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Astonish Me

Posted on August 1, 2011 by kierandonaghy

This EFL lesson is based around a short film Astonish Me created by acclaimed scriptwriters and directors Stephen Poliakoff and Charles Sturridge to celebrate  the World Wildlife Fund’s  50th anniversary. In this magical tale of adventure and discovery set in London’s National History Museum we see some of the extraordinary species recently found around the world.

film_in_action_thumbnail

 

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Language level: Intermediate (B1) – Advanced (B2.2)

Learner type:Teens and adults

Time: 60 minutes

Activity: Watching a short film, speaking and writing

Topic: Animals and nature

Language: Unusual species vocabulary

Materials: Short film, short documentary and WWF slides

Downloadable material: astonish me lesson instructions     wwf slides

 

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Step 1

Show your students the 3 photos below, and ask them what type of animals they are. Explain that 1 of the animals has been discovered in the last year, and the other two photos are fakes. Students should speculate about which 2 photos are genuine and which are fakes. The answer is that Photo A is real whilke B and C are fakes.

 

 

Step 2

Tell your students they are going to watch a film in which they see the 2 genuine species appear. Show the film and ask students to spot the genuine  animals.

 

 

Step 3

At the end of the film there is a caption with the following words:

“THERE IS STILL SO MUCH TO DISCOVER.

IF WE PRESERVE WHAT WE’VE GOT,

WE HAVE A CHANCE TO FIND IT.”

Ask your students to discuss the words, and the message of the film.

 

Step 4

Show your students the WWF posters in the SlideShare presentation below, and ask them to discuss them in small groups.

 

[slideshare id=15852227&doc=worldwildlifefundslides-130104044617-phpapp01]

 

Follow up

One of the featured animals in Astonish Me is  the incredible Macropinna microstoma, better known as the barreleye fish, which has become famous for its unique transparent forehead and rotating eyes that allow it to look up to see the silhouettes of prey and then look forward when eating. Scientists  from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute have recently sent down to depths of 600m an unmanned, undersea robot and the first images of this amazing fish have now emerged. Here is a short video narrated by MBARI scientist Bruce Robison giving more information about the barreleye.

 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RM9o4VnfHJU&w=630&h=354]


I hope you enjoy this English language lesson.

Support Film English

Film English remains ad-free and takes many hours a month to research and write, and hundreds of dollars to sustain. If you find any joy or value in it, please consider supporting Film English with a monthly subscription, or by contributing a one-off payment.

Monthly subscription

One-off payment

3 thoughts on “Astonish Me

  1. Great lesson cheers! One thing though before I do it, I could only see the animal from photo A in the video, which is the other real species?

  2. Hi! This looks like such a fantastic lesson, only set-back: The WWF posters in the SlideShare presentation at the end is not available or can’t be viewed.

    Is there anyway or where to find it?

    Thanks!!

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