Listening task 1: Fact or fiction?

A Listen. Friends are playing a science game. What scientific beliefs are they talking about? Complete the sentences.

1   Bats __are really blind_____.

2   No two snowflakes ____________.

3   Bee stings are used ____________.

4   Boiled water _____________.

5   Full moons _____________.

6   You can catch a cold by being _____________.

Answer & Audioscripts

1 are really blind

2 are exactly alike

3 to relieve pain

4 freezes faster than cold water

5 cause strange behavior

6 outside in cold weather

Audioscripts in B below

B Listen again. Are the beliefs true, false, or unknown? Check (✓) the correct answers. Then write the reasons.







aren’t blind, have the ability to see











Answer & Audioscripts

1 false; aren’t blind, have the ability to see

2 unknown; so many different shapes

3 true; contain chemicals that relieve swelling and joint pain

4 true; air disappears

5 false; idea comes from movies and books

6 false; caused by a virus



Man:   OK, Ian and Ally, are you guys ready to play this new game? It’s called Science: Fact or Fiction?

Ian:   Sure. OK.

Ally:   Yeah, how do you play?

Man:   To play the game, I’ll make a statement about a common scientific belief, and you have to answer whether you think the belief is true, false, or – if you think nobody knows for sure – you can say, “unknown.” Are you ready for the first scientific belief?

Ian / Ally:   Ready.

Man:   Bats are really blind: True, false, or unknown?

Ally:   Bats? You mean those scary, little flying things that live in caves? Hmm. People do say “as blind as a bat” when someone can’t see very well, but I’m not sure. I guess I’ll say it’s false.

Man:   Right. The answer is false. Bats aren’t blind. All bat species have the ability to see, just some see better than others. Good job, Ally.


Man:   OK. Here’s belief number two: No two snowflakes are exactly alike. Is it true, false, or unknown?

Ally:   Oh, that’s a tough one. I’ve always wondered about that. I’ll say it’s true. I always heard that growing up.

Man:   Well, good guess, Ally. This is a tough question. Snowflakes come in lots of different shapes. In fact, with all the possible combinations, no one has ever found two snowflakes with exactly the same shape. But the real answer to this question is “unknown.” Nobody really knows for sure. Because there are so many different shapes, it would be impossible for researchers to really find out whether two snowflakes are exactly alike.


Man:   Here’s the third one: Bee stings are used to relieve pain. True, false, or unknown?

Ian:   Hmm. I’ll say false. Bee stings hurt! I’ve never heard of such a thing.

Man:   Well, Ian, believe it or not, the answer is true. Bee stings are used to relieve pain. Bee stings contain natural chemicals that help relieve swelling and joint pain.


Man:   All right. How about this one? Boiled water freezes faster than cold water. True, false, or unknown?

Ally:   Oh, I actually know the answer to this. We did an experiment with this in my chemistry class. We boiled water and then cooled it down to the same temperature as another pot of water. When we put it in the freezer, the boiled water froze faster. It’s true – definitely true.

Man:   Great! Yes. The correct answer is “true.” Boiled water does freeze faster. When water boils, the air disappears, and that makes it freeze faster.


Man:   OK. Here comes belief number five: Full moons cause strange behavior. A lot of people think strange things happen during a full moon. Is it true, false, or unknown?

Ian:   Well, there sure are a lot of movies that have that theme. Hmm. But I doubt anyone has ever done a serious study on it. I think the answer is “unknown.”

Man:   Well, actually, researchers have studied this, and they have proven that it’s not true. The answer is “false.” The idea that strange things happen when the moon is full comes from movies and books. I guess nobody notices when nothing happens on a full moon. You only notice when something strange does happen.


Man:   And here’s our last scientific belief: You can catch a cold by being outside in cold weather. True, false, or unknown?

Ian:   Oh, I think that’s true. I’ve always heard you should wear warm clothes so you don’t catch a cold.

Man:   Ooh, sorry, Ian. I’m afraid you’re incorrect. The answer is “false.” The common cold is actually caused by a virus. The virus is passed from person to person, which is why people get more colds in winter. They are more likely to be with other people inside, in enclosed spaces. You can’t catch a cold just by being cold.

Ally:   So, who won?

Ian:   Yeah, who did win?

Man:   Gee, I don’t know. I was having so much fun, I forgot to keep score!

Listening task 2: The northern lights

A Listen. A woman is talking about the northern lights. What is she talking about? Number the topics below from 1 to 5. (There is one extra topic.)


__ places to see the lights

best place

● ___________



● ___________

● ___________

● ___________

__ the discovery of the lights


● ___________


● ___________

__ a description of the lights


green, red, ______


● ___________

● ___________

● ___________

__ beliefs about the lights


● ___________



● ___________


__ the meaning of aurora borealis


● ___________

aurora means

● ___________

borealis means

● ___________

__ the scientific explanation for the lights

similar to

● ___________



● _______ particles (electrons) collide with _______ atoms.

Answer & Audioscripts

1 a description of the lights

2 the meaning of aurora borealis

3 places to see the lights

4 beliefs about the lights

5 the scientific explanation for the lights

Audioscripts in B below

B Listen again. Complete the missing information in the chart.

Answer & Audioscripts

best place   near the North Pole

areas   Greenland, Scandinavia, Alaska

name   not mentioned

country   not mentioned

colors   green, red, blue, purple

shapes   straight lines, curved like the letter “S,” round like a wheel

Finnish   Foxes made fires to keep warm.

Inuit   dance of animal spirits



Woman:   If you have ever seen the northern lights, you know that they are one of nature’s most beautiful sights. People often describe seeing a faint glow appear on the horizon in the night sky. Then they may see wonderful colors such as green, red, blue, or purple stretch across the sky. The shape of the northern lights can be straight lines, or it may be curved like the letter S, or round, just like a wheel. The colored lights and shapes move across the night sky, like ocean waves. No matter what the color or shape is, the northern lights are truly an amazing sight.


Woman:   Many people know them by their common name “the northern lights.” But do you know the meaning of the real name? The scientific name for the northern lights comes from Latin. It is aurora borealis. In English, the Latin word aurora translates to “dawn,” which means “early morning.” The Latin word borealis means “northern.” So aurora borealis can be translated as “northern dawn,” which describes the look of the northern sky in the very early morning.


Woman:   If you have never seen aurora borealis, you are not alone. This natural phenomenon is not common in most parts of the world. In fact, many people travel or go on tours to places where they can see the northern lights. Where are these places? The best place to see aurora borealis is near the North Pole – the northernmost point of Earth – especially in areas such as northern Greenland, Scandinavia, and Alaska.


Woman:   Many years ago, before modern science, people developed stories, myths, and legends to explain natural phenomena such as aurora borealis. Finnish people called them “fox fires,” and believed the lights were caused when foxes made fires to keep warm. The Inuit people of northern Canada and Greenland believed that the aurora was the dance of animal spirits such as deer, seals, and whales.


Woman:   The way the northern lights work is similar to a neon sign. Gas travels along magnetic lines. The lights occur when electric particles – electrons – collide with gas atoms, causing the atoms to give off light. The result is the amazing sweeps and waves of color that you can see. It’s a wonderful sight if you happen to be in the right place at the right time.

Listening task 3

A Listen. Circle the correct answers.

1  The woman has a bat in her

    a. yard.

    b. house.

    c. garage.

2  In one night, a bat can eat

    a. 120 insects.

    b. 1,200 insects.

    c. 12,000 insects.

3  Some bats have

    a. colorful wings.

    b. short wings.

    c. wide wings.

4  The woman thought bats could

    a. not see at all.

    b. grow very big.

    c. see well.

5  The woman plans to

    a. call a bat expert.

    b. move out of her house.

    c. ask the man to help her.

Answer & Audioscripts

Man:   You look really tired, Anna.

Anna:   Yeah, I haven’t been able to sleep all week. I’ve had a bat in my house!

Man:   A bat?

Anna:   Yes. And I can’t stand bats.

Man:   Bats are actually really useful animals. They eat a lot of insects, you know. In fact, a bat eats about one thousand two hundred insects in one night.

Anna:   That’s great, but I don’t have a problem with insects in my house. I have a problem with bats! I don’t even know how it got inside.

Man:   Oh, bats can get through very small holes under the roof – well, most bats can. Did you know that there are some bats in Asia whose wings are as wide as a surfboard? They’re called “flying foxes.”

Anna:   Whoa. I didn’t know they grew that big! Well, I’m glad the one in my house is just a small one. I just don’t know what to do. I know it can’t find its way out of my house by itself. Bats are blind, aren’t they?

Man:   Actually, they aren’t. People just say that, but it’s not really true. They may not be able to see very well, but all bats can see.

Anna:   Huh. I had no idea. Well, I just want to find a way to get it out of my house so I can get some sleep. Hey, since you’re such a bat expert, I was wondering, uh, are you free tonight?

B Listen. Are the statements true or false? Check (✓) your guesses to the science quiz. Then listen to the correct answers. Did you guess correctly?









Answer & Audioscripts


1   True or false? The Great Wall of China is the only man-made object that can be seen from the moon. If you were standing on the moon, you could see the Great Wall of China.

2   True or false? Humans use only ten percent of their brains. That means we actually don’t use ninety percent of our brains.

3   True or false? Hot air is lighter than cold air. If you could weigh the same amounts of hot and cold air, the hot air would weigh less.

4   True or false? After you eat, you should wait one hour before you go swimming. If you go swimming too soon after eating, you will get a stomachache.

5   True or false? The fastest animal on land is the cheetah, a large cat that lives in Africa.

Listen to the correct answers.

1   People have believed the Great Wall of China can be seen from the moon since it was first reported in nineteen thirty-eight. However, it is false! From the moon, you can see the circle of the earth, the blue of the water, the white of the clouds, the yellow of the deserts, and some green from the trees, but not man-made objects.

2   Do humans use only ten percent of their brains? No. This is false. We use all of our brains, even if we don’t always use them very well.

3   The answer is true. Hot air is lighter than cold air, which is why hot air always rises to the ceiling of a room, and it’s colder near the floor.

4   This is false. Eating a meal before swimming will not cause you any danger. However, if you eat so much that you feel uncomfortable, you might not want to swim.

5   The cheetah is the fastest animal on land. The answer is true. But the fastest animal on Earth is actually the peregrine falcon, a kind of large bird. It can fly over three times as fast as the cheetah can run.

Listening task 4

A Listen. Two friends are playing a science trivia game. Complete the questions.

1   What is the ___________ time of the ___________?

2   How much of ___________ life is spent ___________?

3   Who has more ___________: a baby or an ___________?

4   Who will ___________ faster in the month of May: a child in the ___________ or a child in Australia?

5   Is most of the earth’s water ___________ or ___________?

Answer & Audioscripts

1 coldest, day

2 your, sleeping

3 bones, adult

4 grow, U.S.

5 salt water, fresh water

Audioscripts in B below

B Listen again. Circle the correct information.

 The correct answer is 3:00 A.M. / 6:00 A.M.

 Maddie has already slept for seven / twenty-one years.

 Babies are born with two hundred and six / three hundred and fifty bones.

 When it’s spring in the U.S., it’s winter / fall in Australia.

 Six percent of the world’s water is fresh / salt water.

Answer & Audioscripts

1 6:00 A.M.

2 seven

3 three hundred and fifty

4 fall

5 fresh



Man:   Hey, Maddie. Do you want to take this quiz from my science magazines?

Maddie:   Sure, I’ll give it a try.

Man:   OK. Here’s question number one. What is the coldest time of the day? Is it midnight, three A.M., or six A.M.?

Maddie:   I’ll guess the coldest time is three A.M.

Man:   Sorry. The answer is six A.M. Think about it: With no sunlight, things have been cooling off all night long, so …

Maddie:   I guess that makes sense.


Man:   OK. Here’s the next one: How much of your life is spent sleeping? Is it one-fourth, one-third, or one-half of your life?

Maddie:   Hmm. I know it’s a lot. I’ll guess one-third.

Man:   You’re right! And you’re twenty-one, so that means you’ve already slept for about seven years!


Man:   All right. Question three is about the human body. Who has more bones: a baby or an adult?

Maddie:   I have no idea.

Man:   The answer is a baby. Babies are born with three hundred and fifty bones. As babies grow, some bones grow together, so adults have fewer bones – only two hundred and six.


Man:   Let’s see if you can get his one. Who will grow faster in the month of May: a child in the U.S. or a child in Australia?

Maddie:   I don’t know. I’ll guess Australia.

Man:   Nice try, but the answer is the U.S. See, children grow faster in the spring when it’s warm. And in May …

Maddie:   Ah! I get it! When it’s spring in the U.S., it’s fall in Australia.


Man:   OK, last one. Is most of the earth’s water salt water or fresh water?

Maddie:   Hmm. I think it must be salt water.

Man:   Yes! About ninety-four percent of the world’s water is salt water, and most of that is in the oceans. So let’s see, your final score is …

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