Apocalypse: World Fails to End, as Usual (Intermediate News Lesson Plan)

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Apocalypse ESL News Lesson Plan : Warm-up

1) What were you doing on Saturday at 6 pm?
2) Are there any strange religious groups in your country?
3) Do you think the end of the world is near?

Apocalypse: World Fails to End, As Usual (May 23rd 2011)

Harold Camping is an evangelical radio broadcaster in California. Through his radio network, called Family Radio, he had predicted the apocalypse, or destruction of the world, on May 21st, 2011. Based on the calculation of numerical references in the Bible, Camping believed that “a huge earthquake that’s going to make the big earthquake in Japan seem like a Sunday school picnic” was going to happen.
 
Prior to Judgement Day, many of Camping’s followers had given away their possessions, and drained their savings accounts. When the world failed to end as predicted at 6 pm, followers were left confused. Keith Bauer, a tractor-trailer driver, had driven 3,000 miles to gather in California for the event. He remarked, “I was hoping for it because I think heaven would be a lot better than this earth.” He took last week off work, figuring that he wouldn’t have been alive to get his paycheck anyway.
 
Many Americans were scoffing online about the apocalypse's failure to occur on cue. Christian leaders from across America had also dismissed the prophecy.
 
Camping built a multi-million-dollar Christian media empire to announce his prediction. His organization had $104-million dollars in assets in 2009, 18 million of which came from donations from followers. He had earlier predicted the end of world in 1994, but then said he had miscalculated. This time, he said, “there is … no possibility that it will not happen.”
 
According to the ancient Mayans, the next apocalypse is scheduled for December 21st, 2012, a date on which civilization will end as astronomical events converge.  [257 Words]
 
[Original: http://www.voanews.com/english/news/Biblical-Soothsayer-Predicting-Worlds-Demise-but-Americans-Scoffing-122387634.html, http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/will-the-world-end-today-christian-group-says-may-21-is-judgment-day/article2031033/]

Apocalypse ESL News Lesson Plan : Comprehension Questions

  1. What does the title of the article suggest about the author’s opinion?
  2. Why did Camping believe the world was going to end?
  3. True or False: Camping predicted the tsunami in Japan.
  4. Was follower Keith Bauer afraid of the end of the world?
  5. True or False: Camping had the support of many other American Christian groups.
  6. True or False: Camping has received millions of dollars from followers.
Answers
1 – It suggests that he or she does not take predictions about the end of the world seriously.
2 – He based his prediction on references to numbers in the Bible.
3 – False.
4 – No, he was afraid. He was hoping heaven would be better than life on Earth.
5 – False.
6 – True. They had donated to his organization.

Apocalypse ESL News Lesson Plan : Vocabulary Matching

Match the words with their meaning as used in the news lesson.
apocalypse
drain (verb)
figure (verb)
scoff (verb)
on cue
dismiss (verb)
prophecy
asset
civilization
converge (verb)
Answers
  • eminent – distinguished, well known
  • component – part
  • analogy – comparison of two similar things
  • divine – godly
  • dismiss – reject, deny
  • emphasize – stress, highlight
  • potential – capability, promise
  • paralyze – disable, cripple
  • symptom – sign

Apocalypse ESL News Lesson Plan : Connect the below idea(s) to make a sentence.

government / uprising
apocalypse / predict
drain / bank account
figure / this weekend
scoff / prophecy
asset / give up
civilization / ancient / Mayans
converge / path / two stars
Answers
Possible Answers:
  • The Mayans have predicted the apocalypse will happen next year.
  • Some followers drained their bank accounts before Saturday.
  • I figure that the weather will be nice this weekend.
  • Many people online scoffed at the prophecy.
  • I gave up all my assets and became a religious monk.
  • The Mayans were an ancient civilization who had their own written language.
  • When the paths of the two stars converge, the world will end.

Apocalypse ESL Lesson Plan: Asteroid Scenario

A giant rock is heading for Earth from outer space. Scientists believe it will hit our planet in 48 hours and destroy everything. What will you do in the next 48 hours? Rank the following items in order of preference:
 
Item:
Rank:
pray to God
 
celebrate
 
steal and rob
 
tell someone you love him/her
 
watch the news
 
give away possessions
 
other:
 
 

Apocalypse ESL Lesson Plan: Role-play

The world is going to end in 5 days. Luckily, it turns out that there is actually a second Earth, which is almost identical to ours except with no humans. Unfortunately, there is only one spacecraft capable of traveling to the planet, and it can only hold 6 people. You have been chosen to lead this final voyage from Earth and build a new civilization on this other planet. So, which five people from around the globe do you choose to be the people who will rebuild human civilization with you, and why?
 
Name/Position
Function:
1.
 
2.
 
3.
 
4.
 
5.
 

Apocalypse ESL News Lesson Plan : Discussion Questions

(Write your answers in the Comments section below if you wish).

  1. What is your opinion of Harold Camping?
  2. Have you ever believed the world was going to end?
  3. What were you doing on December 31st, 1999?
  4. Why have humans have been fascinated by the end of the world for thousands of years?
  5. Do you plan to spend your life savings before you die or leave it for your family? 
  6. How would you live your life differently if you knew you were going to die in a month?

News lesson plan copyright Matthew Barton of Englishcurrent.com

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One comment on “Apocalypse: World Fails to End, as Usual (Intermediate News Lesson Plan)

  1. Marília R. Vasco (Posted on 11-11-2014 at 11:30) Reply

    I think, it´s very nice. I like this kind of conversation, cause you have thousands of links from it to talk. It´s interesting!

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