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ESL / EFL Lesson Plan on Handshakes & Longevity - by Sean Banville

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Firm Handshake Means Longer Life (11th September, 2010)


 

Scientists say they have found key clues into how long we will live. One of them is a firm handshake. British researchers believe a strong grip is not just a sign of confidence but also an indicator of longevity. Lead author Dr Rachel Cooper, of University College London, said her study looked into 33 different reports on the strength of handshakes. The research involved more than 50,000 men and women and spanned 40 years. Dr Cooper concluded that those with weaker handshakes were 70 per cent more likely to die earlier than those with the strongest handshakes. She concludes that people with strong grips may have benefited from a happy childhood that included a healthy diet and plenty of exercise.


The new study, published in the British Medical Journal, also found other signs of living a longer life. These 'measures of physical capability' include walking at a faster pace, getting out of a chair quickly, and being able to balance on one leg. The study showed that slow walkers were almost three times likelier to die at a younger age than those who walked briskly. Those who struggled to get up from their armchairs were twice as likely to die earlier than those who sprang out of their chairs. Dr Cooper believes there needs to be more research into the link between physical capability and longevity. “Research that helps people to enjoy a long and healthy life is ever more important to help cater for an ageing population,” she said.


WARM-UPS

1. LONGER LIFE: Walk around the class and talk to other students about longer life. Change partners often. Sit with your first partner(s) and share your findings.

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

 

scientists / clues / firm handshakes / longevity / strength / childhood / diet / exercise / study / physical capability / balance on one leg / slow walkers / armchairs / ageing

Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.

3. CAPABILITIES: What do you think these abilities show? Make imaginary research conclusions. Complete this table with your partner(s). Change partners and share what you wrote. Change and share again. Vote as a class on the best, funniest…

Ability to…

This shows…

It has a big effect on…

eat fast

 

 

type quickly

 

 

remember names

 

 

stand still

 

 

tolerate the cold

 

 

whistle

 

 

4. HANDSHAKES: Students A strongly believe a firm handshake means you will live longer; Students B strongly believe there’s no relation between handshake strength and longevity.  Change partners again and talk about your conversations.

5. MY ABILITIES: Which of these do you most want? Rank them and share your rankings with your partner. Put the best at the top. Change partners and share your rankings again.

  • singing
  • cooking
  • telling jokes
  • cooking
  • playing video games
  • speaking English
  • public speaking
  • painting

6. LONGEVITY: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word ‘longevity’. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Read the headline. Guess if  a-h  below are true (T) or false (F).

a.

Researchers believe people with a strong handshake live longer.

T / F

b.

The research is based on the findings of 33 different studies.

T / F

c.

The research looked at 5,000 people over a time span of 40 years.

T / F

d.

One conclusion is people with weak handshakes live 17% shorter lives.

T / F

e.

A study said the ability to balance on one leg means a longer life.

T / F

f.

The study said those who walked slowly were more likely to die earlier.

T / F

g.

A doctor said there is now more than enough research on this matter.

T / F

h.

The doctor said research was essential to help children.

T / F

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

1.

key

a.

probable

2

firm

b.

quickly

3.

indicator

c.

speed

4.

likely

d.

strong

5.

plenty

e.

essential

6.

measures

f.

jumped

7.

pace

g.

tests

8.

briskly

h.

sign

9.

sprang

i.

provide

10.

cater

j.

a lot of

3. PHRASE MATCH:  (Sometimes more than one choice is possible.)

1.

Scientists say they have found key

a.

to die earlier

2

a strong grip is not just

b.

pace

3.

an indicator of

c.

clues

4.

70 per cent more likely

d.

of exercise

5.

plenty

e.

capability and longevity

6.

walking at a faster

f.

an ageing population

7.

Those who struggled to get up

g.

a sign of confidence

8.

those who sprang

h.

from their armchairs

9.

the link between physical

i.

out of their chairs

10.

help cater for

j.

longevity

 

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words into the gaps in the text.

Scientists say they have found ____________ clues into how long we will live. One of them is a firm handshake. British researchers believe a strong ____________ is not just a sign of ____________ but also an indicator of longevity. Lead author Dr Rachel Cooper, of University College London, said her study looked into 33 different reports on the strength of handshakes. The research ____________ more than 50,000 men and women and spanned 40 years. Dr Cooper concluded that those with ____________ handshakes were 70 per cent more ____________ to die earlier than those with the strongest handshakes. She concludes that people with ____________ grips may have benefited from a happy childhood that included a healthy diet and ____________ of exercise.

 

 

 

likely
involved
grip
plenty
strong
key
weaker
confidence

The new study, published in the British Medical Journal, also found other ____________ of living a longer life. These 'measures of physical capability' include walking at a faster ____________, getting out of a chair quickly, and being able to ____________ on one leg. The study showed that slow walkers were almost three times likelier to die at a younger age than those who walked ____________. Those who struggled to get up from their armchairs were twice as ____________ to die earlier than those who ____________ out of their chairs. Dr Cooper believes there needs to be more research into the ____________ between physical capability and longevity. “Research that helps people to enjoy a long and healthy life is ever more important to help ____________ for an ageing population,” she said.

 

 

link
pace
sprang
signs
briskly
cater
balance
likely

LISTENING – Listen and fill in the gaps

Scientists say they have ___________________ how long we will live. One of them is a firm handshake. British researchers believe a strong grip is not just a sign of confidence but also _____________________. Lead author Dr Rachel Cooper, of University College London, said her study looked into 33 different _____________________ of handshakes. The research involved more than 50,000 men and women ___________________. Dr Cooper concluded that those with weaker handshakes were 70 per cent more likely to die ______________________ strongest handshakes. She concludes that people with strong grips may have benefited from a happy childhood that included a healthy diet _____________________.

The new study, published in the British Medical Journal, also found other _____________________ life. These 'measures of physical capability' include _____________________, getting out of a chair quickly, and being able to balance on one leg. The study showed that slow walkers were almost three times likelier to die at a younger age than ____________________. Those who _____________________ their armchairs were twice as likely to die earlier than those who ___________________ chairs. Dr Cooper believes there needs to be more research into the link between physical capability and longevity. “Research that helps people to enjoy a long and healthy life is ever more important to _____________________ population,” she said.


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

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

firm

handshake

 

 

 

  • 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 activity. 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. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall how they were used in the text:

  • key
  • just
  • looked
  • spanned
  • likely
  • plenty
  • living
  • faster
  • leg
  • twice
  • link
  • cater

STUDENT LONGER LIFE SURVEY

Write five GOOD questions about longer life in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper.

When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

 

STUDENT 1

_____________

STUDENT 2

_____________

STUDENT 3

_____________

Q.1.

 

 

 

 

Q.2.

 

 

 

 

Q.3.

 

 

 

 

Q.4.

 

 

 

 

Q.5.

 

 

 

 

  • Now return to your original partner and share and talk about what you found out. Change partners often.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

LONGER LIFE DISCUSSION

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

a)

What did you think when you read the headline?

b)

What springs to mind when you hear the word ‘longevity’?

c)

Do you worry about longevity?

d)

What do you think about the research in the article?

e)

What does your handshake say about you?

f)

How could it be that a firm handshake is a sign you could live longer?

g)

Do you think you’ll live longer if you now start to put more strength in your handshake?

h)

Why do you think there’d be a link between a happy childhood and the strength of a handshake?

i)

What are the most important things for a long life?

j)

How long do you want to live for and why?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

a)

Did you like reading this article?

b)

Will you now walk faster, get up from your chair more quickly and practice balancing on one leg?

c)

What do you think the signs of long life are?

d)

What problems does an ageing population give society?

e)

Is a longer life a better life?

f)

What could you do if you lived longer?

g)

If we live longer, do you think we should stay at work longer?

h)

What do you think of the possibility of living to be 200 in the future?

i)

Do we have a better life in childhood or old age?

j)

What questions would you like to ask Dr Rachel Cooper?

LANGUAGE – MULTIPLE CHOICE

Scientists say they have found (1) ____ clues into how long we will live. One of them is a firm handshake. British researchers believe a strong (2) ____ is not just a sign of confidence but also an indicator of longevity. Lead author Dr Rachel Cooper, of University College London, said her study looked (3) ____ 33 different reports on the strength of handshakes. The research involved more than 50,000 men and women and (4) ____ 40 years. Dr Cooper concluded that (5) ____ with weaker handshakes were 70 per cent more likely to die earlier than those with the strongest handshakes. She concludes that people with strong grips may have benefited from a happy childhood that included a healthy diet and (6) ____ of exercise.

The new study, published in the British Medical Journal, also found other signs of living a longer life. These 'measures of (7) ____ capability' include walking at a faster pace, getting out of a chair quickly, and being (8) ____ to balance on one leg. The study showed that slow walkers were almost three times (9) ____ to die at a younger age than those who walked briskly. Those who struggled to get up from their armchairs were twice as likely to die earlier than those who (10) ____ out of their chairs. Dr Cooper believes there needs to be more research into the link      (11) ____ physical capability and longevity. “Research that helps people to enjoy a long and healthy life is ever more important to help cater for an (12) ____ population,” she said.

Put the correct words from the table below in the above article.

1.

(a)

keyhole

(b)

keyed

(c)

keys

(d)

key

2.

(a)

grip

(b)

drip

(c)

trip

(d)

strip

3.

(a)

with

(b)

into

(c)

by

(d)

on

4.

(a)

panned

(b)

tanned

(c)

spanned

(d)

canned

5.

(a)

them

(b)

they

(c)

those

(d)

us

6.

(a)

plentiful

(b)

plenty

(c)

plenary

(d)

plenteous

7.

(a)

physique

(b)

physics

(c)

physicality

(d)

physical

8.

(a)

able

(b)

ability

(c)

able-bodied

(d)

abilities

9.

(a)

likely

(b)

likelier

(c)

likelihood

(d)

liking

10.

(a)

sprung

(b)

springs

(c)

springy

(d)

sprang

11.

(a)

from

(b)

among

(c)

between

(d)

amid

12.

(a)

ageing

(b)

ageist

(c)

ageism

(d)

ages

WRITING

Write about longer life for 10 minutes. Correct your partner’s paper.

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

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 out more about handshakes and living a longer life. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. LONGER LIFE: Make a poster about living a longer life. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?

4. HANDSHAKES: Write a magazine article about handshakes. Include imaginary interviews with people who have weak and firm grips.

Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Write down any new words and expressions you hear from your partner(s).

5. LETTER: Write a letter to Dr Rachel Cooper. Ask her three questions about longer life. Give her three suggestions why handshakes and longevity might be linked. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a.

T

b.

T

c.

F

d.

F

e.

T

f.

T

g.

F

h.

F

SYNONYM MATCH:

1.

key

a.

essential

2

firm

b.

strong

3.

indicator

c.

sign

4.

likely

d.

probable

5.

plenty

e.

a lot of

6.

measures

f.

tests

7.

pace

g.

speed

8.

briskly

h.

quickly

9.

sprang

i.

jumped

10.

cater

j.

provide

PHRASE MATCH:

1.

Scientists say they have found key

a.

clues

2

a strong grip is not just

b.

a sign of confidence

3.

an indicator of

c.

longevity

4.

70 per cent more likely

d.

to die earlier

5.

plenty

e.

of exercise

6.

walking at a faster

f.

pace

7.

Those who struggled to get up

g.

out of their chairs

8.

those who sprang

h.

from their armchairs

9.

the link between physical

i.

capability and longevity

10.

help cater for

j.

an ageing population

GAP FILL:

Firm handshake means longer life

Scientists say they have found key clues into how long we will live. One of them is a firm handshake. British researchers believe a strong grip is not just a sign of confidence but also an indicator of longevity. Lead author Dr Rachel Cooper, of University College London, said her study looked into 33 different reports on the strength of handshakes. The research involved more than 50,000 men and women and spanned 40 years. Dr Cooper concluded that those with weaker handshakes were 70 per cent more likely to die earlier than those with the strongest handshakes. She concludes that people with strong grips may have benefited from a happy childhood that included a healthy diet and plenty of exercise.

The new study, published in the British Medical Journal, also found other signs of living a longer life. These 'measures of physical capability' include walking at a faster pace, getting out of a chair quickly, and being able to balance on one leg. The study showed that slow walkers were almost three times likelier to die at a younger age than those who walked briskly. Those who struggled to get up from their armchairs were twice as likely to die earlier than those who sprang out of their chairs. Dr Cooper believes there needs to be more research into the link between physical capability and longevity. “Research that helps people to enjoy a long and healthy life is ever more important to help cater for an ageing population,” she said.

LANGUAGE WORK

1 - d

2 - a

3 - b

4 - c

5 - c

6 - b

7 - d

8 - a

9 - b

10 - d

11 - c

12 - a

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