The Reading / Listening - Plastic-Eating Worm - Level 6

A natural solution to the growing crisis of plastic waste in the environment may be at hand. Researchers have discovered that a tiny caterpillar, commonly known as a waxworm, has a taste for plastic. Researchers from Cambridge University in the UK say that the waxworm devours plastic at "uniquely high speeds". They say that it is possible to utilize this environmentally-friendly solution to global waste on an industrial scale. Millions of waxworms could be bred to spend their days breaking down and consuming plastic bags, bottles, household items and other discarded waste. Around a trillion plastic bags end up in landfills around the world each year. They take centuries to biodegrade.



Researcher Dr Paolo Bombelli said: "It's extremely, extremely exciting because breaking down plastic has proved so challenging." He said the waxworm can break down a notoriously tough plastic like polyethylene more than 1,400 times faster than other organisms. The waxworm uses enzymes in its saliva to break the plastic's chemical bonds. It might be possible one day to replicate these enzymes and spray them on waste to make it decompose. Another researcher said: "We are planning to implement this finding in a viable way to get rid of plastic waste, working towards a solution to save our oceans, rivers, and all the environment from the unavoidable consequences of plastic accumulation."

Try the same news story at these easier levels:

    Plastic-Eating Worm - Level 4  or  Plastic-Eating Worm - Level 5

Sources
  • http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/04/24/plastic-eating-wax-worm-extremely-exciting-global-pollution/?WT.mc_id=tmgliveapp_iosshare_AntqGjhPTrbZ
  • https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170424141338.htm
  • http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/04/wax-worms-eat-plastic-polyethylene-trash-pollution-cleanup/


Make sure you try all of the online activities for this reading and listening - There are dictations, multiple choice, drag and drop activities, crosswords, hangman, flash cards, matching activities and a whole lot more. Please enjoy :-)



Warm-ups

1. PLASTIC: Students walk around the class and talk to other students about plastic. Change partners often and share your findings.

2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, talk about these topics or words from the article. What will the article say about them? What can you say about these words and your life?

       natural / solution / taste / high speeds / environmentally-friendly / landfills / bags
       exciting / challenging / tough / organisms / chemical bonds / waste / oceans / rivers

Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.

3. BANNED: Students A strongly believe plastic should be banned; Students B strongly believe that's silly.  Change partners again and talk about your conversations.

4. WASTE: What problems do these kinds of waste cause and how can we best deal with them? Complete this table with your partner(s). Change partners often and share what you wrote.

 

Problems

Solutions

Plastic

 

 

Oil

 

 

Nuclear waste

 

 

Food waste

 

 

Old cars

 

 

Computers

 

 

MY e-BOOK
ESL resource book with copiable worksheets and handouts - 1,000 Ideas and Activities for Language Teachers / English teachers
See a sample

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

6. ENVIRONMENT: Rank these with your partner. Put the most important parts of the environment at the top. Change partners often and share your rankings.

  • oceans
  • glaciers
  • farmland
  • jungles
  • rivers
  • mountains
  • lakes
  • forests

 

Before reading / listening

1. TRUE / FALSE: Read the headline. Guess if a-h below are true (T) or false (F).

  1. The article says a solution to the growing plastic crisis could be at hand.  T / F
  2. A caterpillar called a waxworm likes to eat plastic.     T / F
  3. The worm eats plastic very, very, very quickly.     T / F
  4. Around a billion plastic bags are buried in the ground each year.     T / F
  5. The article says researchers set a challenge to break plastic down.     T / F
  6. The worm can eat plastic over 1,400 times faster than other animals can. T / F
  7. Researchers said it is possible to replicate the enzymes of the worm.     T / F
  8. A researcher wants a viable way to save the worms from plastic waste.   T / F

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

  1. solution
  2. at hand
  3. tiny
  4. consuming
  5. discarded
  6. challenging
  7. tough
  8. replicate
  9. implement
  10. consequences
  1. thrown away
  2. eating
  3. copy
  4. near
  5. strong
  6. apply
  7. answer
  8. results
  9. very small
  10. hard

3. PHRASE MATCH: (Sometimes more than one choice is possible.)

  1. a tiny caterpillar, commonly
  2. on an industrial
  3. household
  4. Around a trillion plastic bags end
  5. They take centuries to
  6. break down a notoriously tough
  7. The waxworm uses enzymes in its
  8. It might be possible one
  9. working towards a
  10. unavoidable
  1. consequences
  2. saliva
  3. biodegrade
  4. known as a waxworm
  5. solution
  6. scale
  7. day
  8. up in landfills
  9. plastic
  10. items

Gap fill

Put these words into the spaces in the paragraph below.
devours
scale
landfills
crisis
biodegrade
commonly
items
solution

A natural solution to the growing (1) ________ of plastic waste in the environment may be at hand. Researchers have discovered that a tiny caterpillar, (2) ________ known as a waxworm, has a taste for plastic. Researchers from Cambridge University in the UK say that the waxworm (3) ________ plastic at "uniquely high speeds". They say that it is possible to utilize this environmentally-friendly (4) ________ to global waste on an industrial (5) ________. Millions of waxworms could be bred to spend their days breaking down and consuming plastic bags, bottles, household (6) ________ and other discarded waste. Around a trillion plastic bags end up in (7) ________ around the world each year. They take centuries to (8) ________.

Put these words into the spaces in the paragraph below.
way
tough
possible
accumulation
proved
solution
saliva
spray

Researcher Dr Paolo Bombelli said: "It's extremely, extremely exciting because breaking down plastic has (9) ________ so challenging." He said the waxworm can break down a notoriously (10) ________ plastic like polyethylene more than 1,400 times faster than other organisms. The waxworm uses enzymes in its (11) ________ to digest the plastic's chemical bonds. It might be (12) ________ one day to replicate these enzymes and (13) ________ them on waste to make it decompose. Another researcher said: "We are planning to implement this finding in a viable (14) ________ to get rid of plastic waste, working towards a (15) ________ to save our oceans, rivers, and all the environment from the unavoidable consequences of plastic (16) ________."

Listening — Guess the answers. Listen to check.

1)  A natural solution to the growing crisis of plastic waste in the environment ______
     a.  may be on hand
     b.  may be in hand
     c.  may be that hand
     d.  may be at hand

2)  a tiny caterpillar, commonly known as a waxworm, has a ______
     a.  tasty for plastic
     b.  tasted for plastic
     c.  taste for plastic
     d.  tasting for plastic

3) utilize this environmentally-friendly solution to global waste on ______
     a.  an industry all scale
     b.  an industrial scaled
     c.  an industrial scales
     d.  an industry all scaled

4) consuming plastic bags, bottles, household items and other ______
     a.  disgraced waste
     b.  this guarded waste
     c.  this guarded wastage
     d.  discarded waste

5)  Around a trillion plastic bags end up in ______ the world
     a.  landfills around
     b.  landfill surround
     c.  land fill surround
     d.  land files around

6)  extremely exciting because breaking down plastic ______ challenging
     a.  has proved sew
     b.  has proved so
     c.  has proved saw
     d.  has proved soon

7)  more than 1,400 times faster than ______
     a.  other organisms
     b.  other organism
     c.  others organism
     d.  another organisms

8)  It might be possible one day to replicate these enzymes and ______ waste
     a.  sprays them on
     b.  sprayed them on
     c.  spray them on
     d.  splay them on

9)  Another researcher said: "We are planning to implement this finding ______."
     a.  in a viable weight
     b.  in a viable way
     c.  in a viable ways
     d.  in a viable whey

10)  save our oceans, rivers, and all the environment from the unavoidable ______
     a.  consequences of plastic
     b.  consequence off plastic
     c.  consequences off plastic
     d.  consequential of plastic

Listening — Listen and fill in the gaps

A natural solution to the (1) ___________________ plastic waste in the environment may be at hand. Researchers have discovered that a tiny caterpillar, (2) ___________________ a waxworm, has a taste for plastic. Researchers from Cambridge University in the UK say that the waxworm devours plastic (3) ___________________ speeds". They say that it is possible to utilize this environmentally-friendly solution to global waste on (4) ___________________. Millions of waxworms could be bred to spend their days breaking (5) ___________________ plastic bags, bottles, household items and other discarded waste. Around a trillion plastic (6) ___________________ landfills around the world each year. They take centuries to biodegrade.

Researcher Dr Paolo Bombelli said: "It's extremely, extremely exciting because breaking down (7) ___________________ so challenging." He said the waxworm can break (8) ___________________ tough plastic like polyethylene more than 1,400 times faster than other organisms. The waxworm uses enzymes (9) ___________________ digest the plastic's chemical bonds. It might be possible one day to replicate these enzymes and spray (10) ___________________ make it decompose. Another researcher said: "We are planning to implement this finding (11) ___________________ to get rid of plastic waste, working towards a solution to save our oceans, rivers, and all the environment from the (12) ___________________ of plastic accumulation."

Comprehension questions

  1. What did the article say was growing?
  2. What is the tiny caterpillar in the article known as?
  3. On what kind of scale did the article say the worms could be used?
  4. How many plastic bags end up in landfills around the world?
  5. How long does plastic waste take to biodegrade?
  6. What did a researcher say was challenging?
  7. How many times faster can the worms break down plastics?
  8. When might it be possible to replicate the enzymes?
  9. In what way are researchers planning to implement this finding?
  10. What do researchers want to save besides oceans and rivers?




Multiple choice quiz

1) What did the article say was growing?
a) caterpillars
b) worms
c) crisis
d) the environment

2) What is the tiny caterpillar in the article known as?
a) a waxworm
b) plastic worms
c) hand worms
d) devour worms

3) On what kind of scale did the article say the worms could be used?
a) an industrial scale
b) large scale
c) gray scale
d) Richter scale

4) How many plastic bags end up in landfills around the world?
a) just over a trillion
b) around a trillion
c) exactly 1,000,000,000,000
d) just under a trillion

5) How long does plastic waste take to biodegrade?
a) millennia
b) years
c) decades
d) centuries

6) What did a researcher say was challenging?
a) breeding worms
b) breaking down plastic
c) extreme excitement
d) toughening plastic

7) How many times faster can the worms break down plastics?
a) over 1,400 times
b) exactly 1,400 times
c) just under 1,400 times
d) about 1,400 times

8) When might it be possible to replicate the enzymes?
a) November 11
b) 2027
c) one day
d) by the end of the decade

9) In what way are researchers planning to implement this finding?
a) in a voluble way
b) in a virulent way
c) in a violent way
d) in a viable way

10) What do researchers want to save besides oceans and rivers?
a) all the environment
b) money
c) costs
d) mountains and parks

Role play

Role  A – Rivers

You think rivers are the most important part of the environment. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their things. Also, tell the others which is the least important of these (and why): forests, farmland or mountains.

Role  B – Forests

You think forests are the most important part of the environment. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their things. Also, tell the others which is the least important of these (and why): rivers, farmland or mountains.

Role  C – Farmland

You think farmland is the most important part of the environment. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their things. Also, tell the others which is the least important of these (and why): forests, rivers or mountains.

Role  D – Mountains

You think mountains are the most important part of the environment. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their things. Also, tell the others which is the least important of these (and why):  forests, farmland or rivers.

After reading / listening

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionary / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words...

'wax'

  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • and 'worm'.

  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • • 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. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall how they were used in the text:

    • exciting
    • tough
    • saliva
    • spray
    • rid
    • save
    • growing
    • tiny
    • high
    • spend
    • end
    • take




    Student survey

    Write five GOOD questions about this topic in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper. When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

    (Please look at page 12 of the PDF to see a photocopiable example of this activity.)

    Discussion - Plastic-eating worm could remove the world's waste

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

    1. What did you think when you read the headline?
    2. What springs to mind when you hear the word 'worm'?
    3. How harmful is plastic to the environment?
    4. What do you do to recycle plastic?
    5. Should we stop making plastic products?
    6. What do you think of the natural solution in the article?
    7. How would the world be different without plastic waste?
    8. How would the world be different without plastic?
    9. How likely do you think it is that the waxworm solution will work?
    10. What do you think of landfills?

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

    1. Did you like reading this article? Why/not?
    2. What do you think of when you hear the word 'plastic'?
    3. What do you think about what you read?
    4. In what other ways can we deal with the problem of plastic waste?
    5. Would you keep waxworms to eat your plastic waste?
    6. How good is your town at disposing of plastic waste?
    7. What other dangers are there to our environment?
    8. What are the dangers of plastic waste?
    9. What could we use instead of plastic?
    10. What questions would you like to ask the researchers?

    Discussion — Write your own questions

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

    (a) ________________

    (b) ________________

    (c) ________________

    (d) ________________

    (e) ________________

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

    (f) ________________

    (g) ________________

    (h) ________________

    (i) ________________

    (j) ________________





    Language — Cloze (Gap-fill)

    A natural solution to the (1) ____ crisis of plastic waste in the environment may be at hand. Researchers have discovered that a (2) ____ caterpillar, commonly known as a waxworm, has a (3) ____ for plastic. Researchers from Cambridge University in the UK say that the waxworm devours plastic at "uniquely high speeds". They say that it is possible to utilize this environmentally-friendly solution to global waste on an industrial (4) ____. Millions of waxworms could be bred to spend their days breaking down and consuming plastic bags, bottles, (5) ____ items and other discarded waste. Around a trillion plastic bags end (6) ____ in landfills around the world each year. They take centuries to biodegrade.

    Researcher Dr Paolo Bombelli said: "It's extremely, extremely exciting because breaking down plastic has proved (7) ____ challenging." He said the waxworm can break down a notoriously (8) ____ plastic like polyethylene more than 1,400 times faster than other organisms. The waxworm uses enzymes in its (9) ____ to break the plastic's chemical bonds. It might be possible one day to replicate these enzymes and (10) ____ them on waste to make it decompose. Another researcher said: "We are planning to implement this finding in a viable way to get (11) ____ of plastic waste, working towards a solution to save our oceans, rivers, and all the environment from the unavoidable consequences (12) ____ plastic accumulation."

    Which of these words go in the above text?

    1. (a)     growth     (b)     grown     (c)     growing     (d)     grower    
    2. (a)     tiny     (b)     tinted     (c)     tinny     (d)     tin    
    3. (a)     taste     (b)     tasting     (c)     tasted     (d)     tastes    
    4. (a)     scale     (b)     ratio     (c)     band     (d)     ladder    
    5. (a)     housework     (b)     household     (c)     housekeeping     (d)     houses    
    6. (a)     of     (b)     down     (c)     at     (d)     up    
    7. (a)     such     (b)     thus     (c)     so     (d)     every    
    8. (a)     toughs     (b)     toughens     (c)     toughen     (d)     tough    
    9. (a)     saliva     (b)     salvia     (c)     salivate     (d)     salient    
    10. (a)     spree     (b)     spray     (c)     spry     (d)     splay    
    11. (a)     lid     (b)     rid     (c)     bid     (d)     hid    
    12. (a)     at     (b)     by     (c)     of     (d)     in

    Spelling

    Paragraph 1

    1. mlymonoc known as a waxworm
    2. the waxworm edosruv plastic
    3. at uuenlqyi high speeds
    4. on an rsuanlidti scale
    5. Around a itrinllo plastic bags
    6. They take etuenicsr to biodegrade

    Paragraph 2

    1. remeylxte exciting
    2. break down a notoriously ugoht plastic
    3. enzymes in its lasvai
    4. spray them on waste to make it dmcoeepos
    5. We are planning to ltnpeemmi this
    6. in a elibav way

    Put the text back together

    (    )     them on waste to make it decompose. Another researcher said: "We are planning to implement this finding in a viable

    (    )     up in landfills around the world each year. They take centuries to biodegrade.

    (    )     proved so challenging." He said the waxworm can break down a notoriously tough plastic like polyethylene more

    (    )     saliva to break the plastic's chemical bonds. It might be possible one day to replicate these enzymes and spray

    (    )     plastic. Researchers from Cambridge University in the UK say that the waxworm devours plastic at "uniquely high

    (    )     than 1,400 times faster than other organisms. The waxworm uses enzymes in its

    (    )     oceans, rivers, and all the environment from the unavoidable consequences of plastic accumulation."

    (    )     industrial scale. Millions of waxworms could be bred to spend their days breaking down and consuming plastic bags,

    (    )     speeds". They say that it is possible to utilize this environmentally-friendly solution to global waste on an

    (    )     discovered that a tiny caterpillar, commonly known as a waxworm, has a taste for

    1  )     A natural solution to the growing crisis of plastic waste in the environment may be at hand. Researchers have

    (    )     way to get rid of plastic waste, working towards a solution to save our

    (    )     Researcher Dr Paolo Bombelli said: "It's extremely, extremely exciting because breaking down plastic has

    (    )     bottles, household items and other discarded waste. Around a trillion plastic bags end

    Put the words in the right order

    1. solution   growing   plastic   natural   the   of   A   to   crisis   waste   .
    2. speeds   high   uniquely   at   plastic   devours   waxworm   The   .
    3. global  -  waste   friendly   Utilize  solution   this   to  environmentally   .
    4. and   their  consuming   days   plastic  breaking   bags  down   Spend   .
    5. landfills  in  up  end  bags  plastic  trillion  a  Around  world  the  around .
    6. tough   break   plastic   down   The   a   waxworm   notoriously   can   .
    7. times   other   than   1,400   than   More   faster   organisms   .
    8. bonds   its  break   chemical   in   to   plastic's  Enzymes   saliva   the   .
    9. one   replicate   It   possible   to   enzymes   be   day   these   might   .
    10. are   this   a  We   to   in   way  planning   finding   viable  implement   .

    Circle the correct word (20 pairs)

    A natural solution to the growing / grown crisis of plastic waste in the environment may be at hand / head. Researchers have discovered that a tinny / tiny caterpillar, commonly known as a waxworm, has a taste / tasty for plastic. Researchers from Cambridge University in the UK say that the waxworm devours plastic on / at "uniquely high speeds". They say that it is possible to utilize this environmentally-friendly solution to globally / global waste on an industrial scale. Millions of waxworms could be bread / bred to spend their days breaking down and consuming / consumption plastic bags, bottles, household items and other discarded / distracted waste. Around a trillion plastic bags end up / down in landfills around the world each year. They take centuries / centurions to biodegrade.

    Researcher Dr Paolo Bombelli said: "It's extremely, extreme / extremely exciting because breaking down plastic has proved such / so challenging." He said the waxworm can break down a notoriously toughen / tough plastic like polyethylene more than 1,400 times faster that / than other organisms. The waxworm uses enzymes in its saliva / salvia to break the plastic's chemical bonds. It might be possible one day to replicate / calculate these enzymes and spray / splay them on waste to make it decompose. Another researcher said: "We are planning to implement thus / this finding in a viable way to get rid / riddance of plastic waste, working towards a solution to save our oceans, rivers, and all the environment from an / the unavoidable consequences of plastic accumulation."

    Talk about the connection between each pair of words in italics, and why the correct word is correct.

    Insert the vowels (a, e, i, o, u)

    _ n_t_r_l s_l_t__n t_ th_ gr_w_ng cr_s_s _f pl_st_c w_st_ _n th_ _nv_r_nm_nt m_y b_ _t h_nd. R_s__rch_rs h_v_ d_sc_v_r_d th_t _ t_ny c_t_rp_ll_r, c_mm_nly kn_wn _s _ w_xw_rm, h_s _ t_st_ f_r pl_st_c. R_s__rch_rs fr_m C_mbr_dg_ _n_v_rs_ty _n th_ _K s_y th_t th_ w_xw_rm d_v__rs pl_st_c _t "_n_q__ly h_gh sp__ds". Th_y s_y th_t _t _s p_ss_bl_ t_ _t_l_z_ th_s _nv_r_nm_nt_lly-fr__ndly s_l_t__n t_ gl_b_l w_st_ _n _n _nd_str__l sc_l_. M_ll__ns _f w_xw_rms c__ld b_ br_d t_ sp_nd th__r d_ys br__k_ng d_wn _nd c_ns_m_ng pl_st_c b_gs, b_ttl_s, h__s_h_ld _t_ms _nd _th_r d_sc_rd_d w_st_. _r__nd _ tr_ll__n pl_st_c b_gs _nd _p _n l_ndf_lls _r__nd th_ w_rld __ch y__r. Th_y t_k_ c_nt_r__s t_ b__d_gr_d_.

    R_s__rch_r Dr P__l_ B_mb_ll_ s__d: "_t's _xtr_m_ly, _xtr_m_ly _xc_t_ng b_c__s_ br__k_ng d_wn pl_st_c h_s pr_v_d s_ ch_ll_ng_ng." H_ s__d th_ w_xw_rm c_n br__k d_wn _ n_t_r___sly t__gh pl_st_c l_k_ p_ly_thyl_n_ m_r_ th_n 1,400 t_m_s f_st_r th_n _th_r _rg_n_sms. Th_ w_xw_rm _s_s _nzym_s _n _ts s_l_v_ t_ br__k th_ pl_st_c's ch_m_c_l b_nds. _t m_ght b_ p_ss_bl_ _n_ d_y t_ r_pl_c_t_ th_s_ _nzym_s _nd spr_y th_m _n w_st_ t_ m_k_ _t d_c_mp_s_. _n_th_r r_s__rch_r s__d: "W_ _r_ pl_nn_ng t_ _mpl_m_nt th_s f_nd_ng _n _ v__bl_ w_y t_ g_t r_d _f pl_st_c w_st_, w_rk_ng t_w_rds _ s_l_t__n t_ s_v_ __r _c__ns, r_v_rs, _nd _ll th_ _nv_r_nm_nt fr_m th_ _n_v__d_bl_ c_ns_q__nc_s _f pl_st_c _cc_m_l_t__n."

    Punctuate the text and add capitals

    a natural solution to the growing crisis of plastic waste in the environment may be at hand researchers have discovered that a tiny caterpillar commonly known as a waxworm has a taste for plastic researchers from cambridge university in the uk say that the waxworm devours plastic at "uniquely high speeds" they say that it is possible to utilize this environmentally-friendly solution to global waste on an industrial scale millions of waxworms could be bred to spend their days breaking down and consuming plastic bags bottles household items and other discarded waste around a trillion plastic bags end up in landfills around the world each year they take centuries to biodegrade

    researcher dr paolo bombelli said "it's extremely extremely exciting because breaking down plastic has proved so challenging" he said the waxworm can break down a notoriously tough plastic like polyethylene more than 1400 times faster than other organisms the waxworm uses enzymes in its saliva to break the plastic's chemical bonds it might be possible one day to replicate these enzymes and spray them on waste to make it decompose another researcher said "we are planning to implement this finding in a viable way to get rid of plastic waste working towards a solution to save our oceans rivers and all the environment from the unavoidable consequences of plastic accumulation"

    Put a slash (/) where the spaces are

    Anaturalsolutiontothegrowingcrisisofplasticwasteintheenvironment
    maybeathand.Researchershavediscoveredthatatinycaterpillar,com
    monlyknownasawaxworm,hasatasteforplastic.ResearchersfromCa
    mbridgeUniversityintheUKsaythatthewaxwormdevoursplasticat"un
    iquelyhighspeeds".Theysaythatitispossibletoutilizethisenvironment
    ally-friendlysolutiontoglobalwasteonanindustrialscale.Millionsofwa
    xwormscouldbebredtospendtheirdaysbreakingdownandconsuming
    plasticbags,bottles,householditemsandotherdiscardedwaste.Aroun
    datrillionplasticbagsendupinlandfillsaroundtheworldeachyear.They
    takecenturiestobiodegrade.ResearcherDrPaoloBombellisaid:"It'sex
    tremely,extremelyexcitingbecausebreakingdownplastichasproveds
    ochallenging."Hesaidthewaxwormcanbreakdownanotoriouslytough
    plasticlikepolyethylenemorethan1,400timesfasterthanotherorganis
    ms.Thewaxwormusesenzymesinitssalivatobreaktheplastic'schemic
    albonds.Itmightbepossibleonedaytoreplicatetheseenzymesandspra
    ythemonwastetomakeitdecompose.Anotherresearchersaid:"Weare
    planningtoimplementthisfindinginaviablewaytogetridofplasticwaste
    ,workingtowardsasolutiontosaveouroceans,rivers,andalltheenviron
    mentfromtheunavoidableconsequencesofplasticaccumulation."

    Free writing

    Write about plastic-eating worm for 10 minutes. Comment on your partner’s paper.

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    Academic writing

    The world needs to completely stop using plastic. We don't need it. Discuss.

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    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 out more about this story. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

    3. PLASTIC: Make a poster about the damage plastic waste does. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?

    4. WAXWORMS: Write a magazine article about waxworms and how they might eliminate all plastic waste. Include imaginary interviews with people who believe this will work and with those who think it will not work.

    Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Write down any new words and expressions you hear from your partner(s).

    5. 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.

    6. LETTER: Write a letter to an expert on plastic. Ask him/her three questions about it. Give him/her three of your ideas on how to deal with discarded plastic. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

    Answers

    (Please look at page 26 of the PDF to see a photocopiable example of this activity.)

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