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Map shows Chinese discovered America

Date: Jan 17, 2006
Level: Harder (Try the easier lesson.)
Downloads: Word Doc | PDF Doc | Listening
Audio: (2:10 - 254.9 KB - 16kbps) Today's listening is read by Mr. Claude James.
 
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THE ARTICLE

Historians and mapmakers are currently in deep debate over the authenticity of a map that might prove a Chinese admiral was the first person to discover America. This controversial notion, posited by British amateur historian Gavin Menzies, has gained credible validation after the discovery of an ancient map in Shanghai. The map dates back to 1418, seventy years before Columbus stepped foot on American shores. Mr. Menzies has written a best selling book - 1421 — The Year China Discovered the World – in which he claims that Admiral Zhu Di, a Ming Dynasty seafarer, sailed the seven seas and charted new lands in a massive fleet of 300 vessels. Researchers in New Zealand are conducting tests on the map to authenticate its age.

Mr. Menzies makes further claims about Zhu Di that turn current interpretations of history upside down. He maintains that the Chinese sailor circumnavigated the globe a century before Magellan, discovered Antarctica and reached Australia three hundred and fifty years before Captain Cook. Menzies states the admiral’s discoveries were, until now, to little avail, as China underwent centuries of self-imposed isolation. Chinese cartographers and scholars have rubbished Mr. Menzies’ book and cast skepticism on a claim that Zhu Di went any farther than South East Asia and India. However, the new map clearly shows America, Africa and Europe, albeit with the UK missing. It was snapped up for $500 in an antiques shop by a prominent Chinese lawyer.

WARM-UPS

1. HISTORY: In pairs / groups, tell each other about the early history of your country. Did someone discover it? Did another country invade and conquer it? How did it get its name? Change partners and share your findings.

2. WHAT DO YOU KNOW? With paper and pen, walk around the class ask other students, “What do you know about the discovery of America and Christopher Columbus?” Return to your partner / group and share your findings. Walk around the class again, this time telling classmates about the discovery of America and Christopher Columbus: “Did you know (that)…?” (Alternatively, do this for your own country).

3. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words are most interesting and which are most boring.

Historians / mapmakers / debates / maps / Shanghai / the Ming Dynasty / best selling books / the globe / discoveries / rubbish / antiques shops / lawyers

Have a chat about the topics you liked. For more conversation, change topics and partners frequently.

4. DISCOVERY OPINIONS: Talk about these opinions with your partner(s).

  1. If the map is authentic, all school history books will need to change.
  2. The next Space Shuttle should be called the Zhu Di.
  3. The city of Columbus, Ohio should be renamed Zhu Di, Ohio.
  4. America should be renamed the United States of Zhu.
  5. Americans will be very reluctant to change names to reflect the new discovery.
  6. The map must be a fake.
  7. The map will help America and China come closer together.
  8. It’s too much of a coincidence that the book and map suddenly appeared.

5. MAP: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word “map”. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.

6. MAPMAKER: You are a mapmaker. With your mapmaking partners, discuss the changes you would like to see made to the map of the world. Which borders would you like to create or erase? Which new countries would you like to create? Which countries would you make smaller or larger? Would you rename any countries? Change partners and share your ideas.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Look at the article’s headline and guess whether these sentences are true (T) or false (F):

a.

Historians and mapmakers are in deep water over a map.

T / F

b.

A professional historian claimed a Chinese sailor discovered America.

T / F

c.

A Chinese map showing America is said to date back to 70 AD.

T / F

d.

Researchers in New Zealand are authenticating the age of the map.

T / F

e.

The historian’s book turns our knowledge of history upside down.

T / F

f.

China underwent centuries of self-imposed isolation.

T / F

g.

Chinese scholars have always said a Chinese sailor found America.

T / F

h.

The map was bought in an antiques shop for $500.

T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article:

a.

mapmakers

understanding

b.

posited

doubt

c.

credible

confirm

d.

seafarer

proposed

e.

authenticate

trashed

f.

interpretations

mariner

g.

avail

purchased

h.

rubbished

cartographers

i.

skepticism

use

j.

snapped up

authentic

3. PHRASE MATCH: Match the following phrases from the article (sometimes more than one combination is possible):

a.

in deep debate

and charted new lands

b.

This controversial notion,

to authenticate its age

c.

gained credible validation after

circumnavigated the globe

d.

sailed the seven seas

of self-imposed isolation

e.

conducting tests on the map

over the authenticity of a map

f.

turn current interpretations

Mr. Menzies’ book

g.

the Chinese sailor

of history upside down

h.

as China underwent centuries

the discovery of an ancient map

i.

scholars have rubbished

up for $500

j.

It was snapped

posited by…

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words in the column on the right into the gaps in the text.

Map shows Chinese discovered America

Historians and mapmakers are currently in ________ debate over the authenticity of a map that might prove a Chinese admiral was the first person to discover America. This controversial ________, ________ by British amateur historian Gavin Menzies, has gained ________ validation after the discovery of an ancient map in Shanghai. The map dates back to 1418, seventy years before Columbus stepped ________ on American shores. Mr. Menzies has written a best selling book - 1421 — The Year China Discovered the World – in which he claims that Admiral Zhu Di, a Ming Dynasty ________, sailed the ________ seas and charted new lands in a massive fleet of 300 vessels. Researchers in New Zealand are conducting tests on the map to ________ its age.

 

 

foot
deep
seven
credible
authenticate
notion
seafarer
posited

Mr. Menzies makes further claims about Zhu Di that turn current interpretations of history ________ down. He maintains that the Chinese sailor circumnavigated the ________ a century before Magellan, discovered Antarctica and ________ Australia three hundred and fifty years before Captain Cook. Menzies states the admiral’s discoveries were, until now, to little ________, as China underwent centuries of self-imposed ________. Chinese cartographers and scholars have rubbished Mr. Menzies’ book and ________ skepticism on a claim that Zhu Di went any farther than South East Asia and India. However, the new map clearly shows America, Africa and Europe, ________ with the UK missing. It was ________ up for $500 in an antiques shop by a prominent Chinese lawyer.

 

 

albeit
globe
cast
avail
snapped
upside
reached
isolation

LISTENING

Listen and fill in the spaces.

Map shows Chinese discovered America

Historians and mapmakers are currently ___ ______ _______ over the authenticity of a map that might prove a Chinese admiral was the first person to discover America. This controversial notion, ________ by British amateur historian Gavin Menzies, has gained ________ validation after the discovery of an ancient map in Shanghai. The map dates back to 1418, seventy years before Columbus stepped foot on American ________. Mr. Menzies has written a best selling book - 1421 — The Year China Discovered the World – in which he claims that Admiral Zhu Di, a Ming Dynasty ________, sailed the seven seas and charted new lands in a massive fleet of 300 vessels. Researchers in New Zealand are conducting tests on the map to ____________ its age.

Mr. Menzies makes further claims about Zhu Di that turn current interpretations of history upside down. He maintains that the Chinese sailor _______________ the globe a century before Magellan, discovered Antarctica and _________ Australia three hundred and fifty years before Captain Cook. Menzies states the admiral’s discoveries were, until now, to little _______, as China underwent centuries of self-_________ isolation. Chinese cartographers and scholars have rubbished Mr. Menzies’ book and ______ skepticism on a claim that Zhu Di went any farther than South East Asia and India. However, the new map clearly shows America, Africa and Europe, ______ with the UK missing. It was ___________ ___ for $500 in an antiques shop by a prominent Chinese lawyer.


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘ancient’ and ‘map’.

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. STUDENT “DISCOVERY” SURVEY: In pairs / groups, write down questions about the notion of a Chinese sailor discovering America.

  • Ask other classmates your questions and note down their answers.
  • Go back to your original partner / group and compare your findings.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

6. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall exactly how these were used in the text:

  • deep
  • notion
  • credible
  • foot
  • massive
  • New Zealand
  • turn
  • globe
  • avail
  • cast
  • albeit
  • snapped

DISCUSSION

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

  1. Did the headline make you want to read the article?
  2. What adjectives describe your feelings about the article?
  3. What do you know about Christopher Columbus?
  4. What do you know about Chinese mariners?
  5. What do you think will change if the map is authenticated as being real?
  6. How do you think Americans would feel at having to greatly revise their history?
  7. How do you think Chinese people would feel knowing a Chinese sailor discovered America?
  8. Do you think there might be a Space Shuttle Zhu Di?
  9. Do you think it is too much of a coincidence that both the book and map surfaced within three years of one another?
  10. What have you been in deep debate over recently?

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

  1. Did you like reading this article?
  2. What do you think about what you read?
  3. Do you hope the map is real or a fake?
  4. Do you think it’d possible that a huge fleet of ships sailed around the world 600 years ago?
  5. How do you think the map survived for so long?
  6. Do you think Chinese scholars would know more about Zhu Di than an amateur British historian?
  7. Why is the notion that a Chinese sailor may have beaten Christopher Columbus a controversial one?
  8. Would you like to read the book?
  9. When was the last time you snapped up a bargain?
  10. Did you like this discussion?

AFTER DISCUSSION: Join another partner / group and tell them what you talked about.

  1. What was the most interesting thing you heard?
  2. Was there a question you didn’t like?
  3. Was there something you totally disagreed with?
  4. What did you like talking about?
  5. Which was the most difficult question?

SPEAKING

MAPMAKERS: You are a mapmaker. It is your job to remap the world - you may need an atlas or globe to help you. In pairs / groups, agree on the most important changes that need to be made in the areas below. Write down the potential problems of your remapping. Who will be happy? Who will be angry? How will it change the region or the world?

AREA

HAPPY / ANGRY

CHANGED REGION / WORLD
 

South America

 

 

Europe

 

 

Middle East

 

 

Africa

 

 

Asia

 

 

Change partners and talk about your remapping. Advise each other on the wisdom of your changes.

Return to your original partners and discuss what you found out from the other “remappers”.

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 on this story. Share your findings with your class in the next lesson. Did you all find out similar things?

3. PRIORITY REMAP: Write an essay describing the most important change you think needs to be made to the map of the world and why. Read your essay to your partner(s) in your next class. Did you all write about similar things?

4. A DAY IN THE LIFE: You are an admiral sailing the seven seas looking for new continents. Write an account of one day in your life. Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Did everyone have similar days?

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. F

b. F

c. F

d. T

e. T

f. T

g. F

h. T

SYNONYM MATCH:

a.

mapmakers

cartographers

b.

posited

proposed

c.

credible

authentic

d.

seafarer

mariner

e.

authenticate

confirm

f.

interpretations

understanding

g.

avail

use

h.

rubbished

trashed

i.

skepticism

doubt

j.

snapped up

purchased

PHRASE MATCH:

a.

in deep debate

over the authenticity of a map

b.

This controversial notion,

posited by…

c.

gained credible validation after

the discovery of an ancient map

d.

sailed the seven seas

and charted new lands

e.

conducting tests on the map

to authenticate its age

f.

turn current interpretations

of history upside down

g.

the Chinese sailor

circumnavigated the globe

h.

as China underwent centuries

of self-imposed isolation

i.

scholars have rubbished

Mr. Menzies’ book

j.

It was snapped

up for $500

GAP FILL:

Map shows Chinese discovered America

Historians and mapmakers are currently in deep debate over the authenticity of a map that might prove a Chinese admiral was the first person to discover America. This controversial notion, posited by British amateur historian Gavin Menzies, has gained credible validation after the discovery of an ancient map in Shanghai. The map dates back to 1418, seventy years before Columbus stepped foot on American shores. Mr. Menzies has written a best selling book - 1421 — The Year China Discovered the World – in which he claims that Admiral Zhu Di, a Ming Dynasty seafarer, sailed the seven seas and charted new lands in a massive fleet of 300 vessels. Researchers in New Zealand are conducting tests on the map to authenticate its age.

Mr. Menzies makes further claims about Zhu Di that turn current interpretations of history upside down. He maintains that the Chinese sailor circumnavigated the globe a century before Magellan, discovered Antarctica and reached Australia three hundred and fifty years before Captain Cook. Menzies states the admiral’s discoveries were, until now, to little avail, as China underwent centuries of self-imposed isolation. Chinese cartographers and scholars have rubbished Mr. Menzies’ book and cast skepticism on a claim that Zhu Di went any farther than South East Asia and India. However, the new map clearly shows America, Africa and Europe, albeit with the UK missing. It was snapped up for $500 in an antiques shop by a prominent Chinese lawyer.

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