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Sunscreen Pill Could Be Available Soon (1st September, 2011)


 

Scientists say they are close to producing a pill that would protect us from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Researchers have located the chemicals coral uses to protect itself and can use these to produce a synthetic sun-shield compound. A sunscreen pill could be available by the year 2016. This is good news for sun-lovers as they would only need to take a pill once a week, instead of slapping sunscreen on every few hours. A sunbather on Sydney’s Bondi Beach welcomed this news, saying: “Bring it on. No more sunscreen. No more sunburn. Now we can stay out in the sun all day long.” However, some scientists warned the pill could be harmful as too much sun protection can lead to vitamin D deficiency, resulting in weak bones.


The research team analysed coral samples from Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to find out how coral can survive under the sun without suffering any damage. They discovered that algae provide the coral with the chemicals it needs to shield itself from UV rays. Lead scientist Dr Paul Long said: "What we have found is that the algae living within the coral makes a compound that we think is transported to the coral, which then modifies it into a sunscreen for the benefit of both the coral and the algae.” He added: “If we can determine how this compound is created and passed on, we could biosynthetically develop it in a laboratory to create a sunscreen for human use.” He said testing on humans could take place in the next two years.


WARM-UPS

1. SUNBURN: Walk around the class and talk to other students about sunburn. 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 / pill / ultraviolet rays / chemicals / coral / sunburn / stay out in the sun / Great Barrier Reef / damage / algae / compound / biosynthetically / laboratory

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

3. PILL: How could pills based on these things help us? Complete this table with your partner(s). Change partners and share what you wrote. Change and share again.

Based on...

Pill name

How it could help us

potatoes

 

 

alcohol

 

 

milk

 

 

diamonds

 

 

cacti

 

 

roses

 

 

4. SYNTHETIC: Students A strongly believe synthetic is better than natural; Students B strongly believe the opposite.  Change partners again and talk about your conversations.

5. PROTECTED: What would you most like to be protected against? Rank these and share your rankings with your partner. Put the one you most like to be protected against at the top. Change partners and share your rankings again.

  • sunburn
  • tiredness
  • headaches
  • forgetfulness
  • bad-hair days
  • wrinkles
  • a broken heart
  • fear

6. SUN: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word ‘sun’. 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.

Pills to protect against sunscreen will be on pharmacy shelves in 2012.

T / F

b.

Scientists are studying how coral protects itself against the sun.

T / F

c.

Sun-lovers would need to take a sunscreen pill every few hours.

T / F

d.

The pills could result in a shortage of vitamin D in our bodies.

T / F

e.

Scientists studied coral in the Caribbean and Red Sea.

T / F

f.

Coral uses algae to shield the sun’s harmful rays.

T / F

g.

The sunscreen the coral produces has no benefit for algae.

T / F

h.

Scientists could test the sunscreen on humans within two years.

T / F

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

1.

producing

a.

shortage

2

harmful

b.

on sale

3.

located

c.

mixture

4.

available

d.

determine

5.

deficiency

e.

damaging

6.

samples

f.

creating

7.

find out

g.

changes

8.

modifies

h.

occur

9.

compound

i.

found

10.

take place

j.

specimens

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

1.

protect us from the sun’s harmful

a.

deficiency

2

chemicals coral uses

b.

shield compound

3.

produce a synthetic sun-

c.

the coral and the algae

4.

slapping

d.

ultraviolet (UV) rays

5.

vitamin D

e.

can survive

6.

find out how coral

f.

this compound is created

7.

the chemicals it needs to

g.

the next two years

8.

for the benefit of both

h.

to protect itself

9.

determine how

i.

sunscreen on

10.

take place in

j.

shield itself

 


 
 

WHILE READING / LISTENING

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

Scientists say they are (1) ____________ to producing a pill that would protect us from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Researchers have (2) ____________ the chemicals coral uses to protect itself and can use these to produce a synthetic sun-shield (3) ____________. A sunscreen pill could be available by the year 2016. This is good news for sun-lovers as they would only need to (4) ____________ a pill once a week, instead of slapping sunscreen on every few hours. A sunbather on Sydney’s Bondi Beach (5) ____________ this news, saying: “Bring it on. No more sunscreen. No more sunburn. Now we can stay out in the sun all day (6) ____________.” However, some scientists warned the pill could be harmful as too much sun protection can (7) ____________ to vitamin D deficiency, resulting in weak (8) ____________.

 

 

 

welcomed
lead
located
take
bones
close
long
compound

The research team analysed coral (9) ____________ from Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to find out how coral can (10) ____________ under the sun without suffering any damage. They discovered that algae provide the coral with the chemicals it needs to (11) ____________ itself from UV rays. Lead scientist Dr Paul Long said: "What we have found is that the algae living within the coral makes a (12) ____________ that we think is transported to the coral, which then (13) ____________ it into a sunscreen for the benefit of both the coral and the algae.” He added: “If we can (14) ____________ how this compound is created and passed on, we could biosynthetically develop it in a laboratory to (15) ____________ a sunscreen for human use.” He said testing on humans could take (16) ____________ in the next two years.

 

 

compound
create
samples
shield
place
modifies
survive
determine

LISTENING – Listen and fill in the gaps

Scientists say they are close to producing a pill ____________________ from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Researchers have located the chemicals coral ____________________ and can use these to produce a synthetic sun-shield compound. A sunscreen pill could be available by the year 2016. This is good news ____________________ they would only need to take a pill once a week, ____________________ sunscreen on every few hours. A sunbather on Sydney’s Bondi Beach welcomed this news, saying: “Bring it on. No more sunscreen. No more sunburn. Now we can stay out in ____________________.” However, some scientists warned the pill could be harmful as too much sun protection can lead to vitamin D deficiency, ____________________.

The research team analysed coral samples from Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to find out how coral can ____________________ without suffering any damage. They discovered that ____________________ coral with the chemicals it needs to shield itself from UV rays. Lead scientist Dr Paul Long said: "What we have found is that the algae living within the coral makes a ____________________ is transported to the coral, which then modifies it into a sunscreen for the benefit of both the coral and the algae.” He added: “If we can determine how this compound is ____________________ on, we could biosynthetically ______________________ to create a sunscreen for human use.” He said testing on humans ____________________ the next two years.

AFTER READING / LISTENING

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

sun

screen

 

 

 

  • 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:

  • close
  • located
  • good
  • welcomed
  • stay
  • D
  • samples
  • provide
  • lead
  • modifies
  • added
  • next

STUDENT SUNSCREEN PILL SURVEY

Write five GOOD questions about sunscreen pill 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.

SUNSCREEN PILL 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 ‘sunscreen’?

c)

Do you like to sit in the sun?

d)

Why do people want suntans?

e)

Have you ever been sunburnt?

f)

What’s the best thing for sunburn?

g)

How good is this news?

h)

Will you be buying the pills when they become available?

i)

What do you do to avoid harmful UV rays?

j)

Would you agree to be tested?

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

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

a)

Did you like reading this article?

b)

What do you know about the Great Barrier Reef?

c)

What do you know about coral?

d)

What happens if the coral disappears?

e)

Do you think we can end all disease and pain if we unlock nature’s secrets?

f)

What other features of nature would you like scientists to allow us to have?

g)

Do you think synthetic medicines are better than natural ones?

h)

How healthy and unhealthy is the sun?

i)

How do we know if the sunscreen pills are 100% safe?

j)

What questions would you like to ask lead scientist Dr Paul Long?

LANGUAGE – MULTIPLE CHOICE

Scientists say they are (1) ____ to producing a pill that would protect us from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Researchers have located the chemicals coral uses to protect (2) ____ and can use these to produce a synthetic sun-shield compound. A sunscreen pill could (3) ____ available by the year 2016. This is good news for sun-(4) ____ as they would only need to take a pill once a week, instead of slapping sunscreen (5) ____ every few hours. A sunbather on Sydney’s Bondi Beach welcomed this news, saying: “Bring it on. No more sunscreen. No more sunburn. Now we can stay out in the sun all day long.” However, some scientists warned the pill could be harmful as too much sun protection can (6) ____ to vitamin D deficiency, resulting in weak bones.

The research team analysed coral (7) ____ from Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to find out how coral can survive under the sun without suffering any damage. They discovered that algae provide the coral (8) ____ the chemicals it needs to shield itself from UV rays. Lead scientist Dr Paul Long said: "What we have found is that the algae living within the coral makes a compound that we think is (9) ____ to the coral, which then modifies it into a sunscreen for the (10) ____ of both the coral and the algae.” He added: “If we can determine how this compound is created and passed (11) ____, we could biosynthetically develop it in a laboratory to create a sunscreen for human use.” He said testing (12) ____ humans could take place in the next two years.

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

1.

(a)

closing

(b)

closed

(c)

closes

(d)

close

2.

(a)

itself

(b)

them

(c)

us

(d)

everyone

3.

(a)

have

(b)

be

(c)

get

(d)

do

4.

(a)

husbands

(b)

lovers

(c)

partners

(d)

spouses

5.

(a)

by

(b)

on

(c)

to

(d)

at

6.

(a)

result

(b)

lead

(c)

create

(d)

iron

7.

(a)

samples

(b)

ambles

(c)

mumbles

(d)

tramps

8.

(a)

for

(b)

from

(c)

via

(d)

with

9.

(a)

transport

(b)

transports

(c)

transportation

(d)

transported

10.

(a)

beneficial

(b)

benefit

(c)

beneficiary

(d)

benefits

11.

(a)

on

(b)

up

(c)

by

(d)

through

12.

(a)

at

(b)

to

(c)

on

(d)

so

WRITING

Write about sunscreen pill 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 sunscreen and ultraviolet (UV) rays. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. SUNSCREEN PILL: Make a poster about sunscreen pill. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?

4. CORAL: Write a magazine article about coral. Include imaginary interviews with fish that live in it and scientists who study it.

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 a sunscreen expert. Ask him/her three questions about sunscreen. Give him/her three of your opinions on it. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a.

F

b.

F

c.

F

d.

F

e.

F

f.

F

g.

F

h.

F

SYNONYM MATCH:

1.

producing

a.

creating

2

harmful

b.

damaging

3.

located

c.

found

4.

available

d.

on sale

5.

deficiency

e.

shortage

6.

samples

f.

specimens

7.

find out

g.

determine

8.

modifies

h.

changes

9.

compound

i.

mixture

10.

take place

j.

occur

PHRASE MATCH:

1.

protect us from the sun’s harmful

a.

ultraviolet (UV) rays

2

chemicals coral uses

b.

to protect itself

3.

produce a synthetic sun-

c.

shield compound

4.

slapping

d.

sunscreen on

5.

vitamin D

e.

deficiency

6.

find out how coral

f.

can survive

7.

the chemicals it needs to

g.

shield itself

8.

for the benefit of both

h.

the coral and the algae

9.

determine how

i.

this compound is created

10.

take place in

j.

the next two years

GAP FILL:

Sunscreen pill could be available soon

Scientists say they are (1) close to producing a pill that would protect us from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Researchers have (2) located the chemicals coral uses to protect itself and can use these to produce a synthetic sun-shield (3) compound. A sunscreen pill could be available by the year 2016. This is good news for sun-lovers as they would only need to (4) take a pill once a week, instead of slapping sunscreen on every few hours. A sunbather on Sydney’s Bondi Beach (5) welcomed this news, saying: “Bring it on. No more sunscreen. No more sunburn. Now we can stay out in the sun all day (6) long.” However, some scientists warned the pill could be harmful as too much sun protection can (7) lead to vitamin D deficiency, resulting in weak (8) bones.

The research team analysed coral (9) samples from Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to find out how coral can (10) survive under the sun without suffering any damage. They discovered that algae provide the coral with the chemicals it needs to (11) shield itself from UV rays. Lead scientist Dr Paul Long said: "What we have found is that the algae living within the coral makes a (12) compound that we think is transported to the coral, which then (13) modifies it into a sunscreen for the benefit of both the coral and the algae.” He added: “If we can (14) determine how this compound is created and passed on, we could biosynthetically develop it in a laboratory to (15) create a sunscreen for human use.” He said testing on humans could take (16) place in the next two years.

LANGUAGE WORK

1 - d

2 - a

3 - c

4 - b

5 - b

6 - c

7 - a

8 - d

9 -d

10 - b

11 - a

12 - c

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