Looking at Nature Benefits Brain (Advanced Reading Lesson)

Download the lesson plan here: nature-benefits-advanced-reading-lesson.docx

Note: This advanced ESL lesson plan is based on the following article: Just looking at nature can help your brain work better, study finds.  The lesson focuses on vocabulary, reading, speaking, and writing. You will need to print the article as well to use this lesson plan.

Vocabulary from “Just looking at nature…”

(Article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/05/26/viewing-nature-can-help-your-brain-work-better-study-finds/)

Read the following sentences and try to guess at the meaning of the words in bold.

  1. “In France, newly built commercial rooftops must sport either greenery or solar panels.”


  1. “….. a group of colleagues found that interrupting a tedious, attention-demanding task with a 40-second break…”


  1. “…it might be possible to identify the right `dose' of nature that people need to receive in order to actually reap significant health benefits.”


  1. “In one study, research subjects who viewed a 12-minute nature documentary before playing a game that involved managing a fishery resource engaged in more sustainable behavior.”


  1. “The new study appears to break ground by showing an effect and a benefit…”


  1. “….subjects have to catch themselves and not respond….”


  1. “…..making the task both difficult and also fairly taxing.”


  1. “The students exposed to the green roof scene not only reported that it felt more “restorative,” they performed better on the task.”


  1. “In particular, they showed less fluctuation in response time and made fewer errors of omission.”


  1. “For anybody who toils all day at task after task in an office building, it's hard to miss the implications.”


Post-Reading: Discussion Questions about Benefits of Looking at Nature

Discuss the following questions with your partner.

  1. In this article the author discusses a study which found that “interrupting a tedious, attention-demanding task with a 40-second “micro-break”- in which one simply looks at a computerized image of a green roof- improved focus as well as subsequent performance on the task.” Why do you think that looking at nature helps us to focus? Do you think that it would help you? Would you implement this at your workplace if it improved the performance of your employees?


  1. The article also claims that nature can be “restorative” for people. Do you find this to be true? Do you find time for nature in your daily life?


  1. Different cultures have different attitudes towards nature. For some it is to be feared, for others protected, for still others it is to be used for profit and business, and for others it is for leisure. How do you think that Canadians view nature? What about in your home country?

B. Choose one of the above questions and write your answer below.





ESL Lesson Plan on the benefits of viewing nature created by Katarina Ohlsson of Englishcurrent.com (copyright)

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One comment on “Looking at Nature Benefits Brain (Advanced Reading Lesson)

  1. jp, nyc (Posted on 7-15-2016 at 07:27) Reply

    this is pretty good! i will use it and pre-teach a lot of the vocabulary in the questions. good for a writing and speaking task for upper level adults.

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