Listening activity – “This Farm of the Future Uses No Soil and 95% Less Water”

The following activity is based on a short documentary published on the YouTube channel Stories, and its theme is VERTICAL FARMING as a way to reduce water usage and contamination.

Before watching the video I suggest that you read the vocabulary list, you can also download it (PDF file).

VOCABULARY 

  • LEAFY: having a lot of leaves.
    Plants Flora Foliage Greens Greenery Leafy Leaves
  • HUGE: very large in size, amount o degree.
    Endangered Elephant Trunk Skin Care African Big
  • MASSIVE: very large and heavy.
    Ex. Falkirk Wheelis a massive boat lift in Scotland.
    FalkirkWheelSide_2004_SeanMcClean.jpg
     
  • INDOOR: used, located, done or happening inside a building.
    An indoor field 1024px-Starfire_Sports_Complex_-_indoor_soccer_01
  • NUTRITIOUS: having substances that a person or animal needs to stay healthy and grow properly.
    fruits-and-vegetables-displayed
  • CROP: a plant that is grown by farmers and used as food.
    MaxPixel.freegreatpicture.com-Wheat-Spike-Cereals-Spike-Wheat-Field-Grain-Wheat-8762.jpg
  • TO STACK: to make things into a neat pile.
    Insulated food storage containers are stacked for loading onto Red Cross ERVs and Salvation Army canteens.
    FEMA_-_39207_-_Food_storage_containers_stacked_on_shipping_pallets_in_Texas.jpg
  • ROOT: the part of a plant that grows underground.
    root-276636_1920.jpg
  • TO MIST: to cover something with very small drops of liquid in order to keep it wet.
    Ex. These plants have to be misted regularly.

    Rooting_of_softwood_cuttings_of_elm_under_the_mist_propagation_system.jpg
  • ROW: a line of things or people next to each other.
    seagulls-591437_1280.jpg
  • TREND: a general direction in which a situation is changing or developing.
    Ex. Investments showed a positive trend over the period considered.
     
  • TO FEED (FED/FED): to give food to a person or an animal.
    Bottle_Feeding_Iberian_Lynx_cub_02
  • OVERPOPULATED: with too many people leaving in it.
    514px-TNagar_Ranganathan_Street.JPG
  • TO SPROUT: to appear suddenly and in large numbers.
    Ex. New houses are sprouting everywhere these days. 
  • STEEL: strong metal that can be shaped easily.
    1186px-Steel-Dowel-Pins.jpg 
  • MILL: a factory that produces a particular type of material; a building fitted with machinery for grinding grain into flour.
  • TOUGH: very difficult to deal with; physically and emotionally strong.
    Ex. Karen’s last pregnancy was tough.
  • STRIVE: to try very hard to achieve something.
    Ex. I enjoy watching people strive for their dreams.
  • LANDFILL: a place where waste is buried under the ground.
    120821-F-BP133-050.JPG

PDF version: This Farm of the Future Uses No Soil and 95% Less Water – Vocabulary – Free English Materials For You

Fill in the gaps in the following sentences while listening:

NARRATOR: You can’t see it on the outside, but this old industrial neighborhood is an agricultural oasis. Inside this former laser tag arena, about 250 kinds of ______________ greens are growing in _______________ quantities, to be sold to local supermarkets and restaurants. This is AeroFarms, a massive ______________ vertical farm in Newark, New Jersey. 

DAVID ROSENBERG: Our mission is to build farms in cities all over the world so people have access to ______________, great tasting, highly __________________food.

NARRATOR: ______________ are stacked more than 30 feet high inside this 30,000 square foot space. They’re grown using aeroponic technology.

DAVID ROSENBERG: Typically in indoor growing, the ______________sit in water and one tries to oxygenate the water. Our key inventor realized that if we mist nutrition to the root structure, then the roots have a better oxygenation.

NARRATOR: AeroFarms says the root misting system allows them to use 95% less water than a regular field farm. They also use no pesticides or herbicides. Instead of soil, plants are grown in reusable cloth, made from recycled plastic. And ___________________the sun, there are ______________________of specialized LED lighting.

DAVID ROSENBERG: A lot of people say, sunless? Wait, plants need sun. In fact, the plants don’t need yellow spectrum, so we’re able to reduce our energy footprint by doing things like reducing certain types of spectrum.

NARRATOR: This sophisticated climate controlled system ______________ the growing cycle in half, so crops can be grown all year round, but with a much smaller ______________on the environment.

DAVID ROSENBERG: There are all these stresses on our planet. 70% of our fresh water contamination comes from agriculture. 70% of our fresh water usage goes to agriculture. One third of our arable land has been degraded in the last 40 years. All these macro trends point to the fact that we need a new way to feed our planet.

NARRATOR: One of the early champions of vertical farming is Columbia University ecologist Dickson Despommier. In 1999, Despommier and his students proposed that vertical farms could ___________ ___________________ cities while using less land and less water. They would also cut greenhouse gases by eliminating the need to transport food over long distances. And the idea is finally taking root. Over the past few years, vertical farms have sprouted all over the world, including in Vancouver, Singapore, Panama, the UK, and around the US. Here in Newark, AeroFarms is building out another new farm in a former steel mill, one that’s bigger than a football field. Once it’s fully operational, it’s expected to produce two million pounds of greens a year– all grown vertically.

DAVID ROSENBERG: We listen to the plants very carefully to try and understand what they’re telling us and try and optimize all these different qualities of the plant. It’s a ______________ business, but it’s one that’s going to stay and it’s going to have a bigger and bigger impact.

NARRATOR: Do you think vertical farms will help solve our food production problems?Let us know in the comments below. And check out this next episode to see how this major US city is _________________ to become zero waste.

ROBERT REED: When I started at Recology 23 years ago, the recycling rate was around 38%. Today, we’ve more than __________________that.

NARRATOR: So far, San Francisco has diverted 80% of its waste away from landfills, and its success has been getting global attention.

PDF version (without key): This Farm of the Future Uses No Soil and 95% Less Water – Fill in the gaps
PDF version (KEY): This Farm of the Future Uses No Soil and 95% Less Water – KEY

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Listening comprehension – Overpopulation – The Human Explosion Explained Video by Kurzgesagt

As always, I suggest that you read the vocabulary list before watching the video. You can find a pdf version of this listening comprehension below.

VOCABULARY

  • To skyrocket: to rise extremely quickly or make extremely quick progress towards success.
    Ex. Lipstick sales in South Korea have skyrocketed this year.
  • Fourfold: four times as big or as much.
    Ex. According to recent figures, 34000 people are infected, and the most aggressive form of the virus, HIV 1, which was unknown in the country until the 1990s, has increased fourfold in the past 13 years. 
  • Slums: a poor and crowded area of a city where the buildings are in bad condition.kibera_slum_railway_tracks_nairobi_kenya_july_2012
  • Pollution: the process of making air, water, soil etc dangerously dirty and not suitable for people to use, or the state of being dangerously dirty.
    pollution_in_maracaibo_lake                       alfedpalmersmokestacks
  • To sustain: to provide what is needed for (something or someone) in order to live, to exist, to continue, etc.
    Ex. She wasn’t capable of sustaining close relationships with men. 
  • Ungrounded: not based on facts.
    Ex. The socioeconomic exclusion of women, based on ungrounded discriminatory social definitions of female and male roles, affects not only women and their human rights but also the development of sustainable economies and the protection of the natural environment. 
  • Unprecedented: never having happened before, or never having happened so much.
    We are confronted by an unprecedented situation. 
  • To overrun: to enter quickly and be present in (a place) in large numbers and unwanted.
    Ex. The enemies overran the city last night.overran.jpg

 

  • Worse off: having less money or being in a more difficult situation.
    Ex. The rent increases will leave us worse off. 
  • Sanitation: the systems for taking dirty water and other waste products away from buildings in order to protect people’s health.
    Ex. A lack of clean water and sanitation were the main problems. 
  • Goods: things that are produced to be sold. 
  • Widely: to a large degree; a lot; by a large number of people; in or to many places.
    Ex. Taking notes while listening to a lecture is an important strategy that students use widely for increasing attention and retaining content. 
  • Flourished: to grow or develop well.
    Ex. The Etruscans had flourished from the seventh to the first century B.C. 
  • Emancipation: the process of giving people social or political freedom and rights.
    Ex. Religious fundamentalisms have had a tremendous negative influence on the processes of women’s emancipation. 
  • Supply: the amount of something that is available to be used.
    We have a good and lasting supply of fresh water. 
  • To lead: to show someone where to go, usually by taking them to a place; to be in control of a group, country, or situation.
    Ex. Simplicity can lead to greatness and the concentration of one’s powers. 
  • To drop: if a level or amount drops, it becomes less.
    Ex. Temperatures will drop tomorrow after another scorching day. 
  • Spike: a sudden, rapid increase in something.
    Ex. Public Health officials in the region warned schools about a spike in flu viruses. 
  • To overlook: to see something wrong or bad but decide to ignore it.
    Ex. I don’t want to overlook any opportunity. 
  • To catch up: to do something that should have been done before.
    Ex. New Member States will have a unique possibility to catch up really fast and sometimes to avoid some of our previous mistakes. 
  • From scratch: from a point at which nothing has been done yet.
    Ex. Actually, maybe we should start again from scratch.

Answer the following questions:

  • How many people were living on Earth in 1940?
  • When was the legend of overpopulation born? 
  • What is the demographic transition? 
  • When did the first stage of the demographic transition occur? What happened in this century? 
  • What were the main features of the industrial revolution?
  • What were the main features of the second stage of the demographic transitions? 
  • What about the third stage? 
  • What is the average of children per family today?
  • How many years did it take developed countries to reduce fertility from more than 6 children to less than 3? What about Bangladesh?

PDF version with answers: overpopulation-the-human-explosion-explained-free-english-materials-for-you

 

Listening Activity – Halloween History

Happy Halloween! pumpking halloween.png

Yesterday I watched this interesting video by National Geographic on Halloween so I decided to share it with you. As always you’ll find a vocabulary list below and a comprehension activity. I hope you’ll enjoy it :-).

VOCABULARY

COMMUNION (with somebody/something): the state of sharing or exchanging thoughts and feelings; the feeling of being part of something.
Ex. Many people who live in close communion with nature are superstitious.

PRANK:  a trick that is done to someone usually as a joke.
Ex. Jackie’s pranks were starting to annoy her colleagues.

PATCHWORK: a thing that is made up of many different pieces or parts.
Ex. So the world is this complex patchwork of regions.

OCCULT: magic or supernatural.

TO STITCH WITH:  to make (something) out of many different things
Ex. They stitched red and blue ribbons onto their hats.

TO SPAN: to last for a particular period of time, especially a long period.
Ex. His career spanned half a century.

TO SPREAD: to cover, or to make something cover, a larger and larger area.
Ex. The European flu continues to spread throughout the UK.

VEIL: something that covers or hides something else.

TO GATHER:  to bring (things or people) together into a group.
Ex. The children gathered their toys (together) and put them away.

TO FROWN ON SOMEBODY/SOMETHING: to disapprove of somebody/something.
Ex. The company frowns on dating among employees.

TO MERGE:  to combine or make two or more things combine to form a single thing.
Ex. He has plans to merge his own company with another one.

DECEASED: dead; no longer living.

THE FOLD: a group of people with whom you feel you belong or who share the same ideas or beliefs.
Ex. We are hoping that these policies will bring reluctant voters back to the fold.

FAMINE: a situation in which many people do not have enough food to eat.

EXTORTION: the crime of making somebody give you something by threatening them.

BRIBE: something valuable (such as money) that is given in order to get someone to do something.

Free PDF version: listening-activity-Halloween-vocabulary

Watch the video, then try to answer these questions

1. Who originated Halloween traditions? What did they celebrate on October 31st?

2. Why did they lit huge bonfires and gathered around them?

3. When did the Vatican decide to merge this holiday with a church holiday?

4. All Saints day was known as …

5. What does ‘hallow’ mean?

6. When did Halloween become a ‘dangerous holiday’?

7. What was originally ‘trick or treat’?

Free PDF version: Listening-Activity-Halloween-questions

Answers: Listening-Activity-Halloween-answers

 

Listening Activity based on the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC’s video –“EXPLORING THE OCEAN FOR SIXTY YEARS – BEST JOB EVER” by Sylvia Earle


Complete the following sentences with the correct words:

  1. Even if you_______________________ (to see- never) the ocean or touch the ocean touches you.
  2. Every breath you take, every ______________ of water you drink it’s the ocean.
  3. For me ___________________ (to be) a biologist just ____________________ (to follow) my heart ____________________ (to lead) me to some fascinating places.
  4. As a scientist I love nothing more than being an explorer ____________________ (to discover) the nature of life itself, that sense of eureka.
  5. It’s a wonderful passport _______________ the ocean.
  6. We are just beginning to assess the magnitude of out ignorance and at the same time that we’re learning more, we’re also discovering how much we_________________________ (to lose).
  7. How do you save the ocean? You find others who __________________ (to have) a similar goal.
  8. All of us depend on these _______________________ and they’re incredibly …. In some ways they’re incredibly ______________________ if we do the right thing but they’re also …
  9. It’s a magical sight that endless horizon that just _____________________ (to stretch) out to blue infinity.
  10. You jump in the ocean and there you find ___________________________.

PDF version:listening-activity-exploring-the-ocean-for-sixty-years-freeenglishmaterialsforyou

Answers: listening-activity-exploring-the-ocean-for-sixty-years-answers-freeenglishmaterialsforyou

Listening activity -What’s the big deal with gluten? by William D. Chey – TED-Ed

Yesterday, I came across this Ted-Ed video and I found it quite informative. It’s just 5 minutes long and it isn’t difficult to understand. As you can guess reading the heading, it’s about GLUTEN, allergies, and intolerances. On Ted-Ed‘s website, you can find other listening activities on the video. 

Below a vocabulary list you should read before watching the video:

cereals-visual-vocabulary

Image source

BIG DEAL: something that is very important.
Ex. This was a really big deal for me.

RECENTLY: not long ago
Ex. I received a letter from her recently.

DIETARY: related to your diet.
Ex. This kind of dietary behaviour needs to be stopped immediately.

CRAZE: an activity, object or idea that is very popular for a short time.
Ex. The new dance craze is spreading.

INSOLUBLE: not able to be dissolved in a liquid.

DOUGH: flour mixed with water, and other ingredients that is baked to make bread, cookies, etc.

TO MOUNT: to activate; to launch.

MILD: not strong in action or effect.
Ex. Your friend had a mild heart attack.

TO IMPAIR: to make something weaker or worse.
Ex. Smoking can impair your health.

RASH: a lot of small red spots on the skin that is caused by an illness or a reaction to something.

FORTUITOUS: happening by chance; not planned.
Ex. My presence here is fortuitous.

PDF version: what-is-the-big-deal-with-gluten-vocabulary

Fill in the gaps in the following sentences:

  1. Maybe you’ve recently seen the phrase “gluten-free” on food ________________, or take-out menus, shampoo bottles, apartment listings, the _______________of your shirt, on a hammer, as a lower back tattoo, or in your friend’s resume.
  2. Next time someone starts telling you about their newfound freedom from gluten, here are some questions you can ask, and the _________________ answers that your friend, being a reasonable individual making educated _________________choices, and by no means just following the latest diet _________________, will tell you.
  3. What is gluten? Gluten is an insoluble protein composite _________________ of two proteins named gliadin and glutenin.
  4. Gluten is found in certain grains, particularly wheat, rye and _______________ .
  5. Gluten is responsible for the elastic consistency of and the chewiness of _______________ foods made from wheat flour, like bread and pasta.
  6. For some people, these foods cause problems, namely wheat allergy, celiac _________________, and non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
  7. Wheat allergy is an uncommon _________________ that occurs when a person’s immune system _________________an allergic response to wheat proteins, leading to mild problems, and in rare cases, a potential dangerous reaction called anaphylaxis.
  8. Celiac disease is an _________________ disease, in which eating foods with gluten leads to inflammation and damage of the lining of the small intestine.
  9. This impairs intestinal function, _________________ to problems like belly pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, weight loss, skin _________________, bone problems like osteoporosis, iron deficiency, small stature, infertility, fatigue and depression.
  10. Celiac disease is present in one in every 100 to ____________persons in the U.S.
  11. The most effective _________________ is a gluten-free diet, which helps heal intestinal damage and improve symptoms.
  12. Gluten sensitivity’s _________________ in the general population is unclear, but likely much more common than wheat allergy or celiac disease.
  13. For example, it may be the case that gluten can activate the immune system in the small intestine, or cause it to become _________________.
  14. The human intestine can’t _________________ or absorb fructans, so they make their way to the large intestine or colon, where they’re fermented by bacteria, producing short-chain fatty acids and gases.
  15. Another possible explanation behind gluten sensitivity is the ________________ effect.  This occurs when a person believes something will cause problems, and because of that belief, it does. It’s the opposite of the more well-known and much more ____________________ placebo effect.
  16. So a better name than non-celiac gluten___________________might be wheat _____________________.

PDF version: whats-the-big-deal-with-gluten-fill-in-the-gaps-without-answers

Answers: what-is-the-big-deal-with-gluten-answers

 

Listening activity: “Michigan Resident Helps Syrian Refugees Settle In” – AJ+ video

Michigan Resident Helps Syrian Refugees Settle In - AJ+ Video - Vocabulary List - Listening Activity - Free English Materials For You - femfy(1)

Other words you may not know:

  • Item: an individual thing.
    Ex. An item of clothing.
    An item of furniture.
  • To resettle: to begin to live in a new area after leaving an old one; to settle again.
    Ex. The only way to resettle a Mexican family here is by granting them political asylum.

Watch the video, then try to fill in the gaps in the following sentences:

  1. We give them as much ______________ as we can that they need, depending on how many people are in the house.
  2. We give them ______________, and stoves if they are needed.
  3. We’d been  able to work with these _________________.
  4. They come ___________ to our houses, meet our parents, meet our kids.
  5. They feel that they have a sense of family _____________ because most of these families have been _________________.

Downloadable PDF file: Michigan Resident Helps Syrian Refugees Settle In – Listening Activity

Downloadable PDF file: Michigan Resident Helps Syrian Refugees Settle In – Listening Activity – answers

 

Nuclear Energy Explained – How does it work? – Listening activity

Video made by In a Nutshell, a Munich-based YouTube channel, and design studio.

In my opinion, this is a very informative channel, great for English students and teachers. This is why I suggest that you check it out: In a Nutshell.

The video I picked for today’s lesson is about nuclear energy and it’s the first of a trilogy. It won’t take you long to watch it since it lasts about 5 minutes. As always, you should read the vocabulary list before watching the video. After that, you can test your listening comprehension answering some questions.

For teachers:

Before watching the video, I suggest that you ask your students what do they know about Nuclear Energy and what do they think are the pros and cons of it. Are they against or for nuclear energy? Can they justify their answer? Ask them to write down their reasons and if you have enough time, made a mind map with all the pros and cons.

VOCABULARY

  • Frustrating: making you feel annoyed or less confident because you cannot achieve what you want.
    Ex. It’s frustrating when you’re not on the same page.

  • Get/come to grips with something: to start to deal with a problem, situation, or job that you have to do.
    Ex. We need to get to grips with our different world views.

  • Spin-off: something useful that results from work done to produce something else.
    Ex. The World Summit on the Information Society produced valuable results; it also had a spin-off, a focusing effect.

  • On your feet: in a good position or condition.
    Ex. Experts say the economy should be back on its feet any year now.

  • Hangover:  a letdown, as after a period of excitement.
    Ex. The students hadn’t recovered from their summer break hangover yet and did terribly on their first test.

  • To stick with something: to continue to do or use something, and not change it.
    Ex. If you’ve found something that makes you happy, you should stick with it.

  • To skyrocket: to increase quickly to a very high level or amount.
    Ex. Housing prices have skyrocketed in recent months.

  • Dazzling: very attractive or exciting.
    Ex. The actor has had a dazzling career.

  • Pace: the speed at which something happens.
    Ex. Since the elections of 1998, the pace of reform has been impressive.

  • Underdog: in a competition, the person or team considered to be the weakest and the least likely to win.
    Ex. It was a surprise to everyone when the underdog won the match.

  • Nuclear fission: a process in which the nucleus of a heavy atom is split apart.

    nuclear fission visual.png

    Image source
  •  On the brink of: extremely close to.
    Ex. Eagleton is on the brink of an epic financial disaster.

  •  Turbine: an engine that has a part with blades that are caused to spin by pressure from water, steam, or air.
  • To threaten:  to be likely to harm or destroy something.
    Ex. Difficulties experienced by an individual institution may affect other banks in a way which could threaten the banking system as a whole.

  •  Drawn-out: continuing for or taking a long time.

    Ex. The network doesn’t want a long, drawn-out trial.

Downloadable PDF version: VOCABULARY – Nuclear Energy Explained

After watching the video, try to answer the following questions:

1. What did private companies think about nuclear power?
2. When did nuclear power’s success finally come?
3. What were the advantages of the light water reactor?
4. What does a water reactor do?
5. Is the water reactor the safest one?
6. What happened in 1979?
7. When did the Chernobyl catastrophe take place?
8. What’s the situation today?

Downloadable PDF version (Questions): NUCLEAR ENERGY EXPLAINED – Questions

Downloadable PDF version (Answers): NUCLEAR ENERGY EXPLAINED – Answers