Hunting the northern lights

Hunting the northern lights

Lesson overview

In this C2 lesson plan, we will learn some vocabulary about physics, space, astronomy and pseudoscience.

Who wouldn’t marvel over the northern lights? Those incredible cascades of blue, green and violet light ribbons falling from the night sky – what a sight! Physicists have long speculated about what gives rise to this very special light phenomenon. Now they know! Would you like to know, too? If yes, let’s jump on this hunt for knowledge right away!


Warm-up: fun facts about space

The student reads some fun facts about space and decides which ones are true/false. Then, they complete more fun facts with the correct verbs.


Idioms: space and moon

This part of the lesson starts with idioms with the word space. The student reads a list of real and made-up idioms and ticks the correct ones (e.g. breathing space, gaze off into space, etc.). Then, they correct the mistakes in the rest of the idioms.
The student is given parts of idioms which have one word in common – moon, which they need to guess (e.g. baying at the moon, crying for the moon, etc.). These idioms are then matched with their meanings.


Atmospheric layers, astronomy, astrophysics and more

Based on a picture of atmospheric layers, the student tries to define each layer. Then, they check their answers by matching the layers with their exact definitions.
Then, they learn the difference between astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, and astrology.


Video: How to spot pseudoscience

The student watches a video about astrology as a pseudoscience. After watching it, they explain the three tips given on how to spot pseudoscience.


Vocabulary: physics, maths, chemistry, and biology

As an introduction to this part of the lesson, the student is given a list of scientific words which they are supposed to put into one of the four categories – Maths, Physics, Chemistry, or Biology. Then, some of the physics-related words are extracted for the student to match them with their meanings (e.g. friction, acceleration, force, etc.). Next, the student uses these words to replace underlined parts of the sentences.
Following the physics vocabulary, the student learns some chemistry terminology, more precisely, about atom structure, by filling in the gaps.
The student is then introduced to Latin plurals through a list of biology-related terms (e.g. alga-algae, fungus-fungi, etc.).


Video: Hunting the northern lights

After watching a video about Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis, the student decides if the statements based on the video are true or false. Then, they explain some of the terms appearing in the video (e.g. Sun’s corona, plasma, solar wind, etc.) and fill in the gaps with the missing astronomy and physics terms.
In the final part of the lesson, they learn some idioms related to science (e.g. blow a fuse, not rocket science, reinvent the wheel, etc.), match them with their meanings, and use them in sentences.



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