Дидактичні матеріали до спецкурсу «Країнознавство США». Плани-конспекти уроків
Lecture and practical training «Geographical position of the USA»
Aims and objectives:
- to introduce and practice the vocabulary;
- to develop interactive skills based on the country study;
- to widen the students' outlook.
Introducing the topic
T. Good morning! Today we’re going to work on the topic «Geographical position of the USA».
Task 1. Answer the questions.
1. What can you tell about the geographical position of the USA?
2. Can you name the main rivers and mountains in the USA?
3. What kind of climate is there in the USA?
II. THE MAIN PART
Reading and grammar
Task 2. Match the phrases.
1. Північно-Американський континент
2. Загальна площа
b) rich deposits
c) the North American continent
4. Горні озера
d) The total area
5. Багаті депозити
e) mountain lakes
Task 3. Read the text and complete the table.
The United States is a varied land — of forests, deserts, mountains, high flat lands and fertile plains.
The USA occupies the central part of the North American continent. It borders on Canada in the north and Mexico in the south. It is washed by the Atlantic Ocean in the east, by the Pacific Ocean in the west and by the Gulf of Mexico in the south. The total area of the USA consists of three separate parts. The USA proper and Alaska are situated in North America. The Hawaii are situated in the central part of the Pacific Ocean. The area of the country is about 9,400,000 km2. Its population is about 256 million people. No general statement can be made about the landscape of the USA. It is a country of mountains and prairies, valleys and deserts. About one half of the territory in the west is occupied by the Cordilleras. In the east there are the Appalachian Mountains. Between these great mountain chains central and large valleys lie.
The Rocky Mountains extend from Alaska through Canada and the USA to Mexico. Together with the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California they have snow-capped peaks and clear mountain lakes.
The Great Lakes are situated in the north-east of the country. They are Lake Ontario, Lake Huron, Lake Erie, Lake Superior, Lake Michigan. The largest rivers of the USA are the Mississippi, the Missouri, the Columbia, the Colorado, and the Yukon. American rivers have very expressive names: the Snake River, the Milk River, the Green River, the Sweetwater River, the White River. The USA has rich deposits of coal, oil, iron, zinc, copper, silver, phosphate rock, natural gas, uranium and non-ferrous metals. The country has one fourth of the world’s coal deposits.
The main mountains
The largest rivers
The main lakes
Task 4. Read the text and put the verbs into the right form.
CLIMATE OF THE USA
The USA is the fourth largest country in the world, after Russia, Canada and China. Including the states of Alaska and Hawaii, the US ... (to cover) an area of 9 millions square km.
The United States ... (to have) many kinds of climate. The weather ... (to range) from the warm, wet conditions of the Appalachians to the semi-desert or desert conditions in some of the western states.
It ... (to vary) from southern Arizona and southern Florida, where almost there is no winter at all, to the territory of Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota, where there are long, very cold and severe winters. In other words, the US has practically all the climatic zones.
West of the Rocky Mountains, running all the way from the Canadian border to Mexico, there are vast areas where almost no trees grow. In this section of the country there ... (to be) deserts, which ... (to receive) as little as 12-13 centimeters of rainfall a year. Yet, west of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, there are places in which 250 centimeters of rain fall annually. It is one of the wettest places in the USA.
There are all kinds of differences in the climate of the US. For instance, all along the western coast, the temperature ... (to change) little between winter and summer. In some places, the average difference between July and January is as little as 10 degrees Centigrade. The climate along the northern part of this coast is similar to that of England.
But in the north of the central part of the country the temperature has difference between winter and summer is very great — 36 degrees Centigrade and even more. The coldest days of January may be — 40 degrees Centigrade, and the hottest July days may be 45 degrees. In the eastern part of the US, the difference between summer and winter ... (to be) also very distinct, but not so extreme.
In the south-eastern corner of the country the climate is mild and spring is like winter, but in summer the temperature may be very high.
Hawaii, the 50th state, is a chain of over 100 islands, lying in the Pacific and stretching from southeast to northwest for 2,575 kilometres. Although this state ... (to locate) in tropical zone, its climate is favourable, because of the ocean currents that … (to pass) its shores and the winds that … (to blow) across the land from the northeast. The temperature usually … (to remain) close to the annual average of 24 degrees Centigrade.
Task 5. Complete the sentences.
1. The USA is ... largest country in the world, after ... , ... and ... .
2. The coldest days of January may be — ... , and the hottest July days may be ... .
3. Hawaii, the ... state, is a chain of over ... islands, lying in the ... and stretching from southeast to northwest for ... kilometers.
4. Including the states of ... and ... , the US covers an area of 9 millions square km.
5. ... , running all the way from the Canadian border to Mexico, there are vast areas where almost no trees grow.
Task 6. Read and complete the text with the missing words.
The Great Lakes — Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario — and ... connecting channels form the largest fresh surface water system on earth. If you stood ... the moon, you could see the lakes and recognize the familiar wolf head shape of Lake Superior, or the mitten bounded ... lakes Michigan, Huron and Erie. Covering more than 94,000 square miles and draining more ... twice as much land, these Freshwater Seas hold an estimated 6 quadrillion gallons of water, about one-fifth of the world’s fresh surface water supply and nine-tenths of the US supply. Spread evenly ... the contiguous 48 states, the lakes’ water would be about 9.5 feet deep.
The channels that connect the Great Lakes are an important part of the system. The St. Mary’s River is the northernmost of these, a 60-mile waterway flowing ... Lake Superior down ... Lake Huron. At the St. Mary’s rapids, the Soo Locks bypass the rough waters, providing safe transport for ships. The St. Clair and Detroit rivers, and Lake St. Clair ... them, form an 89-mile long channel connecting Lake Huron with Lake Erie. The 35-mile Niagara River links lakes Erie and Ontario, and sends ... 50,000 to 100,000 cubic feet of water per second over Niagara Falls; the manmade Welland Canal also links the two lakes, providing a detour around the falls. From Lake Ontario, the water from the Great Lakes flows through the St. Lawrence River all the way to the Atlantic Ocean, ... 1,000 miles away.
This system greatly affects ... way ... of life, as well as all aspects of the natural environment, from weather and climate, to wildlife and habitat. Yet for all their size and power, the Great Lakes are fragile. In the past, this fragile nature ... recognized, and the lakes were mistreated for economic gain, placing the ecosystem under tremendous stress from our activities. Today, we understand that our health and our children’s inheritance depend ... our collective efforts ... wisely manage our complex ecosystem.
Task 7. Say whether these statements are True or False.
1. If you stood on the moon, you could see the lakes and recognize the familiar wolf head shape of Lake Superior, or the mitten bounded by the lakes Michigan, Huron and Erie.
2. Spread evenly across the contiguous 25 states, the lakes’ water would be about 7.5 feet deep.
3. The 35-mile St. Mary’s River links lakes Erie and Ontario
4. Yet for all their size and power, the Great Lakes are fragile.
5. The channels that connect the Great Lakes are an important part of the system.
Task 8. Translate the following word combinations from English into Ukrainian. Use these word combinations to make up your sentences.
✵ an unenviable environmental record
✵ oil spill
✵ off-shore oil drilling
✵ chemical waste dump
✵ to cause birth defects
✵ to dump into open disposal pits
✵ high concentrations of lead in the ground
✵ the ash to contend with
✵ long-term environmental damage
✵ habitat loss
✵ to overshadow the beauty
✵ to take up the mantle of environmental leadership
Task 9. Read the text, divide it into logical parts. Suggest appropriate title for each part.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS IN THE USA
The United States of America is the wealthiest nation in the world, with the largest economy and biggest research and development establishments. It put men on the moon and sent space probes beyond the bounds of our solar system. Despite this, it has an unenviable environmental record.
Beyond the current American record holder of the British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the United States can boast of a number of environmental disasters, almost all of which are related to either the energy industry or the chemical industry.
Off-shore oil drilling and transportation are responsible for some of the biggest environmental problems in the United States, or even the world. While events like the Exxon Valdez spill, or the Gulf Coast spill are thankfully rare, the amount of damage they cause can be monumental. However, there are many smaller accidents and leaks that occur every day that are rarely reported.
The chemical industry is also responsible for some serious environmental problems. Of course, the Love Canal debacle, which became the site of the first Superfund cleanup, is notable here. Love Canal was a neighbourhood in Niagara Falls, New York that was used as a chemical waste dump by Hooker chemical in the 1950s. 21,000 tons of waste were disposed of in drums on the site, including benzene and dioxins. By the 1970s, the leaking toxic waste was causing birth defects in local neighbourhoods, the residents of which had to eventually be relocated by the federal government. Hooker Chemical, now owned by Occidental Petroleum, eventually had to pay $129 million in restitution.
Other notable toxic sites include Anniston, Alabama, where chemical giant Monsanto dumped millions of kilograms of toxic materials, which were a by-product of the production of PCBs, into Anniston Creek. They also disposed of millions of kilograms of PCBs by dumping them into open disposal pits. Despite being fined nearly $700 million, Monsanto never issued an apology nor admitted responsibility.
Libby, Montana and Picher, Oklahoma are towns that have been devastated or destroyed by the mining of lead and asbestos, which are both incredibly toxic. Libby was cleaned of its asbestos contamination, though the corporation involved, W. R. Grace, was driven into bankruptcy by the over 120,000 asbestos-related lawsuits against it. Picher was eventually abandoned due to the extremely high concentrations of lead in the ground.
Of course, the king of pollution in the United States is coal. In addition to the tons of aerosols, particulates, and acid rain each power plant produces, there is also the ash to contend with. This ash is extremely toxic, with each power plant producing several tons of arsenic, lead, barium, and other heavy metals each year. This ash is usually stored on site in sludge ponds at the power plant, each of which can hold millions of gallons of water mixed with the toxic ash. On some occasions, these ponds have overflowed, often due to dam failure, and inundated the surrounding countryside with hazardous material. In 2000, this happened in West Virginia, and in 2008 at the Tennessee Valley Authority Fossil Fuel plant in Kingston, Tennessee.
These are just the disasters. Everyday decisions, like building cities in the desert, or building new suburbs, lead to long-term environmental damage, sucking all the water out of entire watersheds, massive deforestation and habitat loss, mountains of garbage swallowing the waste of millions of people, and countless tons of herbicides and pesticides employed to over-feed a nation.
The United States has its share of breathtakingly beautiful areas as well, of that there can be no doubt. The Florida Everglades, Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Canyon, and California’s redwood forests are just some of the wonderful national areas in the country. The stain of the toxic waste dumps can overshadow the beauty, though.
America has the potential to be a shining example of environmental responsibility, and has the resources to lead the way towards a renewable, and sustainable, future. Unfortunately, based on its past record, it seems to be unwilling to take up the mantle of environmental leadership.
Task 10. Find the correspondences between the adjectives and nouns and make up sentences using them.
Task 11. Answer the questions.
1. What can be a possible result of off-shore oil drilling and transportation?
2. What are environmental problems related to the chemical industry?
3. Why have Libby, Montana and Picher, Oklahoma been devastated?
4. What is the king of pollution in the United States? Why?
5. What can you say about long-term environmental damage?
6. Why American beauty is in danger?
Task 12. Listen to the text.
THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION IN THE USA
The conservation movement — the protection of natural resources and wildlife — was first formulated and implemented as a political program in the United States. That this happened relatively early, during Theodore Roosevelt’s administration (1901-1909), meant that later generations of Americans could still enjoy their country’s natural wonders.
It was very difficult for many Americans to believe that their nation with its enormous forests, thousands of lakes, rivers and vast wilderness areas could have the problems which many smaller and more crowded nations faced.
Starting in the early 1960s, however, Americans finally realized that this was not true, that the United States were in danger of destroying many of national treasures. What was happening to Lake Erie is a good example. City and industrial wastes, chemicals, and fertilizers were endangering the once enormous stocks of fish. Suddenly, it seemed, the lake was almost «dead», and the millions who used its sandy beaches and fished its waters were shocked that this could have happened. At the same time, other problems began to receive great publicity. Environmental activists stressed the problems caused by industrial pollution and the automobiles. Long-established environmental groups such as the Sierra Club warned that acid rain threatened many American forests. The media started to campaign against the ugliness of billboards, tin cans and trash in «America the Beautiful».
This surge of attention led to a substantial number of laws in the 1960s and 70s, and to the establishment of several federal agencies. Because the environmental movement in the United States has never been associated with one political party or group, it has been able to gain widespread trust and support.
Some federal laws led to many specific improvements in the environment. For example, DDT was banned in 1972, catalytic converters and unleaded gas were introduced nation-wide in 1975, and chlorofluorocarbon, the gas used in many spray cans, was forbidden in 1978. The Federal Drug and Food Administration’s standards for food and medicines are among the strictest in the world.
All of the states, of course, have implemented their own laws, some, for instance, having banned throw-away bottles and cans, forbidden the use of phosphates in soaps, and passed strong laws against the industrial dumping of wastes. By 1986, forty states and many cities and communities had passed some type of law to restrict smoking in public or at work. Likewise, all federal government departments and agencies must restrict smoking in most office areas. In 1965 the law passed by Congress required warnings on cigarette packages, a measure that was adopted in other countries only years later.
Public attention to the problems of pollution has now become part of American life. Even the familiar Coca Cola can have been affected. Today, by law, these cans must be made so that the rings on top can’t be thrown away.
Task 13. Complete the sentences.
1. The conservation movement is ... .
2. It was very difficult for many Americans to believe that ... .
3. The United States were in danger of ... .
4. Environmental activists stressed the problems caused by ... .
5. The media started to campaign against ... .
6. The environmental movement in the United States has been able to gain widespread trust and support because ... .
7. The Federal Drug and Food Administration’s standards for food and medicines are ... .
8. All of the states have implemented ... .
9. By 1986, forty states and many cities and communities had passed ... .
10. Public attention to the problems of pollution ... .
Task 14. Agree or disagree. Expound the point of view given in the statement or prove that it is false.
1. The conservation movement was first formulated and implemented as a political program in the United States during Theodore Roosevelt’s administration.
2. Lake Erie is a good example of destroying the nature.
3. Environmental problems have never received great publicity.
4. The media started to campaign against acid rain.
5. The environmental movement in the United States has always been associated with different political parties and groups.
6. Chlorofluorocarbon is unleaded gas.
7. Some of the states have implemented their own laws, for instance, having banned the use of automobiles.
8. In 1965 the law passed by Congress required warnings on cigarette packages.
9. Public attention to the problems of pollution has now become part of American life.
10. Today, by law, Coca Cola cans must be banned.
III. SUMMING UP
Task 15. Find these numbers in the texts. Say what they are about.
✵ 9,400,000 km2 • 2,575 km
✵ 256 million • 100 islands
✵ 9 million km2
Make a map of the USA and write your commentary. (Use Internet’s sites: en. wikipedia.org./wiki/Wiki;www.wiki.com)
Additional material to the topic «Geographical position of the USA»
Task 16. Read the text below and decide if the statements (1-8) are True or False, then answer the questions.
The United States of America is the fourth largest country in the world after Russia, China and Canada. It occupies the southern part of North America and stretches from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean. It also includes Alaska in the north and Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean. The total area of the country is about, nine and a half million square kilometres. Alaska is the largest of America’s 50 states and it is 400 times the size of Rhode Island which is the smallest. The country is so large that a coast-to-coast trip by plane will take five and a half hours, by train three days and by car from five to six days. The USA borders on Canada in the north and on Mexico in the south. The south-eastern coast of the country is washed by the Gulf of Mexico and the US also has coasts on the Arctic, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. The USA has a sea border with Russia.
The USA is made up of 50 states and the District of Columbia where the capital of the country, Washington, is situated. The population of the country is about 250 million people. Some states are more densely populated than the others, for example, Alaska has half of the Rhode Island’s population. More citizens of the USA live in rural areas. It is not surprising that most of the people of the United States live in the eastern half of the country although California on the West Coast is the most populous state. It is to the East Coast the first settlers from Europe came when they crossed the Atlantic. They were attracted by the fertile lands of the Atlantic coast in the southeast and inland beyond the eastern Appalachian mountains. This part of the country gets enough rainfall for crops, has valuable forests and most of the country’s rich in iron and coal deposits. As America expanded westward, so did its farmers and ranchers, cultivating the grasslands of the Great Plains and finally the fertile valleys of the Pacific Coast. Today American farmers plant spring wheat on the cold western plains, raise corn, wheat and fine beef cattle in the Midwest, and rice in the damp heat of Louisiana. Florida and California are famous for their vegetable and fruit production, and the cool, rainy northwest states are known for apples, berries and vegetables.
The land varies from heavy forests covering 2,104 mln hectares, to barren deserts, from high-peaked mountains (the highest peak is Mount McKinley in Alaska) to deep canyons (Death Valley in California is 1,064 meters below sea level). The highest mountains in the USA are the Cordilleras that run the length of the west coast and include the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada.
America’s largest rivers are the Mississippi with its tributary Missouri, the Rio Grande, the Ohio and the Columbia. The broad Mississippi River system runs 5,969 kilometres from Canada into the Gulf of Mexico and is the world’s third longest river after the Nile and the Amazon. The USA is famous for its five Great Lakes: Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, Lake Huron, Lake Superior and the Michigan. The first four lakes are on the border with Canada and are the largest and deepest in the USA. There are also a lot of small lakes and the northern state of Minnesota, for example, is known as the land of 10,000 lakes.
The USA is rich in mineral resources; their wealth provides a solid base for American industry. It has major deposits of oil and gas in Texas and Alaska, coal in Virginia and Ohio, gold in Alaska and California, silver in Nevada, non-ferrous metals in Arkansas and Colorado.
The largest cities of the USA are New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit and some others.
1. The territory of the USA is larger than those of Ukraine and Great Britain taken together.
2. The whole country is situated on the continent of North America.
3. The USA borders on three countries.
4. More people in the USA live in the country than in the city.
5. The western part of the country is more populated that the eastern.
6. The highest mountains in the country are in the south.
7. The Great Lakes are in the north of the country.
8. The natural resources of the country enrich the economy of the USA.
Task 17. Answer the questions
1. Where is the USA situated?
2. How many states does the USA include?
3. What is the largest state of the USA?
4. What countries does the USA border on?
6. What states are famous for their farming?
7. What are the highest mountains in the USA?
8. Where are the four of Great Lakes situated?
Task 18. Read the text below. Choose from (A-H) the one which best fits each space (1-6). There are two choices you do not need to use.
THE GREAT LAKES
The Great Lakes (also called the Laurentian Great Lakes, or the Great Lakes of North America) (1) ... in northeastern North America, on the Canada — United States border, which connect to the Atlantic Ocean through the Saint Lawrence River. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron (or Michigan — Huron), Erie, and Ontario, they (2) ... , containing 21 % of the world’s surface fresh water by volume. The total surface is 94,250 square miles (244,106 km2), and the total volume (measured at the low water datum) is 5,439 cubic miles (22,671 km3). Due to their sea-like characteristics (rolling waves, sustained winds, strong currents, great depths, and distant horizons) the five Great Lakes (3) ... . Lake Superior is the second largest lake in the world by area, and Lake Michigan is the largest lake that is entirely within one country. The southern half of the Great Lakes is surrounded by the Great Lakes Megalopolis.
The Great Lakes began to form at the end of the last glacial period around 14,000 years ago, as retreating ice sheets carved basins into the land and they became filled with melt water. The lakes (4) ... , migration and trade, and they are home to a large number of aquatic species. Many invasive species (5) ... , and some threaten the region’s biodiversity.
Though the five lakes reside in separate basins, they form a single, naturally interconnected body of fresh water, within the Great Lakes Basin. The lakes (6) ... of North America to the Atlantic Ocean. The surface area of the five primary lakes combined is roughly equal to the size of the United Kingdom, while the surface area of the entire basin (the lakes and the land they drain) is about the size of the UK and France combined.
A have also long been referred to as inland seas.
B occupies the southern part of North America.
C form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth.
D are a series of interconnected freshwater lakes located.
E are more densely populated than the others.
F have been a major highway for transportation.
G have been introduced due to trade.
H form a chain connecting the east-central interior.