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Tap water as good as bottled water


Date: March 27, 2005
Level: Pre-Intermediate +
Downloads: This Lesson (Word Doc) | Class Handout (Word Doc) | Class Handout (PDF)

THE ARTICLE

People may be wasting their money by buying bottled mineral water. A study commissioned by Australia’s Weekend Australian newspaper reveals there is little difference between tap water and bottled water. Chemists from Sydney’s University of Technology analyzed the tap water in three Australian cities, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, as well as various brands of mineral water. Their results showed that the bottled water tested was no cleaner than tap water. The research leader, Dr Grant Hose rejected the idea that bottled water was purer than the tap variety. The Weekend Australian reports him as saying, “Tap water is as healthy for you as bottled water - it's no different.” The research also indicated tap water may be better for your teeth as it contains fluoride, which is excluded from most bottled water. A huge difference highlighted by the study was the relative price of mineral water. The newspaper reports the leading Australian brand, priced at $1.60 a litre, is “209,333 per cent more than tap water, which in Melbourne costs 0.075 of a cent per litre”.

WARM UPS

1. CHAT: Talk in pairs or groups about Evian/ Perrier / tap water / water / fluoride / wasting money / value for money / …

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 increase conversation.

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

3. VALUE FOR MONEY? Many people buy mineral water believing it is healthier than  tap water. Mineral water is certainly more expensive. Are expensive goods better than cheaper or free alternatives? In pairs / groups, discuss which you would choose:

  1. Perrier or tap water
  2. CD or file sharing
  3. Louis Vuitton bag or $80 bag
  4. Mickey Mouse T-shirt or $2 discount store T-shirt
  5. Newspaper or Internet news (non-subscription)
  6. Buy a book or go to the library
  7. Nike running shoes or brand X
  8. Business class or economy
  9. Yahoo’s $20 2GB mail service or Yahoo’s free 1GB service
  10. Free one-year guarantee or $100 5-year warranty

4. OPINIONS: Talk about these with your partner.

  1. Bottled mineral water is healthier than tap water.
  2. You can’t trust mineral water companies – they lie.
  3. This “mineral water is healthier” thing is just clever marketing.
  4. Tap water contains fluoride so it’s better for our teeth.
  5. People who pay for drinking water are crazy.
  6. I drank the tap water in Bangkok – no problem.
  7. Carrying a plastic Evian bottle is a fashion statement, it goes with a backpack.
  8. Mineral water is called mineral water because it contains minerals. These are good for us.
  9. People who drink mineral water don’t live longer.
  10. Where does the fizz come from in sparkling mineral water. Sorry, but that isn’t natural.

 
 

PRE-READING IDEAS

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

2. TRUE / FALSE: Look at the headline and guess whether these sentences are true or false:

  1. Bottled mineral water is a total waste of money.  T / F
  2. A newspaper commissioned a study to compare tap water and mineral water.  T / F
  3. There is little difference between tap water and bottled water.  T / F
  4. Mineral water is much cleaner than tap water.  T / F
  5. A researcher accepted the idea that mineral water is purer than tap water.  T / F
  6. Tap water is better for your teeth than mineral water.  T / F
  7. Bottled water contains lots of fluoride.  T / F
  8. Bottled water can be 2,093 times more expensive than tap water.  T / F

3. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article:

(a)

wasting

suggested

(b)

commissioned

notion

(c)

analyzed

massive

(d)

various

appointed

(e)

rejected

throwing away

(f)

idea

top

(g)

indicated

dispelled

(h)

excluded

tested

(i)

huge

different

(j)

leading

left out

4. PHRASE MATCH: Match the following phrases from the article (sometimes more than one combination is possible):

(a)

People may be wasting

brands of mineral water

(b)

there is little

brand

(c)

various

difference

(d)

the bottled water tested was no

better for your teeth

(e)

rejected

different

(f)

it's no

a litre

(g)

tap water may be

their money

(h)

huge

cleaner than the tap water

(i)

the leading Australian

difference

(j)

priced at $1.60

the idea

 

WHILE READING ACTIVITIES

1. GAP-FILL:  Put the words on the right into the gaps.

Tap water as good as bottled water

People may be __________ their money by buying bottled mineral water. A study commissioned by Australia’s Weekend Australian newspaper __________ there is little difference between tap water and bottled water. Chemists from Sydney’s University of Technology __________ the tap water in three Australian cities, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, as well as various brands of mineral water. Their __________ showed that the bottled water tested was no cleaner than tap water. The research leader, Dr Grant Hose __________ the idea that bottled water was purer than the tap variety. The Weekend Australian reports him as saying, “Tap water is as healthy for you as bottled water - it's no different.” The research also __________ tap water may be better for your teeth as it contains fluoride, which is excluded from most bottled water. A huge difference __________ by the study was the relative price of mineral water. The newspaper reports the leading Australian brand, priced at $1.60 a litre, is “209,333 __________ more than tap water, which in Melbourne costs 0.075 of a cent per litre”.

 

 

results
reveals
rejected
per cent
indicated
wasting
highlighted
analyzed

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. ‘MINERAL’ / ‘WATER’: Students make questions based on their findings from pre-reading activity #1.

6. DISCUSSION:

  1. What was interesting in this article?
  2. Were you surprised by anything in this article?
  3. What do you know about the health benefits of mineral water?
  4. Do you prefer bottled water or mineral water?
  5. Is tap water bad for your health?
  6. Is one mineral water healthier than another?
  7. Do you drink water from the tap in foreign countries?
  8. Is the tap water in your country safe to drink?
  9. Is bottled water a reasonable price?
  10. Do you always think about value for money?
  11. Do you always believe the advertising of mineral water companies?
  12. Isn’t bottled mineral water just another trendy part of modern life?
  13. If your government said your country’s tap water is healthy to drink, would you believe them?
  14. Do you buy organic vegetables or free range eggs?
  15. What did you like best about this discussion?
  16. Teacher / Student additional questions.

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY 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 information on the health benefits of mineral water. Share your findings with your class next lesson.

3. WATER EXEC.: You are head of PERRIVIAN, a top selling mineral water company. Create an information poster about why your water is so good for our health.

4. WATER DIARY: Write a diary for one day about all the times you use water.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

  1. Bottled mineral water is a total waste of money.  F
  2. A newspaper commissioned a study to compare tap water and mineral water.  T
  3. There is little difference between tap water and bottled water.  T
  4. Mineral water is much cleaner than tap water.  F
  5. A researcher accepted the idea that mineral water is purer than tap water.  F
  6. Tap water is better for your teeth than mineral water.  T
  7. Bottled water contains lots of fluoride.  F
  8. Bottled water can be 2,093 times more expensive than tap water.  T

SYNONYM MATCH:

(a)

wasting

throwing away

(b)

commissioned

appointed

(c)

analyzed

tested

(d)

various

different

(e)

rejected

dispelled

(f)

idea

notion

(g)

indicated

suggested

(h)

excluded

left out

(i)

huge

massive

(j)

leading

top

PHRASE MATCH:

(a)

People may be wasting

their money

(b)

there is little

difference

(c)

various

brands of mineral water

(d)

the bottled water tested was no

cleaner than the tap water

(e)

rejected

the idea

(f)

it's no

different

(g)

tap water may be

better for your teeth

(h)

huge

difference

(i)

the leading Australian

brand

(j)

priced at $1.60

a litre

GAP FILL:

Tap water as good as bottled water

People may be wasting their money by buying bottled mineral water. A study commissioned by Australia’s Weekend Australian newspaper reveals there is little difference between tap water and bottled water. Chemists from Sydney’s University of Technology analyzed the tap water in three Australian cities, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, as well as various brands of mineral water. Their results showed that the bottled water tested was no cleaner than tap water. The research leader, Dr Grant Hose rejected the idea that bottled water was purer than the tap variety. The Weekend Australian reports him as saying, “Tap water is as healthy for you as bottled water - it's no different.” The research also indicated tap water may be better for your teeth as it contains fluoride, which is excluded from most bottled water. A huge difference highlighted by the study was the relative price of mineral water. The newspaper reports the leading Australian brand, priced at $1.60 a litre, is “209,333 per cent more than tap water, which in Melbourne costs 0.075 of a cent per litre”.

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