Lesson: UNEXPLAINED PHENOMENA (C1-C2)

  • Complete lesson, C1-C2 level.
  • Using the passive voice to report theories, beliefs and myths.
  • Analysing cohesive techniques in a news report.
  • Writing and/or presenting a conspiracy theory.

1. Speak

Looking back to the year 2020, what were the top news stories of that year?
What were the strangest news stories?

2. What’s this?

Photo by Patrick A. Mackie, taken from Wikipedia

Do you know anything about the story?

If not, watch this video and answer the questions below.

  • a. How would you summarise the story?
  • b. Can you write sentences about the story using each of these words and phrases?
    • Example: monolith
      The monolith suddenly disappeared overnight“.
    • i. tyre-tracks
    • ii. flocked
    • iii. a bit let down
    • iv. mystery

You can find my answers here.

3. Discuss

  • Who do you think took the monolith, and why?

Read and check your answer

The mystery over the disappearance of the Utah monolith may have been solved. A few days after tourists arrived to find an empty plinth and tyre tracks in the sand, Andy Lewis, a Youtuber best known for his extreme sports skills, posted a video purporting to show himself and several friends dismantling the structure and wheeling it away on a trolley.

Although it was initially rumoured that the Utah Bureau of Land Management was behind the removal of the piece, they quickly issued a denial and initiated an investigation into its sudden disappearance.

Lewis later posted a short video of the monolith on Instagram as proof that he was indeed responsible for its removal. In the accompanying text, he explained that he had been concerned about environmental damage to the area, but conceded that he thought the object itself was a beautiful piece of art. Intriguingly, he also claimed to have saved the metal sculpture from complete destruction by another group of adventurers.

It is understood that Lewis and his friends have donated the remaining part of the structure to the Bureau of Land Management, in return for avoiding any further legal action.

Of course, none of this helps to address the original question of how, and why, the monolith came to be in this part of the desert.

Text by Englishin3d.net, based on information from several online sources.

Discuss:

  • Was it right for Andy Lewis and his group to remove the monolith?
  • Which is more destructive: putting a sculpture in the desert, or taking it away?
  • Do you have a theory for how and why the monolith came to be in this part of the desert?

4. Let’s look at the text in more detail

The mystery over the disappearance of the Utah monolith may have been solved. A few days after tourists arrived to find an empty plinth and tyre tracks in the sand, Andy Lewis, a Youtuber best known for his extreme sports skills, posted a video purporting to show himself and several friends dismantling the structure and wheeling it away on a trolley.

Although it was initially rumoured that the Utah Bureau of Land Management was behind the removal of the piece, they quickly issued a denial and initiated an investigation into its sudden disappearance.

Lewis later posted a short video of the monolith on Instagram as proof that he was indeed responsible for its removal. In the accompanying text, he explained that he had been concerned about environmental damage to the area, but conceded that he thought the object itself was a beautiful piece of art. Intriguingly, he also claimed to have saved the metal sculpture from complete destruction by another group of adventurers.

It is understood that Lewis and his friends have donated the remaining part of the structure to the Bureau of Land Management, in return for avoiding any further legal action.

Of course, none of this helps to address the original question of how, and why, the monolith came to be in this part of the desert.

Text by Englishin3d.net, based on information from several online sources.
  • a. Which words in the text are used as synonyms for ‘monolith’? (For example, the structure)
  • b. Apart from past simple, which other tenses are used in the story, and why?
  • c. How many verbs in the text are reporting what someone said or thought? (For example, explained).

You can find my answers here.

Acknowledgements

The text in parts 3 and 4 of this lesson was based on information from the following sources:

Insider.com

Outsideonline.com

Wikipedia.org

Sketchyandylewis on Instagram

Now go down to the bottom and click on ‘Page 2’ of this lesson.

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