Japanese Forced to Leave Homes (Upper-Intermediate News Lesson)

[Download Free Japan ESL News lesson plan here: Japanese_Forced_to_Leave_Homes_UppInt_03162011.doc]

Japanese ESL News Lesson Plan: Warm Up

1) What is a natural disaster? What are some kinds of natural disasters?

2) What are some examples of non-natural disasters?

3) Have there been any major disasters in your area?

4) What are some major disasters that you can remember?

Japanese Forced to Leave Homes (March 16, 2011)

In addition to the one-half-million people made homeless by last week's earthquake and huge tsunami, there are 200,000 more Japanese who have been ordered from their homes. These people were forced to evacuate because their homes are near a nuclear power plant that was severely damaged by the natural disaster. Approximately 350 people from the town of Okuma are now living, indefinitely, in a gymnasium of Koriyama High School on Sunday aboard buses of the Japan Self Defense Forces. Most people arrived with a little more than a change of clothing and blankets.
Harumi Takahashi is here with several children and grandchildren. When asked about the white smoke and invisible radiation coming from the damaged nuclear plant near her home in Okuma, she replies that it is difficult to give her opinion. Takahashi says she is not receiving any information because she no longer has a television. Another person, Keishu Maeda, used to work at the Fukushima nuclear plant. He says the events of the past few days have changed his opinion. "I think I was a good supporter for the [Japanese] atomic energy policy, but not anymore,” says Maeda.
Others in the shelter say they were always opposed to the construction of nuclear reactors in their town. One thing everyone here does agree on is that with the nuclear crisis still unfolding, they will have plenty of time to think, sitting and sleeping on the hardwood floor of a basketball court.   [242 words]

[Based on original article: http://www.voanews.com/english/news/asia/east-pacific/Japans-Nuclear-Evacuees-Ponder-Their-Fate-118089349.html, Voice of America]

Japanese News Lesson Plan: Comprehension Questions

1) How many people have been made homeless?

2) Why have the people in the town of Okuma left their homes?

3) What problem(s) is Harumi Takahashi having?

4) What has Keishu Maeda changed his mind about? What is his opinion now?

5) How long do the people plan to stay in the gymnasium?

  1. One-half-million people (not including people who have homes but can't return to them)
  2. They were forced to leave because of radiation leaking from a nearby nuclear reactor.
  3. She is not receiving any information about the crisis. (And also, she has  been forced to leave her home.)
  4. Japan's atomic energy plan. He no longer supports it because of the current crisis it has caused.
  5. They do not know.

Match the words with their meaning as used in the article.



many, much
move to a safer place
harmful energy
  • evacuate - move to a safer place
  • severe - extreme
  • approximate - rough
  • indefinite - undetermined
  • radiation - harmful energy
  • oppose - disagree
  • crisis - catastrophe
  • unfold - develop
  • plenty - many, much

Japan News Lesson Plan: Master the language

Use a word in the left column (above) to change the below sentences.
1)     I often get very bad headaches.
2)     The book was boring because its story developed very slowly.
3)     I hope I'll have a lot of time to travel after I retire.
4)     I had to leave my apartment because of the fire.
5)     Workers at the power plant wear special protection against dangerous energy.
6)     I have about 10 dollars in my bank account.
7)     He will continue living abroad for an unknown amount of time.
8)     Many people have lost their jobs because of the current economic difficulties.
9)     I am against the testing of medicine on animals.
  1. I often get severe headaches.
  2. The book was boring because its story unfolded very slowly.
  3. I hope I'll have plenty of time to travel after I retire.
  4. I had to evacuate my apartment because of the fire.
  5. Workers at the power plant wear special protection against radiation.
  6. I have approximately 10 dollars in my bank account.
  7. I will continue to live abroad (indefinitely/ for an indefinite amount of time).
  8.  ... because of the current economic crisis.
  9. I oppose the testing of medicine on animals. / I am opposed to the testing of ...

Japan News ESL Lesson Plan: Discussion Questions

1)    How do you get your news? How could you stay informed in an emergency?
2)    If you had one minute to leave your home, what would you take with you?
3)    What would you do if you lost all of your possessions?
4)    What is your opinion of nuclear energy? Which kind of energy do you support?
5)    Would you consider donating money to help the Japanese?
6)    Could you live in an area that could have a natural disaster at any moment?

News lesson plan copyright Matthew Barton of Englishcurrent.com

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