ESL Lesson Plan for "The Iceberg Project": LC, Pair Work, Worksheets (Oral/Written) PTT & Assignments

Teachers can also consult our page ESL Materials to Discuss Global Warming
for further information.

The ecological issue

One of the main issues confronting our society today is ecology, e.g. the preservation of our environment. In the future the world will have to face a scarcity of drinking water. This will be due to 3 factors: climate change with increased temperatures, pollution from chemical substances and an ever-growing world population.

This lesson (in a series of timeless listening comprehensions) is intended to introduce a variety of subjects such as projects to provide fresh water, measures to react against global warming and means to curb any mass consumption that is detrimental to the environment.

Materials found below: a listening comprehension audio file with a worksheet, oral pair work exercises, debate subjects, a written cloze exercise and links to a video related to the subject. Files in DOC are found in QualityTime-ESL: The Digital Resource Book.

New projects to bring drinking water to the driest regions of the planet

This is a very topical theme today with the Ice Dream Project about to be launched with a new documentary on the work of engineer Georges Mougin and and Dassault Systèmes, a French IT enterprise. This project was originally proposed by the French explorer Paul Emile Victor.

The narrative—in "Your English" Podcasts 23 and 24—has been cut into two parts with an introduction and a listen-and-repeat section for each part. There are also "debate" questions in each recording that students can take down in dictation and prepare orally or silently after completing each part. These exercises are appropriate for all levels from A2 to C1—thus good for mixed level classes. The oral files can be used in labs, in class or as "oral" homework when students have access to computers.

Two podcasts from "Your English" on the "Iceberg Project"

You can download them here:

  • Your English No.23 for "Iceberg Project Part 1"


MP3 - 12 Mb
Your English 23 Iceberg Project 1
  • Your English No.24 for "Iceberg Project Part 2"


MP3 - 9.7 Mb
Your English 24 Iceberg Project 2
  • If you prefer you can go to iTunes, type my name "Marianne Raynaud", and get the whole series of "Your English" including #23 & #24.

Worksheet with fIll ins, vocabulary and question

PDF - 171.4 kb
When the_Iceberg-Fill ins+vocab+questions


PDF - 73.9 kb
When the_Iceberg-Key LC

You can complete the woksheets with vocaulary in your students native tongue by typing into the Word/DOC files. The above files in DOC (Word) are found in QualityTime-ESL: The Digital Resource Book Version, which you can purchase in the store on a DVD or in a lighter downloadable version. There are also packs of listening comprehension exercises in the store.

New Oral Pair Work Activity with Key

As many teachers have to deal with fairly large classes with 20 or more students, I thought it might be good for the students to work on the listening comprehension in pairs—after listening to the recorded version once or twice. This is also a different way of working on listening comprehension "orally" instead of using a gap-fill grid.

One recto-verso paper for part one

After playing the recording of part one to the class (or reading it aloud yourself) and having the students complete the fill ins, you hand out one recto-verso paper (worksheet number one below) to each pair of students. They take turns being the "teacher", i.e. they read the text aloud (without letting their partner see the text), they do the listen-and-repeat part having their partner repeat, and then they ask the sort of questions we teachers tend to ask the whole class. Actually, it is even better to have the students do this activity on day 2 once they have learned the text by heart.

PDF - 213.9 kb
Iceberg - Part 1 L&R+Qs

"Easy" questions

On the paper the questions to be asked by the “student teacher” are printed with (in parentheses) some words that the “student” should be using in the answer. Again the “student teacher” is instructed not to show the paper to his to her partner.

The teacher will have to walk around to see and hear whether the students are speaking correctly, but I can assure you they will all be active and they will enjoy this activity much more than having the teacher put the questions to the whole class and answering one after another.

A short list of debate questions

There is an additional page (below), which the teacher should not print out or give to the students. It a page of advice. It also has the short list of debate questions found at the end of the recording (Podcast 18) that the teacher can write on the board or project to the class. I strongly suggest that before discussing these questions in pair work the students should change partners. These activities (reading, easy questions and then debate questions) should take about 30 minutes after which the teacher may decide to open up the discussion to the whole class—in that case please look at my suggestions on the "Questions for Debate" page.

PDF - 156 kb
Iceberg - Part 1 Qs for Debate

The assignment

The assignment after the first session should be to learn that second part by heart and answer the questions in the worksheet.

Part 2 of the "Iceberg Project" on a different day

Personally, I think it is advisable to do "Honesty part 2" on a different day. The students should first be asked to memorize part one and be ready to recite it to a partner at the next session. If they seem reluctant, tell them that this narrative is full of exactly the type of expressions that are on international tests and that they will be reciting to a partner and not in front of the whole class. That should reassure and motivate them. I would like to point out that all the verbs in part one are in the simple present (giving opinions and information) and all the verbs in part two are in the simple past (telling what happened). So this narrative provides practice with useful structures and important tenses.

One recto-verso paper for part two & debate questions

During the second class you put the students in pairs. First they recite part one to each other—very important. Second they listen to the recording of part two (or you read it aloud yourself). Then you give out the worksheet for part two (below), and they start the different exercises leading up the debate questions that you project or write on the board. It is best to ask the students to change partners for this second pair work activity.

PDF - 211.5 kb
Iceberg - Part 2 L&R+Qs
PDF - 211.5 kb
Iceberg - Part 2 Qs for Debate

A written cloze exercise to enhance semi-scientific vocabulary

As homework or as a pair-work activity in class you can have your students do this fill-in exercise on this topic to broaden their knowledge of more "scientific" words.

PDF - 117.2 kb
Will Deserts Drink Icebergs? Worksheet
PDF - 79.6 kb
Will Deserts Drink Icebergs? Key

Videos about the Ice Dream Project with George Mougin and Dassault Systems and about icebergs

Videos you may want to watch after the second podcast:

IceDream: The Iceberg project

Iceberg, the incredible journey - no commentary but an interesting film

Tracking the World’s largest Iceberg B 15 - again no commentary but you and your students can talk about what they see

Groups of three or four to "talk" about their essays

At the end of the second session instead of having a whole class discussion this time you can ask the students to get up, form different groups of three or four, and (while they are standing) talk about what they said to their partners concerning the debate questions and how they related to the films (if you showed them the video clips.

The assignment

The assignment after the second session should be to learn that second part by heart. Another possibiilty is to ask students to find on on-going project on the Internet and present it in four slides using the vocabulary of "The Iceberg Project".

A PowerPoint presentation on glaciology

I have also made a PowerPoint presentation that demonstrates the drilling techniques and the analysis methods developed by scientists. Teachers can show this PowerPoint in class. I have provided a text, which gives most of the information, which my colleagues and I would convey to our students. The idea is to explain how scientists drill through the Antarctic ice cap to extract cores that can be as deep as 5 km. In these ice cores the ancient atmosphere has been entrapped. Thus it is a way to find and then analyze the air that existed in the past, even 800,000 years ago. Scientists can thus determine the temperature that prevailed at the time the air was imprisoned in the ice as well as the various components of the Earth’s atmosphere particularly its CO2 concentrations. You will see graphs that show through time the rise in the planet’s temperature, which has accelerated exponentially over the last 50 years.

PowerPoint - 839 kb
Global Warming-PowerPoint
PDF - 770.5 kb
Global Warming-Just Slides
PDF - 102.6 kb
Global Warming-Text

Great success with this theme

I have always had great success with this theme of providing drinking water for ll populations of the world, which today seems just as valid and up-to-date as in the past. Moreover, global warming is a problem all nations will have to confront together!

With the lesson plan mentioned above all the students will be participating actively and will wind up expressing their ideas far more than when the teacher asks them to express their personal opinion in front of everyone else.

I’d love some feedback

I would really enjoy getting some feedback from teachers using these podcasts and worksheets. Just write to Marianne Raynaud. You can also contact me if you have any questions.

Additional exercises to make the most of the "Iceberg Project"

I have written many more exercises to learn semi-scientiifc vocabulary of the kind above and even more specific to the sciences. All these exercises are to be found in MS Word in QualityTime-ESL: The Digital Resource Book Version.

All the files on this page available in MS Word

If you purchase my digital book (see below), you will get all the files mentioned on this page in MS Word. Then you’ll be able to customize them, i.e. add vocabulary in your students’ native language, additional explanations or instructions like the due date of the essay assignment.

I hope this helps you.

Kind regards,


Effective teaching materials

If you are looking for effective teaching materials, read about QualityTime-ESL: The Digital Resource Book Version as a download or on a DVD, which includes all the recordings, scripts and worksheets of our different series plus more than 1,000 other files (MS Word, MP3, PPT and video). To purchase it for €29 plus shipping according to the destination, just go to the store.

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