1. Ask the students to draw the scene you’re about to describe. Play this sound effect of a snow blizzard from BBC Sound Effects to help set the scene. Read the following:
I’ve been lost in the middle of this blizzard for almost half an hour. It’s difficult to see where I am, but I’ve just noticed a strange light square in the distance and I’m walking towards it. Could it be a house? Perhaps one of the houses in the town where I’m staying? I shouldn’t be too far away, after all.
As I get closer, I can see something similar to a tower made of concrete with a steel door and a tiny bridge in front of it. It seems to be carved into the side of the mountain! And then there’s the strange blueish light on a big square above the door.
I can’t help but feel a sense of mystery and intrigue. I’m now certain this is not a fancy hotel or someone’s house. I approach the door. It’s clear that it leads to something special. I take a deep breath, reach for the handle and turn it. The door creaks open, and I step inside.
2. Have the students share their pictures.
3. Display a picture of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault and discuss any similarities and differences.
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)
4. Tell the students that they are going to watch a short video about this facility. As they watch it, the students first explain why the numbers in activity 1 are mentioned in the video.
1300 – the number of kilometres from Svalbard to the North Pole
200 – the number of years the seed vault has been planned to last
3 – the number of vault rooms
120 – the number of metres from the front door to the vault room that is in use
3,000,000 – the number of seeds that will be stored in the three vault rooms
500 – the number of seeds per sample there will be in the future
1700 – the number of gene banks around the world
9,000,000 – the amount of dollars it cost to build the Svalbard Global Seed Vault
5. The students work together to complete a short gapped text about the Global Seed Vault with one suitable word for each blank.
SUGGESTED ANSWERS: 1. seeds; 2. preserve; 3. tunnel; 4. bags; 5. boxes; 6. shelves
In their own words, the students explain why the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is important, and how it can help us in the future, using the information from the video. Share and discuss the students’ answers. You may even want to explore any possible problems or disadvantages this type of facility may have.
6. Ask the students to read the beginning of a story that takes place at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. As they read, have them identify the setting, the characters and the plot of the story.
7. Finally, ask the students to finish the story! Why not invite them to visit BBC Sound Effects, look for the sound effects that best suit their story endings (you can even mix different effects by clicking “Mixer Mode”) and create the perfect atmosphere for an intriguing story sharing session?