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ESL / EFL Lesson Plan on Mad Cow Disease

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Japan’s first Mad Cow Disease death



 

Saturday February 5, 2005
Intermediate

THE ARTICLE

Japan’s Ministry of Health yesterday confirmed the country’s first human case of Mad Cow Disease. The scientific name for the human form of the disease is Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease (CJD), although most people refer to it as BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy). A 51-year-old man died in December after contracting the disease during a one-month stay in England in 1989. He got CJD after eating British beef that had been infected with BSE. He first began showing signs of the disease in 2001, when he started suffering from mental problems. He was diagnosed as having the disease in 2002 and dementia set in last year, when he also became bedridden. The disease eats away at the brain, creating large holes, which turns it into something resembling a sponge. A total of 157 people died from CJD in the early 1990s, 147 of them in Britain. The number of deaths forced the British government into desperate measures by culling nearly the entire population of cows. The beef and dairy industry in the UK was destroyed and took years to recover. British Beef was banned around the world for many years. Although 14 cows have been found to have BSE in Japan, there is no concern about the safety of Japanese beef.

Lesson & plan in Word.doc

Example Class Handout in .pdf

WARM UPS / COOL DOWNS

1. CHAT:  Talk in pairs or groups about cows / beef / BSE / CJD / meat / human brain / being bedridden / …

To make things more dynamic, try telling your students they only have one minute (or 2) on each chat topic before changing topics / partners. Change topic / partner frequently to energize the class.

2. BEEF BRAINSTORM: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with beef. Share your words with your partner / group and talk about them.

3. MY HEALTH HISTORY: Talk to your partner about how your health record throughout your life / this year / … Have you ever been hospitalized? Do you get colds often? etc.

4. GOVERNMENT ACTION: What should the Japanese government do now? Below is a list of measures the Ministry of Health might take. Student A agrees with them. Student B thinks they are unnecessary. Discuss. Change sides half way.

(a) Ban all British beef.
(b) Test all Japanese people to see if they have the disease.
(c) Test all Japanese cows to see if they have the disease.
(d) Ban the import of all foreign beef.
(e) Find everyone who visited Britain in the early 1990s and see if they donated blood.
(f) Turn all Japanese beef farms into ostrich farms?
(g) Start selling home-testing kits for CJD for the public’s safety.
(h) Nothing.


 
 

PRE-READING IDEAS

1. WORD SEARCH: Students look in their dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … of the words ‘mad’, and ‘cow’.

2. TRUE / FALSE: Students look at the headline and predict whether they believe the following statements about the article are true or false:
(a)  A cow died in Japan.  T / F
(b)  A man died in Japan.  T / F
(c)  Mad cow disease is called BSE for cows and CJD in humans.  T / F
(d)  The man caught the disease from eating Japanese beef.  T / F
(e)  He was able to walk and run right up to his death. T / F
(f)  The disease turns your brain into a sponge – large holes everywhere.  T / F
(g)  Britain did nothing to prevent the spread of its BSE outbreak in the 1990s. T / F
(h)  No cows have yet been found with BSE in Japan. T / F

3. DEFINITIONS: Students match the following words with the most likely definitions (Please think about the headline!):

(a) Ministry (n)
(i) a government department that looks after an area of peoples’ lives, such as health, transport, defence …
(ii) a very small area in which pigs are kept before they are slaughtered.

(b) confirmed (v)
(i) when beef loses its softness and becomes tough and chewy
(ii) made it 100% clear that something is true

(c) refer (v)
(i) to call something by a particular name
(ii) a kind of home-made cigarette people make to smoke marijuana

(d) contracting (v)
(i) using a tractor to move cows around a field instead of dogs
(ii) getting a disease – when it enters your body for the first time

(e) infected (v)
(i) someone or something that has a disease
(ii) a child who refuses to eat beef and always goes to the toilet to spit it out

(f) diagnosed (v)
(i) when a disease or illness is identified by a doctor
(ii) when your nose does not stop running and you have run out of tissues

(g) dementia (n)
(i) to give a cow a special injection to protect it from BSE
(ii) the loss of your brain functions such as intelligence, memory, ability to remember names …

(h) bedridden (adj)
(i) when children want to stay up and watch a video and so refuse to go to bed
(ii) when you are so ill you have to stay in bed all day – you can’t get out of bed

(i) resembling (v)
(i) looking very similar to something else
(ii) looking very different to something else

(j) culling (v)
(i) the killing of a large number of animals for reasons of public safety, pest control etc
(ii) the placing of large numbers of animals in special safe areas to protect them from hunters

4. SYNONYM MATCH: Students match the following synonyms from the article:

(a) ministry incidence
(b) confirmed contaminated
(c) case slaughtering
(d) contracting judged
(e) infected incapacitated
(f) diagnosed revealed
(g) dementia department
(h) bedridden getting
(i) resembling senility
(j) culling similar to

5. PHRASE MATCH: Students match the following phrases based on the article (sometimes more than one combination is possible):

(a) Ministry human case of Mad Cow Disease
(b) the country’s first with BSE
(c) scientific as having the disease
(d) died in December after name
(e) infected of Health
(f) He was diagnosed resembling a sponge
(g) The disease eats about the safety of Japanese beef
(h) turns it into something measures
(i) desperate away at the brain
(j) there is no concern contracting the disease

WHILE READING ACTIVITIES

1. GAP-FILL:  Put the missing words under each paragraph into the gaps.

Japan’s first Mad Cow Disease death

Japan’s Ministry of Health yesterday __________ the country’s first human case of Mad Cow Disease. The __________ name for the human form of the disease is Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease (CJD), although most people __________ to it as BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy). A 51-year-old man died in December after contracting the disease during a one-month stay in England in 1989. He got CJD after eating British beef that had been __________ with BSE. He first began showing signs of the disease in 2001, when he started suffering from mental problems. He was diagnosed as having the disease in 2002 and __________ set in last year, when he also became bedridden. The disease eats away at the brain, creating large holes, which turns it into something resembling a __________. A total of 157 people died from CJD in the early 1990s, 147 of them in Britain. The number of deaths forced the British government into __________ measures by culling nearly the entire population of cows. The beef and dairy industry in the UK was destroyed and took years to recover. British Beef was banned around the world for many years. Although 14 cows have been found to have BSE in Japan, there is no __________ about the safety of Japanese beef.

 

confirmed      infected      sponge      concern     scientific     desperate     dementia     refer

2. TRUE/FALSE:  Students check their answers to the T/F exercise.

3. SYNONYMS:  Students check their answers to the synonyms exercise.

4. PHRASE MATCH:  Students check their answers to the phrase match exercise.

5. QUESTIONS: Students make notes for questions they would like to ask the class about the article.

6. VOCABULARY:  Students circle any words they do not understand. In groups pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find the meanings.


 
 

POST READING IDEAS

1. GAP-FILL: Check the answers to the gap-fill exercise.

2. QUESTIONS:  Students ask the discussion questions they thought of above to their partner / group / class. Pool the questions for all students to share.

3. VOCABULARY: As a class, go over the vocabulary students circled above.

4. STUDENT-GENERATED SURVEY: Pairs/Groups write down 3 questions based on the article. Conduct their surveys alone. Report back to partners to compare answers. Report to other groups / the whole class.

5. ‘MAD’/ ‘COW’: Students make questions based on their findings from pre-reading activity #1.

6. DISCUSSION:  Students ask each other the following questions:
(a)  Do you like cows?
(b)  Do you like beef?
(c)  Are you worried about BSE / CJD?
(d)  Are you worried about the safety of food in general?
(e)  What kind of public health scare over beef (or broccoli) would make you stop eating it?
(f)  Have you ever been bedridden?
(g)  Do you have a good memory, or a memory like a sieve?
(h)  What are food safety standards like in your country?
(i)  Is there any food you would not eat because it’s dangerous?
(j)  Is there any food from other countries you would not eat?
(k)  Would you eat British beef now?
(l)  What do you think of British food?
(m)  Teacher / Student additional questions

HOMEWORK

1. VOCAB EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or the Google search field to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find more information on the Mad Cow Disease. Share your findings with your class next lesson.

3. BEEF INFO: Create a poster of why beef is (not) good for you.

4. FOOD SAFETY: Write a short article for a health magazine about what we should do to reduce the risk of being infected with disease from food.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

(a)  A cow died in Japan.  F
(b)  A man died in Japan.  T
(c)  Mad cow disease is called BSE for cows and CJD in humans.  T
(d)  The man caught the disease from eating Japanese beef.  F
(e)  He was able to walk and run right up to his death. F
(f)  The disease turns your brain into a sponge – large holes everywhere.  T
(g)  Britain did nothing to prevent the spread of its BSE outbreak in the 1990s. F
(h)  No cows have yet been found with BSE in Japan. F

DEFINITIONS:

(a) Ministry (n)
(i) a government department that looks after an area of peoples’ lives, such as health, transport, defence …

(b) confirmed (v)
(ii) made it 100% clear that something is true

(c) refer (v)
(i) to call something by a particular name

(d) contracting (v)
(ii) getting a disease – when it enters your body for the first time

(e) infected (v)
(i) someone or something that has a disease

(f) diagnosed (v)
(i) when a disease or illness is identified by a doctor

(g) dementia (n)
(ii) the loss of your brain functions such as intelligence, memory, ability to remember names …

(h) bedridden (adj)
(ii) when you are so ill you have to stay in bed all day – you can’t get out of bed

(i) resembling (v)
(i) looking very similar to something else

(j) culling (v)
(i) the killing of a large number of animals for reasons of public safety, pest control etc

SYNONYM MATCH:

(a)

ministry

department

(b)

confirmed

judged

(c)

case

incidence

(d)

contracting

getting

(e)

infected

contaminated

(f)

diagnosed

revealed

(g)

dementia

senility

(h)

bedridden

incapacitated

(i)

resembling

similar to

(j)

culling

slaughtering

PHRASE MATCH:

(a)

Ministry

of Health

(b)

the country’s first

human case of Mad Cow Disease

(c)

scientific

name

(d)

died in December after

contracting the disease

(e)

infected

with BSE

(f)

He was diagnosed

as having the disease

(g)

The disease eats

away at the brain

(h)

turns it into something

resembling a sponge

(i)

desperate

measures

(j)

there is no concern

about the safety of Japanese beef

 

GAP FILL:

Japan’s first Mad Cow Disease death

Japan’s Ministry of Health yesterday confirmed the country’s first human case of Mad Cow Disease. The scientific name for the human form of the disease is Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease (CJD), although most people refer to it as BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy). A 51-year-old man died in December after contracting the disease during a one-month stay in England in 1989. He got CJD after eating British beef that had been infected with BSE. He first began showing signs of the disease in 2001, when he started suffering from mental problems. He was diagnosed as having the disease in 2002 and dementia set in last year, when he also became bedridden. The disease eats away at the brain, creating large holes, which turns it into something resembling a sponge. A total of 157 people died from CJD in the early 1990s, 147 of them in Britain. The number of deaths forced the British government into desperate measures by culling nearly the entire population of cows. The beef and dairy industry in the UK was destroyed and took years to recover. British Beef was banned around the world for many years. Although 14 cows have been found to have BSE in Japan, there is no concern about the safety of Japanese beef.

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