About This Lesson
Your task this week is to read a story about the zoo. After you have read the lesson you must answer all of the quiz questions to earn the To The Zoo Badge!
Hi there, I’m Ella the Elephant! It’s my job to let you know what’s coming up in this week’s English lesson.
Welcome to English Level 2 - Lesson 03 This lesson contains a story and a quiz.
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The quiz is down at the bottom of the next page so when the lesson begins read it fully then try to answer all of the questions that follow.
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“Hi there, I’m Hugo the helpful monster! I’m here to tell you what’s coming up in this weeks English Lesson.”
English Lesson 03 - Story
The big day finally arrived. There was an air of excitement in the school all day, as the winners of the U12 Rugby final would get to play at half time in Thomond Park on the day of the European Club Final. As soon as they had eaten their lunch the whole school boarded the buses carrying our banners supporting St Paul’s. When we arrived at the match venue, Hogan Park. We saw that Clashmore were there ahead of us. Parents, teachers, friends and pupils all took their seats ready to cheer on the two teams. We were fairly confident as we had beaten them easily last year. St Paul's had trained really hard during the year, but we knew Clashmore had done the same. There was a lot riding on this match so both teams were there to win! Our hearts were thumping with excitement as the band led the teams out onto the field and played our National Anthem: Amhrán na bhFiann. At long last the match was under way. St Paul’s took the lead almost immediately as Dean Murphy scored the first try of the game. It wasn’t long before Mike Lukas evened the score with a lucky try for Clashmore. Both teams were fit and playing brilliant rugby and the score remained level for ages. Our hearts sank as a fantastic try from their captain, Timmy White saw Clashmore take the lead.
Last week, my sister Máire and I went to stay with our aunt Breda and uncle Jack in Dublin. On Friday they took us to Dublin Zoo for the entire day with our cousin Mark. It was fascinating to actually see all the animals - live and close up, to watch them breathe and move and play and to actually look into their eyes. Seeing them on television or in a book is not nearly as remarkable. You do not get a sense of the personality of the real animal. The biggest treat of the day was being allowed inside the elephant enclosure. I had been wondering why uncle Jack kept checking his watch. At 12.30 he announced, "O.k. everyone, it's time to go!". My heart sank with disappointment as I thought our visit to the zoo had come to an abrupt end. Imagine my surprise, when we were introduced to Brendan, one of the elephant keepers, and he invited us to come in and meet "Upali and the ladies!" Uncle Jack sometimes goes surfing or hiking with Brendan, and they had arranged this wonderful surprise for us. Poor Brendan - little did he know how many questions we would have for him!He told us that his favourite animals are the gorillas and elephants and that from the age of ten, he always wanted to work in the zoo. He informed us that he had to work hard in school and "not take no for an answer" to make his dream come true. He applied five times for a job at the zoo before he finally succeeded. He said you should never give up on your dream - keep working hard, keep learning about your subject and above all, keep believing and keep trying. Like the old saying: "If at first you don't succeed, try and try again!". I was astonished at how much I learned about elephants during my visit. We met some Asian elephants - Upali, the bull elephant, the matriarch Bernhardine and her sister Yasmin. Their daughters Asha and Annak were also there keeping a close eye on the antics of their calves Kavi, Ashoka and Samiya. We were all amazed to find that they laughed, cried and played just like ourselves. I was astonished at how miniature I felt, surrounded by these magnificent, truly gigantic animals - the largest land animals in the world. What a relief it was to discover that elephants are herbivores, meaning they only eat plants rather than meat! I could not believe the size of their giant ears, long tusks, and huge trunks. It was no surprise to discover they have excellent hearing and sense of smell! It was fun watching them flapping their huge ears to cool off. Brendan informed us that their tusks are actually an elephant’s incisor teeth. They also have four molars, one on the top and one on the bottom on both sides of their mouth. One molar can weigh more than two kilos and is the size of a brick! These tusks can be up to three metres long and they use them to dig or scrape the bark off of trees. Sometimes they even use them to fight. 
Ben O Kelly scored 3 points for St Paul's from a penalty and almost immediately TJ, their captain came back with another 3 points from a penalty kick. As the referee blew the half time whistle, there was only 5 points in it. Two minutes into the second half Steve Byrne made an interception and scored a try for St Paul’s. The crowd went wild, Thomond Park - here we come! Clashmore tried every trick in the book and played their hearts out, but they just couldn’t get past us. It looked like St Paul’s would definitely win. Tom Browne from Clashmore had a nose bleed and had to go off. It was our worst nightmare as we watched his cousin Jacko race on to the field as his substitute. In no time at all he had scored a try. With only minutes left and one try separating the teams, St Paul’s fought hard but it wasn’t to be. The referee blew the final whistle and the Clashmore supporters were ecstatic. Timmy White raised the cup to a mighty cheer and congratulated St Paul’s on a great season and a very close match. I have to admit it was a very skilful game. Both teams were magnificent and Clashmore deserved to win on the day. We were disappointed but proud of our lads. Ah well, maybe next year!
Elephants prefer using one tusk over the other, just as people are either left or right-handed. The elephant's trunk was perhaps their most fascinating feature. It contains more than forty thousand muscles! They wave their trunks up in the air and from side to side to smell better. While swimming, they use their trunk to breathe like a snorkel - clever animals! It was very impressive to see how delicately they could use their long trunks to pick up tiny morsels of food as small as a blade of grass and yet they can also use them to pull down tree branches, to drink, to smell, and to suck up water to spray themselves for a bath. We were warned to stand well back for this last demonstration! What fun they had spraying themselves and each other with water. What surprised me was that they were actually playing and having fun, just like ourselves. Kavi, the little calf did not join in at first as she was quite timid and nervous and perhaps the cutest thing we saw all day was Bernhardine and Kavi wrapping their trunks together. Pamela had come in to help Brendan with feeding and bath times and she told us that this is their way of hugging each other to display affection or to greet each other. According to Brendan and Pamela, elephants are extremely intelligent. They have a highly developed brain which is three or four times larger than that of humans (although smaller in proportion to body weight). They are also very skilled with tools, have great memories and can be trained to do all sorts of tasks and tricks, which makes them very good performers in the Circus. Maybe that explains the saying “An elephant never forgets”. I must admit, I have always enjoyed watching elephants perform in circuses, but I am now beginning to wonder if it is fair to use them in this way. Having seen them running and playing freely with their families and the keepers I am saddened to think about them being locked up in small cages for weeks at a time - travelling and performing. I never even considered the possibility that elephants actually have real feelings and have a lot in common with us humans. Now I wonder how they feel being asked to prance around the circus ring and perform their tricks with hundreds of eyes staring at them! Do they miss their families and their freedom, alone at night in their cages? We asked Pamela and Brendan what they thought about all of this and they said everyone just has to make up their own minds about these things. They told us that some people believe that zoos should also be closed and all animals should be running wild and free in their own habitats. Perhaps our teacher will let us do some research and have a debate about it!
English Lesson 03 - Quiz
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After you have read the lesson, answer all of the quiz questions to earn the To The Zoo Badge!
About This Quiz
 “Remember, I’m Hugo the helpful monster but I like to sleep alot, so if you need help tap me to wake me up! Lets get started press the start lesson button to read the poem.” EndFragment
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