I have run out of fuel/petrol/gas!

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Have you had any conversations with your students in English about news reports, such as the lorry/truck drivers´ strike?  They may have to learn new words to tell you the story.  Perhaps these activities below may help your students to broaden their repertoire of vocabulary and encourage them to read news reports. 

ACTIVITY 1

Aim:  to learn words in British and American English to talk about the recent lorry/truck drivers´ strike in Brazil.

Level:  B1 upwards

Instructions:  In pairs, ask your students to fill in the gaps to form words either in British or American English.  Afterwards go through the answers.

BRITISH ENGLISH AMERICAN ENGLISH
Lo _ _ y Truck
Petrol G _ s
Moto_ wa _ Highway
Petrol station G _ s   st _ _ ion
Qu _ _e Line
Tyres T _ res
B _ _ k holiday National holiday
City centre Do _ _ town
For _ _ ight Two weeks
Underground/Tube Su _ _ ay
Taxi C _ b


Answers

BRITISH ENGLISH AMERICAN ENGLISH
Lorry Truck
Petrol Gas
Motorway Highway
Petrol station Gas station
Queue Line
Tyres Tires
Bank holiday National holiday
City centre Downtown
Fortnight Two weeks
Underground/Tube Subway
Taxi Cab

Divide the class into two groups: A and B.  Ask each student to pair up with another student in their group.  Tell all the students that they are going to write a dialogue in pairs between two people, João and Rachel. Group A should use all the words above in British English and Group B should use all the words in American English. In their dialogue, they should talk about what happened during the lorry/truck drivers´ strike.

When the pairs have finished and you have checked their writing for spelling, grammar, word choice, etc, ask the students to rub out the keywords and draw a line as in the example below:

João:  Did you have to stay in a queue long because of the lorry drivers´ strike? Rachel:  Yes, I ran out of petrol.  I stayed in a queue at the petrol station for 1 hour.   João:  Did you have to stay in a ___________  long because of the ___________ drivers´ strike? Rachel:  Yes, I ran out of _____________.  I stayed in a queue at the ______________  ______________ for 1 hour.

Ask each student from Group A to pair up with a student from Group B.  They should exchange dialogues and fill in the gaps with an appropriate word either in British or American English.

ACTIVITY 2

Aim:  To read and discuss two articles from a newspaper.

Level:  B2 upwards

INSTRUCTIONS: Choose two short articles from 2 newspapers, such as The Guardian newspaper – www.theguardian.com and The New York Times – www.nytimes.com.  Divide the students into two groups:  A and B. Each student in Group A receives one of the articles and each student in Group B receives the other article. Give the students between 5-10 minutes to read their article and help them with vocabulary when necessary. In their groups, the students should discuss the article and write down 10 key words. Ask each student from Group A to pair up with a student from Group B. In pairs, they should exchange their key words.  Each student then guesses what their partner´s article could be about. Afterwards the students tell each other their news stories.

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