Ana Paula Reis graduated in English Language, Literature and Pedagogy, and has a post-graduate qualification in Language Teaching Methodologies. She is a Cambridge TKT: CLIL and Young Learners certificated teacher and has experience in teaching English as a Foreign Language and as a medium of instruction in bilingual schools. Here, Ana introduces another classroom activity for Part II of Teaching English through different subjects.
The following CLIL activity, designing an environmental interference proposal, aims to teach students about the environment and how changes. The activity helps to develop reading and oral skills, to apply math by measuring length using rulers and measuring tape, and encourages collaboration through working cooperatively and creatively with others.
Materials you will need:
- A text book with informational articles about the environment,
- cardboard boxes,
- ice cream stick,
- gouache paint,
- paint brush,
- small used toys,
- rulers and measuring tape,
- any other recycling material students may find relevant.
Abilities developed through the activity
The following are examples of what you can ask your students to do, in order to strengthen some of the following skills:
Reading – Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers. Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a topic or subject area.
Writing – With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.
Maths/Technology – With guidance and support from adults and peers, use the appropriate technology to produce and publish a piece of written text (using keyboarding skills). Generate measurement data by measuring lengths using rulers marked with halves and fourths of an inch.
Environmental Literacy – Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the environment and the circumstances and conditions affecting it, particularly relating to air, climate, land, food, energy, water and ecosystems.
1. Provide your students with some informational texts about the environment for them to learn through reading, analysing, and discussing in order to build background knowledge. Students will work on activities in which they will ask and answer questions in order to demonstrate their explicit understanding of the texts. They will use the sentence-level context to aid them with deciphering the meaning of any new vocabulary.
Your students will discover words such as the environment, ecosystem, habitat, population and community – as well as others that are related to specific ecosystems. These can be used to increase the students lexical knowledge. It also teaches them how to consult reference materials, including dictionaries as needed, to check the meaning and spelling.
2. Based on the previous steps, students will start planning their projects. Ask the students to choose an environment to study, such as a location in the school, and then reflect on what human interferences can improve it. Ask the below question to guide their initial discussions:
How can we make this environment more useful to people and other living things?
3. Ask your students to write an opinion text supporting their view with the reasons why their chosen environment should be changed. Next, they will contruct these ideas into a floor plan considering their previous discussions and the traits of the chosen environment.
Your students will need to visit the place and make their observations about the size of the area, using their mathematical measuring skills and materials provided. They will also need to consider whether it is an open or closed space and what living and nonliving things are settled there.
4. Ask your students to then prepare and deliver a presentation to share the outcome of their project with the class. The presentation will ideally incorporate technology, since students will learn to prepare their own slides using online presentation tools.
5. Finally, students will make a model of their project using the different materials provided to them. This will be presented to class after it is finished. As the teacher, you can propose a vote so that other students and colleagues at the school can choose the best model and presentation. Students could also have the opportunity to take their proposal to the school’s Principal.
This activity will give students the opportunity to apply what they have studied in their math and science classes in an authentic context. They will also improve their English Language reading, writing and oral skills.
As well as this, they will demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of environmental circumstances and conditions, particularly in relation to air, climate, land, food, energy, water and ecosystems.
In addition, they will have the possibility to acquire the skills of developing, implementing and communicating new ideas to others effectively.
Read Part I of Ana’s Teaching English through different subjects classroom activities.