Intermediate Instant Lesson™
Fish Finds True Love
A: Group Discussion
Animals don't usually like to mix with other animal groups unless they are hungry and
are thinking about dinner. However, sometimes you hear stories about animals that have
befriended different animal species. For example, there was a sheep in South Africa that
took care of a baby elephant.
Discuss the following questions in small groups.
1. Do you know of any stories where two different types of animals formed a friendship?
Share them with your group.
2. What sorts of toys do animals like cats and dogs like to play with?
3. Have you heard any stories about animals that 'became friends' with an object like a
doll or a toy? Give an example.
Look at the following words from today's article. Sort the words by putting any with
similar meanings into the same group. The word toxic has been done for you as an
oceanarium, stressed-out, tank, toxic, unhappy, venom
Group 1: poison, toxic, ...
Group 2: anxious, ...
Group 3: aquarium, ...
Here are some answers to questions about Part One of today's article. Read the answers
and then read the article. Write down a suitable question for each answer.
1. Question: (you write the question) ...
2. Question: ...
Answer: In Bournemouth Oceanarium in southern England.
3. Question: ...
Answer: October, 2001.
You may do one or more of these.
Writers like using adjectives, because they can give information about someone or
something and make a sentence shorter, if used correctly. Look at the following
i. Dotty is a fish that is the size of a pea.
ii. Dotty is a pea-sized fish.
Which sentence is shorter?
Fill in the blanks in these sentences with your own ideas.
1. Dotty is a __________ - shaped fish.
2. A manta ray (stingray) is a __________ - shaped fish.
3. I have __________ - shaped eyes.
4. I live in a __________ - sized house / apartment.
5. My house / apartment is __________ - shaped.
6. During a bad hail storm, some __________ - sized hail can put big dents in cars.
A comic strip is a series of drawings that tell a story. Below is a comic strip called
"Dotty". With a partner look at the four pictures. What is Dotty thinking or saying?
Write the words in the speech / thought bubbles. Use your imagination and have fun!
Look at the following sentence:
Dolly found her perfect match - a plastic dice.
In this example dice is singular, however, in old-fashioned English dice was plural for
die. Thus, people used to say, "One die, two dice." Now it is common for people to say
'dice' for both the singular and the plural.
Below are some basic spelling rules for words when they change from singular to plural.
• the plural form for most words end in -'s'
• singular words that end in 's' , 'sh' , 'tch' , 'x' , and 'z' have -'es' added to them (bus
> buses, dish > dishes, patch > patches, fox > foxes, waltz > waltzes)
• singular words that end in a consonant + y change to -'ies' (e.g. hobby > hobbies)
• singular words that end in 'f' , 'ff' , and 'fe' usually drop the ending and add 'ves'
(e.g. leaf > leaves, knife > knives)
• some singular words do not change at all (e.g. sheep > sheep)
Unfortunately, there are many irregular plural forms that do not follow any spelling
rules. You must simply memorize the spelling.
Are you ready to take the Plural Test? Do not use your dictionary until you are finished.
Good luck! The first one has been done for you as an example.
Singular cactus daisy elf fish fungus mattress
Plural cacti loaves
octopus potato quiz salmon
Plural media phenomena species
TEACHERS' NOTES AND ANSWER KEY
A: Group Discussion - Notes
(The story about the sheep and the elephant is found in the Intermediate-Upper Intermediate Instant Lesson
'Mother and Son' in the www.english-to-go.com Instant Lessons Library.)
B: Vocabulary - Answers
Group 1: poison, toxic, venom (These words are all related to the word 'poison'. Toxic is an adjective
Group 2: anxious, stressed-out, unhappy (These words are all adjectives describing different negative
Group 3: aquarium, oceanarium, tank (These words all nouns connected with keeping fish in captivity.)
A: Comprehension - Suggested Answers
1. What is the name of the fish?
2. Where is Dotty being kept?
3. When did Dotty arrive at the oceanarium?
4. What does Dotty look like?
5. What were staff at the oceanarium worried about?
6. How did they try to solve the problem?
7. Did the plan work?
B: True / False / Not Mentioned - Answers
1.T; 2.F; 3.T; 4.NM; 5.F; 6.F; 7.F (They are also found in the Indian Ocean); 8.T.
C: Summarizing -Notes
Students may not know the difference between a 'bowl' and a 'tank'. A bowl is round in shape.
C: Summarizing - Suggested Answers
Staff at an oceanarium in southern France (England) have found a way to keep a large (tiny) boxfish
happy; they threw a plastic dice into her fish bowl (tank or aquarium). Dotty, the yellow and red (black)
boxfish, is poisonous and when she gets anxious, she releases blood (venom) which could kill her. The
staff decided that a dice would be a good addition to Dotty's fish bowl (tank / aquarium) because the dice
looks like a big stone (boxfish). Whenever Dotty gets nervous, she hides behind the dice which is much
brighter bigger than Dotty.
Dotty is expected to stay in quarantine with other fish (by herself), until she gets a lot larger and after that,
the general public will be able to see her.
D: Vocabulary - Notes
After students have completed the activity, you may like to use this extension activity.
Ask different students in the class to mime these actions:
To calm down.
To hide under a desk
To pop a piece of gum into your mouth
To pop your head around the door
To pop a balloon
To hide a letter under a book
To hide your face in your hands
To hide your excitement
To hide behind another student
(Show the action only to the student who is doing the miming.)
The student then asks the others in the class, "What was I doing?" They try to answer using the correct
verb: e.g. "You were hiding under a desk." etc. Some of the actions are of course more difficult to mime
than others, so you may like to select students who you think are better actors, or who will enjoy the
challenge of trying these ones. Intervene only if you need to clear up any misunderstandings about any of
the uses of the verbs.
D: Vocabulary - Suggested Answers
pop it into the water / into his mouth
hide under the table / behind the curtain
A: Language - Notes
'Pea-sized' is a participle acting as an adjective.
A: Language - Answers
Sentence ii is shorter.
1. Dotty is a square - shaped fish.
2. A manta ray is a diamond - shaped fish.
3. Answers will vary
4. Answers will vary
5. Answers will vary
6. During a bad hail storm, some golfball / baseball - sized hail can put dents in cars.
B: Writing - Notes
The students probably won't need any incentive to do this activity, but just in case, you could tell the
students that you plan to put each pair's comic strip on the walls of the class for everyone to look at.
C: Vocabulary - Notes
Students could do this alone or in pairs. You could make it a competition, by offering a prize to the student
or pair who finishes first without making any mistakes.
*When referring to 'fish' as a creature, the plural of the word may be 'fish' or 'fishes'. Fish is the more
usual form. e.g. "I caught lots of fish today." Fishes refers to different kinds or species of fish. Fish as a
food is uncountable. (I bought some fish for dinner.)
C: Vocabulary - Answers
Singular - Plural
cactus - cacti
daisy - daisies
elf - elves
fish - fish*
fungus - fungi
loaf - loaves
mattress - mattresses
medium - media
octopus - octopuses
phenomenon - phenomena
potato - potatoes
quiz - quizzes
salmon - salmon
species - species
Please Note: If your students would like to see pictures from the Bournemouth Oceanarium, the address is
For other lessons about fish characters, students may enjoy the instant lessons "Yummy Fish" and "Tish the