scientist Richard Gross. Ask him three questions about earthquakes. Give him three of your opinions on the shortened day. Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Your partner will answer the questions you asked.

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