Lightning Activities

Lightning Strikes

Before You Listen

You are going to some information about lightning.

Think about these questions:
1. Are many people struck by lightning?
2. Do lightning strikes produce a lot of electricity?
3. Are lightning bolts very long?


Listen to some for some fun facts about lightning.


You can hear the same recording with an accompanying slideshow


1. What are the chances of being hit by lightning in one year in the USA?

a) 1 in 700 b) 1 in 700,000 c) 1 in 70,000 d) 1 in 7,000,000

2. What are the odds of being struck in the average life-time

a) 1 in 500,000 b) 1 in 50,000 c) 1 in 5,000 d) 1 in 15,000

3. The average bolt of lightning is

a) much hotter than the surface of the sun
b) nearly as hot as the surface of the sun
c) cooler than the surface of the sun
d) much cooler than the surface of the sun

4. True or false:

The average lightning bolt hits a light bulb every three months.

5. How long is a typical lightning bolt

a) 75 miles b) 60 miles c) 7.5 miles d) 6 miles

6. True or false:

Lightning bolts are not as thick as they look.

Check your answers here:


There are two main types of lightning: fork lightning and sheet lightning. Fork lightning is more dangerous because a single bolt of lightning can kill.

Remember that 'strike' is an irregular verb (strike/struck/struck).

This crossword includes some of the words you read in the story.


Linked to this text

1. Imagine you are Roy Sullivan. Write a short newspaper article about your life.

2. Write Roy's diary entries for the days of four the lightning strikes. Include the first and the last strikes.

3. Write some guidelines on how to reduce the danger from lightning strikes.


Read the amazing story of 'lightning man' Roy C. Sullivan

Role Play

First read the amazing story of 'lightning man' Roy C. Sullivan

Now you are going to role play a scene from the text.

1. A television crew has come to the hospital to interview Roy after one of the lightning strikes. Role play the scene in groups:

Possible roles: Roy, TV interviewer, doctor, nurse, Roy's friend/work colleague

Things I didn't know about lightning

Find five new facts about lightning. At least one must not be from the Internet - try books, encyclopeadias, dictionaries etc.

Think about what causes lighting. Where is lightning is most common? Most dangerous? Most unusual?

Prepare a short presentation for the rest of the class like the one
here. You could use Powerpoint or handouts

A useful article from the Encyclopedia Britannica premium service is free to ESL Reading visitors here:

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First published in
Ming Pao Daily. Illustrations by Iris Tsoi.

Guide to IELTS & TOEFL English language levels here