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Elementary Instant LessonT

Stowaway Cat

Pre-Reading Activities

A: Vocabulary

Part 1: Match the words with their meanings.

quarantine,    port,    dockworker,    crew member,    risky,     stowaway, tanker,

1. A person who works on a ship.
2. A person who loads and unloads ships  at a port.
3. A place where ships and boats stop to load and unload.
4. Animals or plants are kept away from others (especially when they are being moved between different countries) to check that they haven't got any diseases.
5. A person who hides on a boat or plane and travels to a different place for free.
6. Dangerous.
7. A ship that carries liquids, especially oil.

Part 2: Work in pairs. Here are two other phrases that are used in today's article. Look at the meanings of each of the words and then answer the questions.

  - many different countries
rescue  - to help someone or something
mission - a task or a job for a group of people

What do you think international rescue mission  means?

  - a boat.
transfer - to move something from one place to another.

What do you think ship-to-ship transfer means?


B: Prediction

Look at the pictures about today's article.

Work in small groups and say what you think today's articles are about. Use the pictures and the vocabulary from Pre-Reading Activity A to help you.


Reading Activities

A: Questions

You are going to read two articles today. Read the first article and answer the questions below.

Plan to Rescue Stowaway Cat

WELLINGTON Tuesday November 27 (Reuters) - An international rescue mission has been started to rescue a New Zealand cat that stowed away on a ship to South Korea, New Zealand media reported Tuesday.

Two weeks ago a cat ``Colins,'' went onto a tanker at Port Taranaki, on the west side of New Zealand's North Island, the Taranaki Daily News reported. The cat is is now somewhere north of Papua New Guinea on its way to Korea's southern port city of Yeosu. 

A dockworker adopted the cat nine years ago. The workers at Port Taranaki said they were organizing a ship-to-ship transfer to get the animal home without a long period in quarantine in South Korea

The cat was fed by a Tomiwaka crew member and the crew hadn't realized the cat was still in the cabin until after the ship sailed on November 13.

Article 2001 Reuters Limited. Lesson 2002

1. What is being rescued?
2. Where does Colins live?
3. Where is Colins going?
4. Did the crew of the tanker know they had a cat from New Zealand on their ship when it sailed?


B: Reading in Detail

Read the sentences and choose the best answers.

1. The cat is now somewhere north of Papua New Guinea on its way to Korea's southern port city...
in this sentence means:

a. the tanker's way
b. the cat's way
c. the workers' way

2. The workers at Port Taranaki said they were organizing....
They in this sentence means:

a. the workers
b. Port Taranaki
c. the cat

3. ...a ship-to-ship transfer to get the animal home...
Animal in this sentence means:

a. the cat
b. the tanker
c. the workers

C: Questions

Now read the second article and answer the questions.

Happy Ending for Colins the Stowaway Cat

SEOUL Tuesday December 4 (Reuters) - Colins the stowaway cat was finally reunited with her New Zealand owner again this week, 18 days after she fell asleep on a tanker going to South Korea.

The story of the stowaway began on November 15, when the nine-year-old cat went on the tanker and was fed by a South Korean crew member.

It ended 9,600 km (5,965 miles) later at the South Korean port of Yeosu on Tuesday, when James Gordon MacPherson embraced the cat that he and other dockworkers had looked after at Port Taranaki since the early 1990s.

The New Zealand dockworkers had tried to arrange a ship-to-ship cat transfer but it was too risky. 

MacPherson thanked the crew of the tanker Tomikawa for their care, Whiskas pet food and Korea Airlines for airfares and quarantine officers in South Korea and New Zealand for speeding the return of their cat.

reunite -
to bring or come together again
embrace - hug
Article 2001 Reuters Limited. Lesson 2002

1. Who did Colins meet?
2. Where did they meet?
3. Did the New Zealand dockworkers do a ship-to-ship cat transfer?   Why or why not?
4. How many kilometers did Colins travel on the tanker?

D: Reading  in Detail

Read the sentences below and choose the correct statements.

1. ...met her New Zealand owner..
Owner in this sentence means:

a. Colins the cat.
b. James Gordon MacPherson.
c. The New Zealand dockworkers.

2. It ended 9,600 km (5,965 miles) later...
It in the sentence means:

a. Colins the cat.
b. The story about the cat.
c. The tanker.

E: Sequencing

Work in pairs and look at the sentences below.
What happened first? what happened next?
Put the sentences into the correct order.

a. The dockworkers looked after the cat for nine years.
b. A dock worker at Port Taranaki, New Zealand adopted a cat.
c. The crew of the tanker found Colins the cat.
d. Colins the cat went onto a tanker.
e. MacPherson met Colins at the South Korean port of Yeosu.
f. The ship left Port Taranaki for South Korea.
g. Whiskas Petfood and Korea Airlines helped MacPherson fly to Korea.
h. New Zealand dockworkers tried to arrange a ship-to-ship transfer but it was too risky.


Post-Reading Activities
You may do one or more of these.

A: Language

In today's articles there were these words:

...tried to arrange a ship-to-ship cat transfer but it was too risky

The words try to _____ mean to make an effort or an attempt to do something. When we try to do something and don't succeed,  we then use the word but.

Too + adjective, ('too risky'), then explains why we couldn't do it.
(They wanted to move the cat from one ship to another, but it was dangerous, so they couldn't arrange it.)

Example: I tried to lift the TV, but it was too heavy. ( So I couldn't lift it.)

Look at the words below and make sentences using tried to.

Example: I / read that book / too difficult
Answer: I tried to read that book, but it was too difficult.

1. I / climb the mountain / too high
2. We / go swimming / too cold
3. We / talk / at the pub / too noisy
4. Eamon and Solomon / play in the playground / too crowded
5. I / study Hindi / too difficult

Now write three more sentences using your own ideas. Be careful with your punctuation.


B: Vocabulary

Work in small groups and answer the questions below.

1. Have you ever been rescued? What happened?
    Have you ever seen a rescue? What happened?
2. Do you know of any other international rescue missions?
3. Are the animals which are coming into your country put in quarantine ?
4. Colins the cat was a stowaway. Do you know any stories about other stowaways?
5. Do you live near a port?


C: Phone Call

Here is a short, imaginary phone call that James McPherson has with one of his friends, after he returns from Korea. Read it in pairs. Student A is James McPherson, Student B is his friend.

Student B: Hello?
Student A:
Hi Paul. I'm back!

Student B: You're back! Where have you been?
Student A: In Korea! There was a photo of me in the newspaper. Did you see it?

Student B: No. We've been camping. So... why did you go to Korea?
Student A: To get Colins.

Student B: Who?
Student A: Colins, our cat. She lives at the port. We adopted her 9 years ago. The silly cat went onto a tanker. The crew only found her after the ship had left Port Taranaki.

Student B: Yes, but why did you go to Korea?
Student A: Well, we tried to transfer her to another ship, but it was too risky.

Student B: So you went to Korea to get Colins?
Student A: That's right.
I flew there.The crew of the tanker gave her back to me. Then I flew back here with her.

Student B:
Did you have to pay for all that travel?
Student A: No, no. 'Whiskas' and 'Korea Airlines' were very kind.

Student B: And how is she?
Student A: Who?

Student B: Colins, of course!
Student A: She's fine. We're all very happy that she's back home.

Student B:
I can't believe you flew to Korea to get a cat!
Student A: She's a very special cat!


Please note: This lesson has an accompanying InstantWorkbook exercise.

Pre-Reading Activities

A: Vocabulary - Answers

Part 1
1. crew member
2. dockworker
3. port
4. quarantine
5. stowaway
6. risky
7. tanker

Part 2
1. international rescue mission - A group of people from different countries have the task or job of  rescuing someone or something.
2. ship-to-ship transfer - When you move something from one ship to another ship without the object touching land.

A: Vocabulary - Notes

For Part 1 of the vocabulary activity, allow the students to use their dictionaries if necessary. For Part 2, if you have a weaker class, use this task as a class activity where you elicit ideas from the students.

B: Prediction - Notes

Go over the pictures with the class, asking the students to name the things in the pictures. Provide the word oil tanker for picture 2, as the students probably won't know this word.  Encourage the students to discuss in their groups what they think today's articles will be about. Circulate, providing help with vocabulary when necessary. Ask one or two groups to share their ideas with the rest of the class.

Reading Activities

A: Questions - Answers

1. Colins the cat.
2. At Port Taranaki, on the west side of New Zealand's North Island.
3. Korea's southern port city of Yeosu.
4. No.

B: Reading in Detail - Answers

1. b; 2. a; 3. a.

C: Questions - Answers

1. Her New Zealand owner, James MacPherson.
2.The South Korean port of Yeosu.
3. No, because it was too risky.
4. 9,600 km

D: Reading in Detail - Answers

1. b; 2. b.

E: Sequencing - Answers

1 - b; 2 - a; 3 - d; 4 - f; 5 - c; 6 - h; 7 - g; 8 - e.

Post-Reading Activities

A: Language - Notes

The difference between 'try to do something' and 'try doing something' is subtle and unnecessary for students at this level to understand.

A: Language - Answers

1. I tried to climb the mountain, but it was too high.
2. We tried to go swimming, but the water / it was too cold.
3. We tried to talk at the pub, but it was too noisy.
4. Eamon and Solomon tried to play in the playground, but it was too crowded.
5. I tried to study Hindi, but it was too difficult.
C: Phone Call - Notes

Students can do it in pairs and then swap roles. You may wish to model some of the lines, so that they can focus on intonation. In a one to one situation, you could read it with the student. (This activity could prompt further work, e.g. students could write a thank-you email from the dock workers to the crew of the tanker. Younger students may enjoy rewriting the story from the point of view of the cat.)

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