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Date: Jul 15, 2005

Level: Easier (Try the harder lesson.)

Downloads: Word Doc | PDF Doc | Listening

Audio: (1:38 - 193 KB - 16kbps)

THE ARTICLE

Soft drinks that are full of sugar may soon have health warnings like those on cigarette packets. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has issued a press release calling for all sodas to be labeled. It warns carbonated beverages are an increasing danger to our health. CSPI director Michael Jacobson stated that: "Americans are drowning in soda pop”. He described soda as a “worthless” product. He also stressed “obesity is an epidemic”.

The title of the press release describes soda as “liquid candy”. It reports that teenagers drink an average of three cans of soda a day. This is 15 per cent of their necessary calorie intake. Mr. Jacobson asked: “How did a solution of high-fructose corn syrup, water, and artificial flavors come to be the default beverage?” He urged soft drink manufacturers to warn kids that soda results in obesity, dental problems and weak bones. He also said soda is "not appropriate for children”.

Source: http://www.cspinet.org/new/200507131.html

WARM-UPS

1. SODA HISTORY: In pairs / groups, talk about your history and present regarding soda. When did you first start drinking it? What’s your favorite? How often do you drink it? How important is it to you? Could you stop drinking it?

2. QUICK ROLE PLAY: Students A are the bosses of soda companies. You don’t care about the health hazards of cola and other sodas. You only care about profits. Students B are health workers. You think colas and sodas are a serious danger to health. In pairs, role play a discussion between manufacturers and health workers.

3. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words are most interesting and which are most boring.

Soft drinks / sugar / health warnings / health hazards / obesity / liquid candy / cans of soda / calorie intake / dental problems / caffeine / not for kids

Have a chat about the topics you liked. For more conversation, change topics and partners frequently.

4. SODA: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word “soda”. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.

5. FIZZY OPINIONS: Talk about these opinions on soft / fizzy drinks. Do you agree or disagree with them?

  1. Soda should be banned worldwide.
  2. People know that soda isn’t healthy. If they drink it, that’s their choice.
  3. There should be labels on soda products warning of the dangers to our health.
  4. Drink manufacturers target kids – that’s wrong.
  5. There’s nothing better than in ice cold Coke (or Pepsi) on a hot day.
  6. Kids who drink too much soda have bad parents.
  7. The crazy thing is that many schools serve soda with school lunches.
  8. It’s the usual problem. Anything in moderation is OK.
  9. People who become obese from drinking soda should sue the soda companies.
  10. You cannot place restrictions on kids drinking soda. It’s part of growing up.

 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Look at the article’s headline and guess whether these sentences are true (T) or false (F):

a.

A new product called “liquid candy” has come onto the market.

T / F

b.

A health group wants sodas to be labeled with health warnings.

T / F

c.

Some Americans drown in soda every year.

T / F

d.

Obesity is an epidemic.

T / F

e.

U.S. teens drink an average of 3 cans of soda a day.

T / F

f.

Three sodas a day is 50% of a child’s required daily calories.

T / F

g.

Drinking too much soda leads to weak bones.

T / F

h.

The health advisory group says soda is inappropriate for kids.

T / F

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

a.

full of

requested

b.

carbonated

drinks

c.

beverages

disease

d.

worthless

first-choice

e.

epidemic

fizzy

f.

solution

suitable

g.

default

useless

h.

urged

brittle

i.

weak

loaded with

j.

appropriate

mixture

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

a.

soft drinks that are full

of three cans of soda a day

b.

health

an epidemic

c.

issued a press

problems

d.

carbonated

warnings

e.

obesity is

of sugar

f.

teenagers drink an average

for children

g.

necessary calorie

flavors

h.

artificial

beverages

i.

dental

intake

j.

not appropriate

release

WHILE READING / LISTENING

SYNONYM FILL: Place the number of the synonym group in the correct gap (It is not important to guess a correct word - any of the synonyms from each group could be put into the relevant gap).

“Liquid candy” needs health warnings

____ drinks that are full of sugar may soon have health warnings like those on cigarette packets. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has issued a press release calling for all sodas to be labeled. It warns carbonated beverages are an increasing ____ to our health. CSPI director Michael Jacobson stated that: "Americans are drowning in soda pop”. He described soda as a “____” product. He also stressed “obesity is an epidemic”.

The title of the press release describes soda as “liquid candy”. It reports that teenagers ____ an average of three cans of soda a day. This is 15 per cent of their necessary calorie intake. Mr. Jacobson asked: “How did a solution of high-fructose corn syrup, water, and artificial flavors come to be the default beverage?” He urged soft drink manufacturers to warn kids that soda ____ obesity, dental problems and weak bones. He also said soda is "not ____ for children”.

1
appropriate
suitable
proper
fit

2
worthless
useless
good-for-nothing
valueless

3
drink
guzzle
down
polish off

 

4
soft
fizzy
carbonated
non-alcoholic

5
results in
leads to
produces
causes

6
danger
peril
hazard
threat


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘liquid’ and ‘candy’.

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. SYNONYM FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the synonym fill. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. STUDENT SODA SURVEY: In pairs / groups, write down questions about soda, nutrition and health.

  • Ask other classmates your questions and note down their answers.
  • Go back to your original partner / group and compare your findings.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

6. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall exactly how these were used in the text:

  • full
  • packets
  • release
  • increasing
  • drowning
  • epidemic
  • title
  • average
  • solution
  • artificial
  • manufacturers
  • appropriate

DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

  1. What did you first think when you read this headline?
  2. Did the headline make you want to read the article?
  3. What do you think about soda?
  4. Does soda play a big part in your life?
  5. Are you surprised that the average American kid drinks three cans of soda a day?
  6. Do you worry that colas contain caffeine?
  7. Do you ever think about the health value of carbonated drinks?
  8. Do you think kids in your country are “drowning in soda”?
  9. Should your government provide more guidelines on soda?
  10. Is obesity a big problem for kids in your country?

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

  1. Did you like reading this article?
  2. What did you think about what you read?
  3. What do you think of the CSPI request for labeling?
  4. Whose fault is it that kids drink too much soda?
  5. How much soda is acceptable?
  6. Do you think soda is a “worthless” product?
  7. Do you think there are any benefits to drinking soda?
  8. Which is best, Coke or Pepsi?
  9. Do you think it would be easy for kids to switch from soda to fruit juice, milk or healthy beverages?
  10. Did you like this discussion?

AFTER DISCUSSION: Join another partner / group and tell them what you talked about.

  1. What question would you like to ask about this topic?
  2. What was the most interesting thing you heard?
  3. Was there a question you didn’t like?
  4. Was there something you totally disagreed with?
  5. What did you like talking about?
  6. Do you want to know how anyone else answered the questions?
  7. Which was the most difficult question?

SPEAKING

ROLE PLAY: This role play is to discuss whether or not to label soda or control its sale. Team up with classmates who have the same role as you. Develop your roles and discuss ideas and “strategies” before the role play begins.

Introduce yourself to the other role players before the role play begins.

Role A – Teenage kids

You love soda. There’s no way you want to give it up. You don’t care about calories – you play sport. It’s your body and your choice. You hate healthy drinks. Soda is delicious. It’s part of your culture. It gives you energy. Health warnings and labeling are ridiculous ideas.

Think of other reasons with your “team” why soda is the best.
 

Role B – Worried parent

You are worried about your child’s health. He has dental problems. He’s overweight. He never eats or drinks anything that’s healthy. You think soda companies and their advertising are evil. Soda doesn’t have a single benefit for anyone, except soda company bosses. Labeling is necessary.

Think of other reasons with your “team” why soda is evil.
 

Role C – Drinks manufacturer

Kids are intelligent enough to make their own choices. If kids drink “too much” soda, that’s their parents’ fault. You make soft drinks. You are not in the health industry. Your drinks provide energy. If soda is labeled, chocolate and other products should be labeled too.

Think of other reasons with your “team” why soda is totally harmless.
 

Role D – CSPI boss

It’s obvious soda is harmful. It’s clear soda leads to obesity. It’s a crime that soda companies spend so time targeting kids. Soda manufacturers lie about their products. The government must make soda companies label their product AND tax soda – to pay for hospital costs of obesity.

Think of other reasons with your “team” why soda should bear health warnings.
 

Change roles and repeat the role play. Comment in groups about the differences between the two role plays.

In pairs / groups, discuss whether you really believe in what you said while you were in your roles.

LISTENING

Listen and fill in the spaces.

“Liquid candy” needs health warnings

Soft drinks that are ____ __ sugar may soon have health warnings like those on cigarette packets. The Center for Science in the Public ________ (CSPI) has issued a press release calling for all sodas to be _______. It warns carbonated beverages are an __________ danger to our health. CSPI director Michael Jacobson stated that: "Americans are _________ in soda pop”. He described soda as a “worthless” product. He also stressed “obesity is an _________”.

The title of the press release __________ soda as “liquid candy”. It reports that teenagers drink __ ________ __ three cans of soda a day. This is 15 per cent of their necessary calorie ______. Mr. Jacobson asked: “How did a solution of high-fructose corn syrup, water, and ________ flavors come to be the default beverage?” He urged soft drink manufacturers to warn kids that soda _____ __ obesity, dental problems and weak bones. He also said soda is "not ____________ for children”.

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 more information on the nutritional benefits and dangers of sodas. Share your findings with your class in the next lesson.

3. SODA OR JUICE?: Carry out a survey among the people you know asking them whether they prefer soda or juice. Ask different questions about soda and juice. Report your findings to your classmates in your next lesson. Did you all find out similar things?

4. LETTER: Write a letter to the head of the Center for Science in the Public Interest to tell him what you think of his call for the labeling of soda. Read your letter to your classmates in your next lesson. Did you all write about similar things?

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. F

b. T

c. F

d. T

e. T

f. F

g. T

h. T

SYNONYM MATCH:

a.

full of

loaded with

b.

carbonated

fizzy

c.

beverages

drinks

d.

worthless

useless

e.

epidemic

disease

f.

solution

mixture

g.

default

first-choice

h.

urged

requested

i.

weak

brittle

j.

appropriate

suitable

PHRASE MATCH:

a.

soft drinks that are full

of sugar

b.

health

warnings

c.

issued a press

release

d.

carbonated

beverages

e.

obesity is

an epidemic

f.

teenagers drink an average

of three cans of soda a day

g.

necessary calorie

intake

h.

artificial

flavors

i.

dental

problems

j.

not appropriate

for children

SYNONYM FILL:

“Liquid candy” needs health warnings

---4--- drinks that are full of sugar may soon have health warnings like those on cigarette packets. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has issued a press release calling for all sodas to be labeled. It warns carbonated beverages are an increasing ---6--- to our health. CSPI director Michael Jacobson stated that: "Americans are drowning in soda pop”. He described soda as a “---2---” product. He also stressed “obesity is an epidemic”.

The title of the press release describes soda as “liquid candy”. It reports that teenagers ---3--- an average of three cans of soda a day. This is 15 per cent of their necessary calorie intake. Mr. Jacobson asked: “How did a solution of high-fructose corn syrup, water, and artificial flavors come to be the default beverage?” He urged soft drink manufacturers to warn kids that soda ---5--- obesity, dental problems and weak bones. He also said soda is "not ---1--- for children”.

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