Lesson: CITY LIFE IN WHITTIER (B2 level)

Listening to someone talking about her city.
Discussing city life and presenting your ideas.

Start the lesson here, and click on the links if you want to look at anything in more detail.

Talk with your teacher or with a partner about your answers. This is really important if you are going to practise your speaking.

You can also write your answers down as a comment on this page. Talk with your teacher or with a partner about your answers. This is really important if you are to practise your speaking.

1. Have you lived mostly in the city, in the country, in a town or perhaps a mixture? Which do you think would suit you best, and why?
2. Here’s a photo of a city called Whittier. It’s in Alaska, USA. What do you think of it?
3. About 200 people live in Whittier, and almost all of them live in just one building, called Begich Towers. The shops and the school are also part of this building. You can see Begich Towers in the photo.
  • Imagine living your whole life in one building.
  • What would you like and dislike about this way of life?
  • How do you think it would affect daily life?
4. Write down a sentence about how these things would change, for someone moving to Whittier:
  • the journeys you make every day (to school or college or work)
  • kids growing up and going to school there
  • social life
  • people’s health
5. Can you think of any other situations where people spend all their time inside one building?
6. We’re going to listen to a teacher called Erika who works in Whittier. She’s talking about her experiences living there.
  • Before we listen, let’s just check a few words:
    • condo a condominium – a US American word for a comfortable apartment. Are there anything like condos in your area?
    • mayor the head of a town. Some mayors have a lot of power; some mayors’ job is just to go to important events and make a speech. Who is your local mayor?
  • Listen to the video and check your answers in Part 4. Does Erika agree or disagree with you?
7. What positive things does Erika say about life in Whittier?
8. Think of the town you live in, or the big city nearest you.









Kapow!   Photo by Karli Watson: https://www.flickr.com/photos/karlequin/457858386
  • Oh crikey! A disaster has happened and the city has been destroyed.
  • The good news is that all the people have survived!
  • The bad news is that the only safe way to rebuild the city is as one very big building.
Big boys play with big legos
Maybe it will look like this?    Picture by Rodrigo Filgueira: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rfilgue/36900190936
  • Take ten minutes to think about what things the city will need, so that the people who live there will be safe, healthy and happy. Think of the important details which will need to be different in this new city. Make some notes.

I’ll start you off:

  • There will need to be a hospital, for anyone who gets sick. It will also need a very secure area for anyone suffering from an infectious disease (like Ebola or bird ‘flu) because living in one building makes these diseases even more dangerous!

– Your turn to think of some more!

– Now share these with your speaking partner. See if you can agree on a list of the 5 most important things to include.

– When you’re finished, don’t forget to write your answers in the comments below!

A transcript of part of the video is available here. My answers to some of the questions are here.

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