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ESL / EFL Lesson Plan on Colds

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Keep warm to avoid colds: scientists


 
 

Date: Nov 15, 2005
Level: Harder (Try the easier lesson.)
Downloads: Word Doc | PDF Doc | Listening
Audio: (1:53 - 221.5 KB - 16kbps)
 
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THE ARTICLE

For years people have claimed it to be an old wives’ tale that inclement weather could bring on a cold, but now scientists have found that wrapping up warm does help prevent colds. Scientists scoffed for years at the notion of cold weather bringing on the chills, but researchers from the Common Cold Center at Cardiff University in the U.K will report this week that a major cause of the common cold is simple exposure to cold weather. The center is the world’s only facility dedicated to researching and testing new medicines for the treatment of influenza and colds. The researchers suggest that keeping one’s feet and nose warm reduces the likelihood of catching a cold. They further recommend that the best precautions for avoiding a cold are to wear a warm hat and keep your feet dry.

Dr. Ronald Eccles said cold weather makes us more prone to illness: “Chilling causes a constriction in the blood vessels in the nose, and this reduces our resistance to infections within the nose.” Dr. Eccles and his fellow researchers studied 180 test volunteers, who were split into two groups. Half of the volunteers immersed their bare feet in bowls of icy water for 20 minutes, while the others kept their feet dry. The researchers discovered that the volunteers who plunged their feet into cold water were more susceptible to catching a cold. About 29 percent of them developed cold-like symptoms within five days, compared with only nine percent for those who kept their socks on. Dr. Eccles said: “Mothers can now be confident in their advice to children to wrap up well in winter.”

WARM-UPS

1. HEALTHY ME: Chat to your partners about your health. Have you stayed healthy this year? Are you susceptible to catching colds? Do you have a strong constitution? Do you often take days off sick? Find out who is the least prone to illnesses.

2. AVOIDING COLDS: What do you do to avoid colds? Discuss with your partner(s) the following ideas. Why do you think they might help prevent catching a cold? Which ones would you like to try?

  • Avoid touching your nose and eyes
  • Gargle three times a day
  • Drink a glass of red wine a day
  • Wash your hands after shaking hands
  • Sleep 8 - 10 hours a night
  • Stop smoking
  • Wear a hat and two pairs of socks
  • Eat lots of oranges and lemons
  • Never skip eating breakfast
  • Drink chicken soup

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

Old wives’ tales / inclement weather / catching colds / preventing colds / influenza / hats / blood vessels / infections / icy water / socks / advice to children / winter

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

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

5. OLD WIVES’ TALES: Talk about these “old wives’ tales” with your partner. Do you think they are true? Are there similar tales in your country? Why do you think people believe these?

  1. An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
  2. Count the seeds inside an apple to find out how many children you’ll have.
  3. It’s bad luck to sleep with your head facing north.
  4. Blow out all the candles on your birthday cake in one puff and you dreams will come true.
  5. If you get goose bumps, it means someone is walking over your grave.
  6. If you step on a crack in the pavement, bad luck will come.
  7. Friday the 13th is an unlucky day.
  8. Pulling out one gray hair will cause ten more gray hairs to grow in its place.
  9. Hang a horseshoe above the doorway of your house to bring good luck.
  10. If you dream about a snake, something that’s bad in your life will disappear.

 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

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

a.

Scientists have said that saunas are the best way to prevent colds.

T / F

b.

A scientist reports that wrapping up warm helps prevent colds.

T / F

c.

There are many centers in the world researching medicines for colds.

T / F

d.

Keeping your nose and feet warm will not protect you against colds.

T / F

e.

Cold weather relaxes and expands the blood vessels in the nose.

T / F

f.

Volunteers put their feet in icy cold water for 20 minutes.

T / F

g.

Nine percent of volunteers who kept their socks on caught a cold.

T / F

h.

A doctor said mothers need more confidence when advising children.

T / F

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

a.

old wives’ tale

tightening

b.

inclement

derided

c.

scoffed

vulnerable

d.

notion

signs

e.

precautions

idea

f.

prone

plunged

g.

constriction

popular belief

h.

immersed

preventative measures

i.

susceptible

susceptible

j.

symptoms

wintry

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

a.

people have claimed it to

to cold weather

b.

wrapping up warm

for avoiding a cold

c.

Scientists scoffed for years

be an old wives’ tale

d.

exposure

catching a cold

e.

the best precautions

at the notion

f.

cold weather makes us

feet in bowls of icy water

g.

reduces our resistance

does help prevent colds

h.

volunteers immersed their bare

to wrap up well in winter

i.

more susceptible to

more prone to illness

j.

their advice to children

to infections within the nose

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words in the column on the right into the gaps in the text.

Keep warm to avoid colds: scientists

For years people have ________ it to be an old wives’ tale that inclement weather could bring on a cold, but now scientists have found that ________ up warm does help prevent colds. Scientists ________ for years at the notion of cold weather bringing on the ________, but researchers from the Common Cold Center at Cardiff University in the U.K will report this week that a major cause of the common cold is simple ________ to cold weather. The center is the world’s only facility ________ to researching and testing new medicines for the treatment of influenza and colds. The researchers suggest that keeping one’s feet and nose warm reduces the ________ of catching a cold. They further recommend that the best precautions for ________ a cold are to wear a warm hat and keep your feet dry.

 

 

dedicated
chills
wrapping
avoiding
claimed
exposure
likelihood
scoffed

Dr. Ronald Eccles said cold weather makes us more ________ to illness: “Chilling causes a constriction in the blood ________ in the nose, and this reduces our resistance to ________ within the nose.” Dr. Eccles and his fellow researchers studied 180 test volunteers, who were split into two groups. Half of the volunteers immersed their bare feet in ________ of icy water for 20 minutes, while the others kept their feet dry. The researchers discovered that the volunteers who ________ their feet into cold water were more susceptible to catching a cold. About 29 percent of them developed cold-like ________ within five days, compared with only nine percent for those who kept their ________ on. Dr. Eccles said: “Mothers can now be confident in their advice to children to ________ up well in winter.”

 

 

plunged
infections
bowls
socks
prone
wrap
symptoms
vessels

LISTENING

Listen and fill in the spaces.

Keep warm to avoid colds: scientists

For years people have claimed it to be an ____ _______ tale that inclement weather could bring on a cold, but now scientists have found that wrapping up warm does help prevent colds. Scientists ________ for years at the notion of cold weather bringing on the ________, but researchers from the Common Cold Center at Cardiff University in the U.K will report this week that a major cause of the common cold is simple ___________ to cold weather. The center is the world’s only facility ___________ to researching and testing new medicines for the treatment of influenza and colds. The researchers suggest that keeping one’s feet and nose warm reduces the ___________ of catching a cold. They further recommend that the best ___________ for avoiding a cold are to wear a warm hat and keep your feet dry.

Dr. Ronald Eccles said cold weather makes us more ___________ to illness: “Chilling causes a ___________ in the blood vessels in the nose, and this reduces our resistance to ____________ within the nose.” Dr. Eccles and his fellow researchers studied 180 test volunteers, who were split into two groups. Half of the volunteers ____________ their bare feet in bowls of icy water for 20 minutes, while the others kept their feet dry. The researchers discovered that the volunteers who plunged their feet into cold water were more ____________ to catching a cold. About 29 percent of them developed cold-like symptoms within five days, ____________ _____ only nine percent for those who kept their socks on. Dr. Eccles said: “Mothers can now be confident in their advice to children to _______-____ well in winter.”


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

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

  • 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. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the gap 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 “COLDS” SURVEY: In pairs / groups, write down questions about colds, cold weather and our 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:

  • inclement
  • wrapping
  • scoffed
  • exposure
  • likelihood
  • precautions
  • prone
  • blood
  • immersed
  • susceptible
  • socks
  • confident

DISCUSSION

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

  1. Did the headline make you want to read the article?
  2. What were you told about colds when you were young?
  3. Do you think all of the health advice given to you by your mother was correct?
  4. Are you susceptible to colds?
  5. Do you prefer freezing cold or boiling hot weather?
  6. What do you think is the best way to prevent catching a cold?
  7. Why do you think there is only one research center in the world that tests new medicines for influenza and colds?
  8. Are you worried about avian bird flu?
  9. What’s the worst cold you’ve ever had?
  10. Will you make a point of wrapping up warm from now on?

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

  1. Did you like reading this article?
  2. What do you think about what you read?
  3. Do you do anything to keep colds away?
  4. Do you take a lot of time off work / school from being ill?
  5. Do you think the study method mentioned in the article sufficiently proves that wrapping up warm protects against colds?
  6. Would you like to be a volunteer in such tests?
  7. When do you think scientists will discover a cure for colds and influenza?
  8. Are you ever incapacitated or bedridden when you catch a cold?
  9. What old wives’ tales do you know and believe to be true?
  10. Did you like this discussion?

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

  1. What was the most interesting thing you heard?
  2. Was there a question you didn’t like?
  3. Was there something you totally disagreed with?
  4. What did you like talking about?
  5. Which was the most difficult question?

SPEAKING

PRECAUTIONS & REMEDIES: You are a health worker. You must find the best precautions and remedies to some common complaints and illnesses. Interview three other “health workers” in the class and make a note of their suggestions about how to prevent or cure the problems listed in the left hand column:

PROBLEM

STUDENT 1

STUDENT 2

STUDENT 3
 

A cold

 

 

 

Inability to sleep

 

 

 

Hiccups (USA)
Hiccoughs (UK)

 

 

 

Bad breath

 

 

 

B.O. (body odor)

 

 

 

Tired eyes

 

 

 

A hangover

 

 

 

Inability to remember English vocabulary

 

 

 

  • Change partners and show each other your findings.
  • Discuss your findings and agree on the best idea for each problem.
  • Present your ideas to the rest of the class.

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 common cold. Share your findings with your class in the next lesson. Did you all find out similar things?

3. STAYING HEALTHY: Make a poster explaining some simple ways of keeping healthy. Show your posters to your classmates in your next lesson. Did you all find out similar things?

4. OLD WIVES’ TALES: Make a short list of some old wives’ tales from your country. Try to explain their history. Show what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Were your old wives’ tales similar to those found by your partners?

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. F

b. T

c. F

d. F

e. F

f. T

g. T

h. F

SYNONYM MATCH:

a.

old wives’ tale

popular belief

b.

inclement

wintry

c.

scoffed

derided

d.

notion

idea

e.

precautions

preventative measures

f.

prone

susceptible / vulnerable

g.

constriction

tightening

h.

immersed

plunged

i.

susceptible

vulnerable

j.

symptoms

signs


PHRASE MATCH:

a.

people have claimed it to

be an old wives’ tale

b.

wrapping up warm

does help prevent colds

c.

Scientists scoffed for years

at the notion

d.

exposure

to cold weather

e.

the best precautions

for avoiding a cold

f.

cold weather makes us

more prone to illness

g.

reduces our resistance

to infections within the nose

h.

volunteers immersed their bare

feet in bowls of icy water

i.

more susceptible to

catching a cold

j.

their advice to children

to wrap up well in winter

GAP FILL:

Keep warm to avoid colds: scientists

For years people have claimed it to be an old wives’ tale that inclement weather could bring on a cold, but now scientists have found that wrapping up warm does help prevent colds. Scientists scoffed for years at the notion of cold weather bringing on the chills, but researchers from the Common Cold Center at Cardiff University in the U.K will report this week that a major cause of the common cold is simple exposure to cold weather. The center is the world’s only facility dedicated to researching and testing new medicines for the treatment of influenza and colds. The researchers suggest that keeping one’s feet and nose warm reduces the likelihood of catching a cold. They further recommend that the best precautions for avoiding a cold are to wear a warm hat and keep your feet dry.

Dr. Ronald Eccles said cold weather makes us more prone to illness: “Chilling causes a constriction in the blood vessels in the nose, and this reduces our resistance to infections within the nose.” Dr. Eccles and his fellow researchers studied 180 test volunteers, who were split into two groups. Half of the volunteers immersed their bare feet in bowls of icy water for 20 minutes, while the others kept their feet dry. The researchers discovered that the volunteers who plunged their feet into cold water were more susceptible to catching a cold. About 29 percent of them developed cold-like symptoms within five days, compared with only nine percent for those who kept their socks on. Dr. Eccles said: “Mothers can now be confident in their advice to children to wrap up well in winter.”

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Copyright © 2005 by Sean Banville