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Spiders Have Too Many Legs, Study Finds (8th June, 2011)

Scientists think they know why spiders are so good at climbing and crawling - they have more legs than they need. A new study from the University of Nancy in France did research on thousands of different spiders. They noticed that 10 per cent of them had one or more legs missing. The researchers tested the spiders with and without missing limbs. They found that those with fewer than eight legs were as good at making webs as those with the full number of legs.

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The research team decided that six-legged spiders had no problems hunting. Report author Alain Pasquet said: "We were really surprised - we expected missing a leg to harm the spiders' ability to catch food, and it didn't at all." Pasquet said the creepy-crawlies had no problems with two fewer legs but started struggling if three were missing. The quality of spiderwebs made by five-legged spiders was not good enough to catch flies properly.

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PHRASE MATCH

Match the following phrases from the article.

Paragraph 1

1.

Scientists think they know

a.

and crawling

2

good at climbing

b.

than eight legs

3.

thousands of

c.

missing

4.

one or more legs

d.

why

5.

those with fewer

e.

webs

6.

good at making

f.

different spiders

 

Paragraph 2

1.

six-legged spiders had

a.

struggling

2

We were really

b.

ability to catch food

3.

harm the spiders'

c.

no problems

4.

creepy-

d.

enough to catch flies

5.

started

e.

surprised

6.

not good

f.

crawlies


LISTENING GAP FILL

Scientists ____________________ spiders are so good at climbing and crawling - they have ____________________ need. A new study from the University of Nancy in France did research ____________________ different spiders. They noticed that 10 per cent of them had one or more legs missing. The researchers tested the spiders with and ____________________. They found that those ____________________ legs were as good at making webs as those ____________________ of legs.

The research team decided that six-legged spiders had ____________________. Report author Alain Pasquet said: "We were really surprised - we ____________________ leg to harm the spiders' ____________________, and it didn't at all." Pasquet said the creepy-crawlies had no ____________________ legs but started struggling if ____________________. The quality of spiderwebs made by five-legged spiders was not good enough to ____________________.


MULTIPLE CHOICE

Scientists think they know (1) ____ spiders are so good at climbing and crawling - they have more legs than they (2) ____. A new study from the University of Nancy in France (3) ____ research on thousands of different spiders. They noticed that 10 per cent of them had one (4) ____ more legs missing. The researchers tested the spiders with and without missing limbs. They found that those with (5) ____ than eight legs were as good at making webs as those with the (6) ____ number of legs.

The research team (7) ____ that six-legged spiders had no problems        (8) ____. Report author Alain Pasquet said: "We were really surprised - we expected missing a leg to (9) ____ the spiders' ability to catch food, and it didn't at (10) ____." Pasquet said the creepy-crawlies had no problems with two fewer legs but (11) ____ struggling if three were missing. The quality of spiderwebs made by five-legged spiders was not good enough to catch flies (12) ____.

Put the correct words from this table into the article.

1.

(a)

what

(b)

when

(c)

why

2.

(a)

necessary

(b)

need

(c)

needy

3.

(a)

did

(b)

said

(c)

made

4.

(a)

and

(b)

or

(c)

so

5.

(a)

before

(b)

small

(c)

fewer

6.

(a)

full

(b)

six

(c)

all

7.

(a)

decision

(b)

decided

(c)

deciding

8.

(a)

hurting

(b)

hustling

(c)

hunting

9.

(a)

harmful

(b)

harm

(c)

harms

10.

(a)

all

(b)

never

(c)

every

11.

(a)

starts

(b)

start

(c)

started

12

(a)

properly

(b)

prosper

(c)

proper


SPELLING

Spell the jumbled words (from the text) correctly.

Paragraph 1

1.

good at gblniicm

2.

A new stdyu

3.

thousands of rdfieften spiders

4.

researchers tesetd the spiders

5.

without missing imslb

6.

the full ermnbu of legs

 

Paragraph 2

7.

The srrehaec team

8.

no problems nihngut

9.

We were really edrssirup

10.

the spiders' ability to chcta food

11.

started lggngsirut

12.

The quality of ewbdpssier


PUT THE TEXT BACK TOGETHER

Number these lines in the correct order.

(    )

were missing. The quality of spiderwebs made by five-

(    )

limbs. They found that those with fewer than eight legs were as good at making

(    )

legged spiders was not good enough to catch flies properly.

(    )

The research team decided that six-legged spiders had no problems

(    )

legs than they need. A new study from the University of Nancy in France did research on

(    )

webs as those with the full number of legs.

(    )

hunting. Report author Alain Pasquet said: "We were really surprised - we expected missing a

(    )

leg to harm the spiders' ability to catch food, and it didn't at all." Pasquet said the creepy-

(    )

thousands of different spiders. They noticed that 10 per cent of them had one or more legs

(    )

missing. The researchers tested the spiders with and without missing

(    )

crawlies had no problems with two fewer legs but started struggling if three

1  )

Scientists think they know why spiders are so good at climbing and crawling - they have more


WORD JUMBLE

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

1.

are     spiders     why     know     They     good     so.    

2.

more     have     They     need     they     than     legs.    

3.

missing     10     %     of     them     had     one     or     more     legs.    

4.

missing     without     and     with     spiders     The     limbs.    

5.

legs     Those     fewer     eight     with     than.    

6.

spiders     had     Six-legged     no     -     problems     hunting.    

7.

ability     spiders'     the     Harm     food     catch     to.    

8.

had    the    crawlies    problems    said    -    no    Pasquet    creepy.   

9.

by    five-legged    spiders    The    quality    of    spiderwebs    made.   

10.

enough     good     Not     properly     flies     catch     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 spiders 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. SPIDERS: Search the Internet and find more information about spiders. Talk about what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. MAGAZINE ARTICLE: Write a magazine article about spiders. Include imaginary interviews with spider experts. 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 a spider researcher. Ask him/her three questions about spiders and their legs. Give him/her three of your opinions on spiders. Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Your partner will answer the questions you asked.

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