Upper-Intermediate Instant Lesson™
A: Short Discussion
Find Madagascar on a map and answer these questions:
1. What kind of climate do you think it has?
2. How many people do you think live there?
3. What crops do you think grow there?
4.Did you see the movie, "Madagascar"? What did you learn about Madagascar from the
b. Make a Guess:
Now try this multiple-choice quiz:
1. Madagascar has a population of
a) 3 - 6 million people.
b) 8 - 11 million people.
c) 13 - 15 million people.
2. One of its main exports is
3. Its staple foods are
a) beef, fish and potatoes.
b) fish, bananas and potatoes.
c) rice, cassava and sweet potatoes.
4. Madagascar has two official languages.
One of them is Malagasy, the other is
5. It is in the
a) Atlantic Ocean.
b) Pacific Ocean.
c) Indian Ocean.
6. The nearest African country to it is
7. One animal native to Madagascar is
a) the zebra.
b) the lion.
c) the lemur.
C. Listen for the Answers
Now listen as your teacher reads aloud a short text about Madagascar and check your
answers for the quiz.
Present Simple or Present Perfect Simple?
Put the verbs in brackets, in the text below into the correct tense without looking back at
Madagascar ______________ (have) thousands of endemic species of plants and trees
but its rich biodiversity ______________ (have) under assault for decades as forest-
clearing, slash-and-burn agriculture and mining for rare minerals ______________
(decimate) the forests.
An estimated 80 percent of the island's original forest cover ______________
(disappear) and it ______________ (continue) to lose up to 200,000 hectares every
used to or be used to?
Choose the correct option for each of the sentences.
1. Madagascar used to/ am used to be covered in forest, but now 80 percent of its orginal
forest has gone.
2. People in Madagascar used to/are used to the slash-and-burn method of farming.
3. I used to/ am used to think we could cut down trees and not damage the environment.
Now I know I am wrong.
4. We used to/ are used to having one or two cyclones each year--they have a devastating
effect on our environment.
5. The people used to/ are used to eating rice, so when a cyclone hit last year and crops
were destroyed, there was a famine.
You may do one or more of these.
Answer these questions:
1. The word 'biodiversity' is used in the second article. What does it mean?
2. How old do you think this word is?
3. What threatens Madagascar's 'rich biodiversity'? Think of some examples of
activities that threaten biodiversity in your country.
B: Give an Opinion
"Humans need to change the natural environment in order to exist. Animals are often
destructive in their behaviour (eating plants or other animals) and of course earthquakes,
tidal waves and cyclones have a devastating effect on natural environments. We shouldn't
feel guilty about the impact we have had on the natural world. What we are doing is quite
Work in pairs. Discuss this opinion. To what extent do you agree or disagree with it?
Find out more about the island of Madagascar. Decide what you would like to know, how
you are going to get this information and how you will record and present the information
you obtain. You could visit a travel agent or check out the Internet or your local library.
TEACHERS' NOTES AND ANSWER KEY
A: Discussion - Notes
Students look at a map and find the island of Madagascar. They then answer the questions. Then get them
to put the map away and do the Make a Guess questions.
B: Make a Guess - Text (to be read aloud by the teacher)
Madagascar is a large island in the Indian Ocean with an area of 587, 041 square
kilometers (226, 658 square miles). It lies parallel to the south-east African coast and is
nearest the country of Mozambique. The centre of Madagascar has a mild climate, while
the south-west part of the island is quite dry. The eastern coast is wet and hot, covered in
rain forest and is threatened by cyclones.
Its main exports are vanilla, coffee and cloves and the chief foods are rice, cassava and
It has a population of 14, 763, 000 people. The two official languages are Malagasy and
French. It has a long history with boats of different countries visiting and trading and at
one time was used as a base by pirates. In 2005 a movie "Madagascar' was released
which has a zebra, lion, giraffe and hippo from a zoo in New York coming to the island
and learning that life for animals on the island like the native lemurs is tougher than they
B: Make a Guess - Notes
After students have answered the questions, read aloud the text above about Madagascar while they check
their answers for the quiz. (Read it at a normal speed, and do it two times if necessary.)
B: Make a Guess - Answers
The answer for each question is (c).
A: Reading Cloze - Answers
1. "Madagascar", 2. tourist, 3. rare, 4. $179.6 million, 5. voices, 6. environment.
B: Comprehension - Answers
1. It's the world's fourth largest island and is home to tens of thousands of species of animals and plants
found nowhere else.
2. Slash and burn style farming, logging and hunting.
3. Animal and plant species.
4. The number of tourists visiting Madagascar increasing. This might give the residents of the island an
economic incentive to preserve its forests.
5. They aren't native to the island.
6. The people of Madagascar.
C: Reading and Note-taking - Notes
This article describes what cyclones and humans have done in Madagascar. You may wish to point out to
students that these pressures continue. In January 2005 southwest Madagascar was hit by Cyclone Ernest
which had winds of 100 km/hr (60 mph). In 2004 two cyclones hit crops, causing prices for rice to shoot
up--this led to severe problems with inflation and very high food prices.
D: Check your understanding - Answers
(1) cyclones; (2) humans; (3) soil erosion; (4) sedimentation
E: Drawing Conclusions - Suggested Answers
1. Humans have been responsible for much of the removal of the forests on the island (because of
agriculture and mining). This has led to severe erosion and many trees are now endangered. Presumably,
although this is not stated, the animal and bird population would also be at increased risk because of what
humans have done in the past.
The cyclones are also responsible for destruction of forests and Paddack of WWF notes that animal and
bird species would have died as a result. However, humans are responsible for the disappearance of 80% of
the island's forest cover and the continuing disappearance of 200, 000 hectares every year. Students may
therefore decide that humans have had more of a devastating effect on Madagascar's plant and animal life
2.Madagascar, according to the article, has thousands of species of plants and trees and birds and animals
that are found nowhere else on earth. (Students may already know that Madagascar became separated from
Africa during the period of Continental Drift: this is why so many of its animal and plant species are found
E: Language - Notes
(You may wish to revise these rules with students before or after they do the activity.)
Some uses of the Present Simple and Present Perfect Simple:
The present simple can be used for habitual actions and facts which are always true.
The present perfect simple can be used to describe actions that happened some time ago but have a
connection with the present, actions that could be repeated and actions that began in the past and continue
to the present.
'Used to' expresses a past habit or state. (Used + to + base form of verb.) It is used for something that often
happened but doesn't happen now.
If you are used to something, you are accustomed to it. It isn't strange or unusual for you.
F: Language - Answers
Madagascar has thousands of endemic species of plants and trees but its rich biodiversity has been under
assault for decades as forest-clearing, slash-and-burn agriculture and mining for rare minerals has
decimated the forests.
An estimated 80 percent of the island's original forest cover has disappeared and it continues to lose up to
200,000 hectares every year.
Madagascar used to be covered in forest, but now 80 percent of its orginal forest has gone.
People in Madagascar are used to the slash-and-burn method of farming.
I used to think we could cut down trees and not damage the environment. Now I know I am wrong.
We are used to having one or two cyclones each year--they have a devastating effect on our environment.
The people are used to eating rice, so when a cyclone hit last year and crops were destroyed, there was a
A: Vocabulary - Notes
This is a short activity which provides a good introduction to Activity B.
A: Vocabulary - Answers
1. It means a diversity of plant and animal life.
2. It came into common use in the mid 1980s.
3. Activities like forest-clearing, slash-and-burn agriculture, clearing land for farming cattle and mining are