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Miners To Be Out Tomorrow

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Chile, in South America, is where 33 miners have been trapped for two months. Image: Wikimedia

Tomorrow, 33 miners in San Jose, Chile are expected to see their families for the first time in two months.

That’s because they have been trapped, 600 metres below ground, in a mine shaft. They became stuck underground when some tunnels in the gold and copper mine they were working in collapsed.

After the accident, the Chilean government quickly drilled two small tunnels down to the miners to give them fresh air, water and food. However, they knew that it would take much longer to drill tunnels big enough to lift them out of the hard rock ground.

In the meantime, their families along with government officials and more than 1,200 reporters from around the world, built a camp aboveground to give the miners daily supplies and to communicate with them.

The miners had to co-operate to live in the small underground space. They set up daily routines for exercise, work (taking away rock debris from the tunnels) and recreation such as playing chess and cards.

It was originally thought that the miners wouldn’t be out in time for Christmas. However, the drilling has been quicker than expected. The first miners will be lifted out of the mine today.

The miners will have “new lives” when they come out. The whole world is interested in hearing the story of how they survived underground for so long. The Chilean government, and some newspapers and TV stations, will pay them a lot of money to tell their story. They will have to deal with reporters taking their pictures and asking them a lot of questions.

Their story is almost certain to be made into a movie. In fact, the miners have already started writing a book about what they have been going through. It began as a journal, in which they logged their meals and activities. It will have some interesting characters, including “the athlete,” Edison, who jogs several kms a day in the tunnels, and “the electrician,” Alex, who found a way to hook the miners’ lamps to truck batteries to keep them charged.

The miners have also been watching videos on how to deal with reporters and avoid questions they don’t want to answer. Most of the miners have already been offered plane tickets around the world to tell their story on TV shows.

The miners are expected to reach the surface around noon tomorrow.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS

Writing/Discussion Prompt
In order to survive, humans need food, water, air and shelter. But, is this enough? The miners who were trapped had all of their basic needs met, but they also required exercise, daily work, communication with the outside world and recreation in order to keep their minds and bodies healthy. What do you think you need in order to survive and to be happy in your own life?

Before the mine collapsed on the 33 men, they were ordinary people who were working hard to make a living. When they come out of the mine, they will be emerging as celebrities. If you were one of the miners who was trapped, how would you react to this drastic change in your life?

Reading Prompt
When we read, we are constantly working to understand what is written. One of the strategies that we use when we are reading is to determine what information is important. Use a highlighter or a pencil crayon to identify the most important pieces of information in the article.

How do you know that this information is the most important?

How do you think this strategy helps us as readers?

Primary
identify, initially with some support and direction, what strategies they found most helpful before, during, and after reading and how they can use these and other strategies to improve as readers (OME, Reading: 4.1)

Junior
identify the strategies they found most helpful before, during, and after reading and explain, in conversation with the teacher and/or peers, or in a reader’s notebook, how they can use these and other strategies to improve as readers (OME, Reading: 4.1).

Grammar Feature: Homophones
Homophones are words that sound the same, but are spelled differently and have different meanings. An example of a homophone is: miner and minor. A miner is a person who works in a mine. A minor is someone who is (in Canada) less than 18 or 19 years old, depending on the province.

As a class, think of some examples of homophones and discuss their different spellings and meanings.