Nature

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”

Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955), theoretical physicist
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LESSON OVERVIEW

This free ESL lesson plan on nature has been designed for adults and young adults at an intermediate (B1/B2) to advanced (C1/C2) level and should last around 45 to 60 minutes for one student.

When people think of nature, they often think of trees, mountains and rivers. They think of places away from the big cities where they can relax after a stressful week at work. Nature is essentially all the things in the world (and the universe) not created by humans. But every day, humans encroach more and more into nature. Then again, if humans are also the product of nature, perhaps everything we do and create is natural as well? In this ESL lesson plan on nature, students will have the opportunity to discuss and express their opinions on issues such as the importance of nature, how nature is being harmed by humans and how nature can be protected.

This lesson plan could also be used with your students to debate these issues for Earth Day, which takes place in April or World Nature Conservation Day, which takes place in July. For more lesson plans on international days and important holidays, see the calendar of world days to plan your classes for these special occasions.

For advice on how to use this English lesson plan and other lesson plans on this site, see the guide for ESL teachers.

PRE-CLASS ACTIVITIES

Reading activity
Before the English class, send the following article to the students and ask them to read it while making a list of any new vocabulary or phrases they find (explain any the students don’t understand in the class):

Mental Health Foundation | Our top tips on connecting with nature to improve your mental health

The article gives tips on how connecting with nature can improve your mental health, including taking advantage of the nature close to you, getting out into the countryside and bringing nature to you. At the start of the class, hold a brief discussion about what the students thought about the article. What do they think about the issues raised in the article? Do they agree with what was said? Can they think of any ways they could connect with nature to help their mental health?

Video activity
To save time in class for the conversation activities, the English teacher can ask the students to watch the video below and answer the listening questions in Section 3 of the lesson plan at home. There are intermediate listening questions and advanced listening questions so teachers can decide which would be more appropriate for their students. Check the answers in the class.

The video for this class is called “What happens if you cut down all of a city’s trees?” by TED Ed which looks at the fortunes of two historical communities: one which embraced nature, and one which did not.

IN-CLASS ACTIVITIES

The focus in the class is on conversation in order to help improve students’ fluency and confidence when speaking in English as well as boosting their vocabulary.

This lesson opens with a short discussion about the article the students read before the class. Next, the students can give their opinion on the quote at the beginning of the lesson plan – what they think the quote means and if they agree with it. This is followed by an initial discussion on the topic including what nature is, the most beautiful things in nature and the cultural importance of nature.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with nature such as the great outdoors, breathtaking and to go back to nature. This vocabulary has been chosen to boost the students’ knowledge of less common vocabulary that could be useful for preparing for English exams like IELTS or TOEFL. The vocabulary is accompanied by a cloze activity and a speaking activity to test the students’ comprehension of these words.

If the students didn’t watch the video before the class, they can watch it after the vocabulary section and answer the listening questions. Before checking the answers, ask the students to give a brief summary of the video and what they thought about the content.

Finally, there is a more in-depth conversation about nature. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as whether they would prefer to live in a city or the countryside, what governments should do to protect nature and there predictions for nature in 100 years.

HOMEWORK

After the class, students will write about their opinion of nature. This could be a short paragraph or a longer piece of writing depending on what level the student is at. The writing activity is designed to allow students to practise and improve their grammar with the feedback from their teacher. For students who intend to take an international English exam such as IELTS or TOEFL, there is an alternative essay question to practise their essay-writing skills.

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