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Date: February 23, 2005
Level: Pre-Intermediate +
Downloads: This Lesson (Word Doc) | Class Handout (Word Doc) | Class Handout (PDF)

THE ARTICLE

A professor in the United States has angered long-time vegetarian Sir Paul McCartney by attacking parents who raise their children with a strict vegetarian diet. Professor Lindsay Allen of the University of California said children who are raised without eating meat or dairy products suffer mental and physical developmental problems. She said this includes unborn children, "There have been sufficient studies clearly showing that when women avoid all animal foods, their babies are born small, they grow very slowly and they are developmentally retarded, possibly permanently.” She said it is “unethical” for parents not to give animal products to children. Sir Paul dismissed Professor Allen’s findings as “rubbish”, saying her research was funded by the American meat industry. He gives his own healthy children as an example of kids who grew up healthily on a non-meat diet. He continued, “Vegetarianism has been a good thing for me and my children, who are no shorter than other children.” Ms Allen hit back, stating “Knowing Sir Paul is upset won’t make me lose sleep. My work was done for the United States Agency for International Development, not a meat company.” Her study showed how vegetarian children in Kenya greatly improved their physical and intellectual power after being given two spoons of meat a day. Perhaps a vegan diet is healthy. Perhaps a little meat or milk occasionally may be healthier.

WARM UPS / COOL DOWNS

1. CHAT:  Talk in pairs or groups about vegetables / being vegetarian / meat / dairy products / Sir Paul McCartney / intellectual power / muscles / …

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. VEGETARIAN BRAINSTORM: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word ‘vegetarian’. Share your words with your partner / group and talk about them.

3. VEGGIE LIFESTYLE: In pairs / groups, write down 5 ideas why being a vegetarian is better for you. Talk about these. Change partners several times, sharing your information. Return to your original partner and choose the best five ideas from those you heard.

4. OPINIONS: In pairs / groups, discuss the following opinions:

  1. We are carnivores. We were designed to be meat-eaters.
  2. People on vegetarian diets live longer.
  3. It’s wrong for parents to force their children to eat a vegetarian diet.
  4. Meat provides valuable protein to make you big and strong.
  5. American football players eat a lot of meat. They are big and strong.
  6. It’s wrong to kill animals just for food.
  7. Beef, chicken, lamb etc taste gooooood.
  8. Eating meat makes us more violent.
  9. If everyone were vegetarian, the environment would be better.
  10. If we were all vegetarian, McDonald’s would have to sell veggie-burgers and tofu McNuggets.
  11. Parents should be able to decide the diet for their children.
  12. Einstein and Ghandi were vegetarian – we could all be like them without meat.

 
 

PRE-READING IDEAS

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

2. TRUE / FALSE: Students look at the headline and predict whether they believe the following statements about the article are true or false:

  1. A professor attacked Sir Paul McCartney for being vegetarian.  T / F
  2. A professor said vegetarian children suffer mental and physical developmental problems.  T / F
  3. Unborn children develop normally even if their mothers are vegetarian.  T / F
  4. A researcher said it is “unethical” for parents not to give animal products to children.  T / F
  5. Sir Paul McCartney’s children are vegetarian and not short.  T / F
  6. A professor hit Sir Paul McCartney.  T / F
  7. A professor couldn’t sleep because of something Sir Paul McCartney said.  T / F
  8. Two spoons of meat a day helps children grow better.  T / F

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

(a) professor bring up
(b) raise backward
(c) mental retaliated
(d) sufficient garbage
(e) retarded intellectual
(f) dismissed worry
(g) rubbish scientist
(h) hit back enough
(i) lose sleep research
(j) study rejected

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

(a) long-time industry
(b) meat or dairy sleep
(c) developmental back
(d) unborn vegetarian
(e) animal power
(f) funded by the American meat products
(g) kids who grew up healthily products
(h) Ms Allen hit problems
(i) lose children
(j) physical and intellectual on a non-meat diet

 

WHILE READING ACTIVITIES

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

Veggie diet bad for kids

A professor in the United States has __________ long-time vegetarian Sir Paul McCartney by attacking parents who __________ their children with a strict vegetarian diet. Professor Lindsay Allen of the University of California said children who are raised without eating meat or dairy products __________ mental and physical developmental problems. She said this includes unborn children, "There have been sufficient studies clearly showing that when women __________ all animal foods, their babies are born small, they grow very slowly and they are developmentally retarded, possibly permanently.” She said it is “unethical” for parents not to give animal products to children. Sir Paul dismissed Professor Allen’s findings as “__________”, saying her research was funded by the American meat industry. He gives his own healthy children as an example of kids who grew up healthily on a non-meat diet. He continued, “Vegetarianism has been a good thing for me and my children, who are no shorter than other children.” Ms Allen hit back, stating “Knowing Sir Paul is upset won’t make me __________ sleep. My work was done for the United States Agency for International Development, not a meat company.” Her study showed how vegetarian children in Kenya greatly __________ their physical and intellectual power after being given two spoons of meat a day. Perhaps a vegan diet is healthy. Perhaps a little meat or milk __________ may be healthier.

 

rubbish
improved
suffer
avoid
angered
occasionally
lose
raise

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 c ircle 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. ‘LONG’/ ‘TIME’: Students make questions based on their findings from pre-reading activity #1.

6. DISCUSSION:  Students ask each other the following qu estions:
What do you think of this article?

  1. Do you like meat?
  2. Do you like vegetables?
  3. Should growing children eat meat?
  4. Is a vegetarian diet healthier than a meat-based one?
  5. Do you believe Professor Allen’s study that showed kids who ate meat grew bigger and smarter?
  6. A strict vegetarian (vegan) eats no animal products, not even honey. What do you think of this?
  7. Do you like Sir Paul McCartney and the Beatles?
  8. Before a cow is killed, its body fills with adrenalin. This chemical makes humans aggressive and violent. What do you think about this?
  9. Is it unethical for a pregnant woman to eat a vegan diet?
  10. Did you have any meat or vegetables you hated as a kid?
  11. What kind of things do you lose sleep over?
  12. If you eat lots of beef, you might be very big. Is it good to be so big?
  13. If the whole world were vegetarian, we’d need less land for cows, which would mean more trees and less deforestation. Should the world be vegetarian?
  14. Teacher / Student additional questions.

HOMEWORK

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

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find more information on being a vegan. Share your opinions with your class next lesson.

3. VEGAN DIET: Create a poster with the pros and cons of a vegan diet.

4. LETTER TO PROFESSOR ALLEN / SIR PAUL: Write a letter either to Professor Lindsay Allen or Sir Paul McCartney explaining your thoughts on their research / opinions.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

  1. A professor attacked Sir Paul McCartney for being vegetarian.  F
  2. A professor said vegetarian children suffer mental and physical developmental problems.  T
  3. Unborn children develop normally even if their mothers are vegetarian.  F
  4. A researcher said it is “unethical” for parents not to give animal products to children.  T
  5. Sir Paul McCartney’s children are vegetarian and not short.  T
  6. A professor hit Sir Paul McCartney.  F
  7. A professor couldn’t sleep because of something Sir Paul McCartney said.  F
  8. Two spoons of meat a day helps children grow better.  T

SYNONYM MATCH:

(a) professor scientist
(b) raise bring up
(c) mental intellectual
(d) sufficient enough
(e) retarded backward
(f) dismissed rejected
(g) rubbish garbage
(h) hit back retaliated
(i) lose sleep worry
(j) study research

PHRASE MATCH:

(a) long-time vegetarian
(b) meat or dairy products
(c) developmental problems
(d) unborn children
(e) animal products
(f) funded by the American meat industry
(g) kids who grew up healthily on a non-meat diet
(h) Ms Allen hit back
(i) lose sleep
(j) physical and intellectual power

 

GAP FILL:

Veggie diet bad for kids

A professor in the United States has angered long-time vegetarian Sir Paul McCartney by attacking parents who raise their children with a strict vegetarian diet. Professor Lindsay Allen of the University of California said children who are raised without eating meat or dairy products suffer mental and physical developmental problems. She said this includes unborn children, "There have been sufficient studies clearly showing that when women avoid all animal foods, their babies are born small, they grow very slowly and they are developmentally retarded, possibly permanently.” She said it is “unethical” for parents not to give animal products to children. Sir Paul dismissed Professor Allen’s findings as “rubbish”, saying her research was funded by the American meat industry. He gives his own healthy children as an example of kids who grew up healthily on a non-meat diet. He continued, “Vegetarianism has been a good thing for me and my children, who are no shorter than other children.” Ms Allen hit back, stating “Knowing Sir Paul is upset won’t make me lose sleep. My work was done for the United States Agency for International Development, not a meat company.” Her study showed how vegetarian children in Kenya greatly improved their physical and intellectual power after being given two spoons of meat a day. Perhaps a vegan diet is healthy. Perhaps a little meat or milk occasionally may be healthier.

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