This is a reading and listening lesson for B2+ students based around the topic of survival skills and myths created by Soleil García Brito. Download the student handout below:
Reading – Prediction
Look at these statements about survival. Are they factual or myths?
a) Anyone can start a fire with just two sticks
b) Boiled water is always 100% safe to drink
c) Reality shows about survival will help you prepare for a dire situation
d) You need to find food right away
e) You need to find water immediately to survive in desert heat
f) You can outrun a bear
g) The best way to stop a shark attack is by punching it in the nose
Read the texts and match the titles a-g
|“In reality, you can survive on just your body’s fat stores for weeks, as long as you have water. Conserving energy, avoiding injury, and sourcing a supply of water are key to surviving,” said Ras. “Hunting and trapping prey are hit and miss activities which often produce nothing and simply end up expending energy and risking injury or illness. It’s extremely rare for someone to die of starvation in a survival situation. Injury, illness, poisoning and exposure are much more likely to result in death. By definition, ‘surviving’ a situation is short-term, and in the short term a person can be fueled by their fat reserves.”|
|“None of us would be here today if our ancestors hadn’t mastered the fine art of friction firemaking, but this is a skill to practice on camping trips and backyard outings,” said Tony Nester of Ancient Pathways Survival School. It’s a big mistake to rely solely on friction firemaking in a survival situation, especially when you could end up in a damp environment. Modern survival is about being prepared and carrying at least three firestarters (waterproof matches, spark-rod, lighter) with you at all times,” said Nester. “I teach primitive firemaking skills to show my students how to perform the method but find that, even under the best of conditions, it is a challenge and not reliable for most people.”|
|“I’ve worked as a consultant on several reality shows and these shows are heavily-scripted,” said Nester. “On one program, there was a crew of 12 people accompanying us, including two staff whose sole job was to drag around coolers filled with double-shot espressos and sandwiches while filming scenes of the host living off the land. There’s nothing romantic or fun about real survival—it’s only adventure in retrospect.”|
|Running away from a bear is a lost cause: Usain Bolt himself couldn’t beat one in a footrace, let alone on uneven terrain. The best thing to do depends on the species. If you encounter a black bear, said Nester, “Hold your ground and make yourself look big—open your coat up, throw your arms up above your head—and shout and scream and, a lot of times, they’re as spooked as you are, and will take off.” Take the opposite approach with a grizzly: “Avoid eye contact, which a bear will perceive to be a challenge. If the bear’s not approaching, back away slowly. If it charges, simply stand your ground. If you have pepper spray, be ready to use it… and pronto. If it makes physical contact with you, cover your vitals and play dead.”|
|“Even though it’s true that sharks get stunned if they get punched in the nose, not many people the strength to do this, especially underwater,” said Manighetti. Even if you could manage the strength to hit the nose hard enough, there’s a chance your hand could end up getting injured by shark teeth. “The best way to scare a shark away is to scratch its eyes or gills, it’s impossible to overpower these fierce creatures in attack mode.”|
|“While boiling water will kill off organisms and germs, it will not clean harmful particulates from the water. For instance, no matter how long you boil chemically contaminated water it won’t be safe to drink,” said Jack. “This same principle applies to stagnant dirty water. If the water you are attempting to purify is visibly dirty or murky, you should filter the water before attempting to boil it. If you don’t have a commercial water filter available, then you can either pour the dirty water through a clean fabric (towel or shirt) or leave the water to stand until the sediments sink to the bottom. Then just pour the clean water from the top…and then boil.”|
|“You will last longer in the heat by holding up in the shade versus searching for water during the afternoon hours,” said Nester. “If you do run out of water, find a north-facing boulder and sit in the shade; keep covered to prevent evaporative sweat loss; stay off the hot ground by sitting on your pack or a pile of debris; and only move around during the cooler hours of the morning or evening.” If you didn’t tell anyone about your travel plans, though, rescue will likely take more than a few hours and you should search for water when the temperature drops.|
- Were your predictions from the first task correct?
- Look at the texts again. Why are these things all bad ideas?
- Look at the underlined phrases and the words in bold. What do you think they mean?
- Discuss with a partner and take a note of the dependent prepositions, collocations, phrasal verbs and idioms.
- Fill in the gaps with the appropriate preposition or collocation without checking in the texts:
- In reality, you can survive _______ just your body’s fat stores for weeks
- Injury, illness, poisoning and exposure are much more likely to result _______
- It’s a big mistake to rely solely _______ friction firemaking in a survival situation, especially when you could end _______ in a damp environment.
- … including two staff whose sole job was to drag around coolers filled with double-shot espressos and sandwiches while filming scenes of the host living _______ the land.
- Running away from a bear is a _______ cause
- … a lot of times, they’re as spooked as you are, and will take_______.
- While boiling water will kill _____ organisms and germs, it will not clean harmful particulates from the water.
- This same principle _______ to stagnant dirty water.
- If you do run_______of water, find a north-facing boulder and sit _______the shade.
- … you should search for water when the temperature _______.
Video – Prediction
You are going to watch a video about surviving in extreme situations. These are the topics; are they good or bad ideas?
- Eating snow for hydration
- Drinking cactus water
- Drinking urine or blood
- Using moss for direction
- Drinking alcohol to stay warm
- Rubbing frostbitten extremities
- Sucking venom from a snake bite
- Peeing on a jellyfish sting
VIDEO: Click the link – 8 Survival Tips
Why are they bad ideas?
Video – Language Focus
- Read the sentences below and try to fill the gaps
- Watch the video a second time listening for the words in the gaps and compare to your original predictions.
- Too good to be ___________
- Which will dehydrate you and make _______ worse.
- They still don’t taste good, but they’ll do in a _______.
- Going _______ vampire to survive is probably not the best idea.
- But that is the exact _______ of what you want if you need to stay warm.
- Not to _______, freeze the water those cells were using to live.
- Try to sit _______ and don’t risk doing more harm.
- In other _______, don’t do it.
- You’re best _______ leaving the treatment to professionals.
- Last but not _______.