Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Video mini-lesson - Penguins go fishing

This short video from National Geographic is quite rich in language.


Watch the video - to get the general idea. Answer the questions and then do the exercises.

General comprehension

  1. What kind of fish does the video mention?
  2. Who steals what, and who from?
Show answers

Exercise 1. Verbs in context - Look at these verbs in context and then match them with their definitions below.

a. to rocketto rocket through a swarm of your favourite food
b. to leapjust opening your mouth and letting it leap in
c. to driveThe penguins drive the anchovy swarm into a shoal of shallow water
d. to bunch (sth up)bunching the throng even tighter
e. to surfaceOnly when the pelicans surface can they enjoy their catch
1. to rise to the top of the water
2. to force someone or something to go somewhere or do something
3. to move close together to form a tight group
4. to jump
5. to move very fast

Exercise 2a. Compound nouns - Match the beginnings and endings

1. easya)bombers
2. party-b)ducks
3. dive-c)pooper
4. sittingd)pickings

Exercise 2b - Now match the nouns with their definitions below. Enter the noun number into the relevant box below.

1.someone who spoils other people's enjoyment (usually by disapproving of or not taking part in a particular activity)
2.easy targets
3.military aircraft designed to fly down quickly before dropping their ammunition on a target
4.something (usually money) which can be got easily or dishonestly
Note 1 - The word shoal can have two meanings:
  • a small hill of sand just below the surface of the sea
  • a large number of fish swimming together as a group
We also talk of a school of fish
Note 2 - the video includes an American idiom:
  • When life gives you lemons, make lemonade
  • - out of something bad, make something good.
Similar idioms include:
  • (every cloud has) a silver lining - bad things often have a good side
  • make hay (while the sun shines) - take the opportunity when it's offered to you
Note 3 - the video also includes an example of inversion.
  • Only when the pelicans back off on their gluttony and let go of some of their catch can they surface and enjoy the bounty in their beaks, leaving the anchovy banquet down below once more to these gleeful gluttons.

Now watch the video again, first without looking at the tapescript.

Exercise 4. - Now Show the Gapfill exercise. You can do this as a listening exercise with the video, or choose the words from a selection (or both). To see the words Show Words

Exercise 4. - Now do this Gapfill exercise.

party   ·   greedy   ·   playful   ·   leap   ·   gluttony   ·   opportunity   ·   beaks   ·   heavy   ·   pelicans   ·   anchovies   ·   banquet   ·   surface   ·   lemonade   ·   tighter   ·   shoal
Imagine you had a favourite food, like say, well - (1)
Then let's say you had the (2) to rocket through a swarm of your favourite food, just opening your mouth and letting it (3) in.
That's life for these (4) Galapagos penguins in the waters off the Galapagos islands
The penguins drive the anchovy swarm into a (5) of shallow water, bunching the throng even (6) , making the pickings even easier.
Of course every (7) needs a pooper, in this case the poopers are (8) who make like dive-bombers to get in on some of this feasting.
The pelicans' water-filled pouches are too (9) to lift, and they're too (10) to let go.
And so, in a classic case of taking lemons and making (11) , the penguins pick off anchovies from the (12) of these pelican sitting ducks in front of them.
Only when the pelicans back off on their (13) and let go of some of their catch can they (14) and enjoy the bounty in their beaks, leaving the anchovy (15) down below once more to these gleeful gluttons.

Exercise 6a. A few phrasal verbs - Match the beginnings ans endings

1. makea)off on sth
2. letb)like sth
3. pickc)go of sth
4. backd)in on sth
5. gete)off sth

Exercise 6b. - Now match them with their definitions. Enter the verb number in the top half into the relevant box below.

1.to stop being involved in a situation, especially in order to allow.
2.enjoy or benefit from something other people are doing
2.to pretend to be something you are not (mainly US spoken)
3.to stop holding something
4.to select something (or somebody) and then take it (them)


  • Ex 1 - 1. to surface, 2. to drive, 3. to bunch, 4. to leap, 5. to rocket
  • Ex 2a - 1. pickings, 2. pooper, 3. bombers, 4. ducks
  • Ex 2b - 1. 2, 2. 4, 3. 3, 4. 1
  • Ex 3 - 1. e, 2. f, 3. a, 4. c, 5. b, 6. d
  • Ex 4 - 1. anchovies, 2. opportunity, 3. leap, 4. playful, 5. shoal, 6. tighter, 7. party, 8. pelicans, 9. heavy, 10. greedy, 11. lemonade, 12. beaks, 13. gluttony, 14. surface, 15. banquet
  • Ex 5a - 1. like, 2. go of, 3. off, 4. off on, 5. in on
  • Ex 5b - 1. 4, 2. 5, 3. 1, 4. 2, 5. 3

Printer friendly post

You can make a teacher copy with answers by clicking on 'Show All'. Make sure you 'Clear All' before printing student copies. Or you can print normally and the answers will appear on a separate page (Page 5). The lesson is on Pages 2-4. I strongly recommend doing a Print Preview first. You might want to change your margins and you certainly won't want to print every page.


Mrs. Marino said...

I like how you made the work interactive within the post. Did you use a program to make the worksheet? I'm interested in doing something similar on my blog, www.webmarino.com again, what a great idea and nice layout!

Warsaw Will said...

Thanks for that; especially as your own website looks pretty cool.

As for the programs, I write them all myself. I've put a couple of generators on this blog for printing worksheets.

Go to Tools in the top bar, and select Matching (like these exercises) or Gapfill.

It would be easy enough to copy the exercise table from this using 'View' and 'View source', but unfortunately that wouldn't give you the interactivity.

For that you need the javascript for checking and showing answers, which is hidden away in Blogger, although it's not too difficult to find if you know what you're doing.

I'll have a think about making this more easily available, so that teachers can use it on their own blogs. So watch this space (but not for a week or two!)