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10,000 Germ Species In/On Our Body (15th June, 2012)


 

Did you know your body is teeming with an incredible variety of bacterial wildlife? A new study from the Washington University School of Medicine in the USA reports there to be around 10,000 different species of germs living on or in our body. Researcher Dr George Weinstock said: "Our bodies are part of a microbial world." He claims there is hardly a space or area that is not home to some form of bacteria – mostly good ones. However, the report says we all accommodate low levels of harmful microbes that can cause disease or infections. Scientists say these bugs generally do no harm and live together with their friendlier counterparts who help protect our body and keep us in good health.

Dr Weinstock said our bodies were smaller versions of another world: "You can think of our ecosystems like you do rainforests and oceans - very different environments with communities of organisms that possess incredible, rich diversity." He believes that studying the germs within us offer many clues to our health and why we get ill. "It's not possible to understand human health and disease without exploring the massive community of microorganisms we carry around with us," he said. He added: "Knowing which microbes live in various ecological niches in healthy people allows us to better investigate what goes awry in diseases." Weinstock concludes that: "The future of microbiome research is very exciting."

WARM-UPS

1. GERMS: Walk around the class and talk to other students about germs. 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.

 

teeming / variety / wildlife / species / microbial world / bacteria / accommodate / versions / rainforests / ecosystems / diversity / clues / disease / investigate / exciting

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

3. WILDLIFE: Complete this table with your partner(s). Change partners and share what you wrote. Change and share again.

Wildlife…

What do you think of it?

What do you want to know about it?

in your skin

 

 

in the ocean

 

 

in space

 

 

in the air

 

 

in our stomachs

 

 

in Africa

 

 

4. BACTERIA: Students A strongly believe studying bacteria is fascinating; Students B strongly believe it isn't.  Change partners again and talk about your conversations.

5. BUGS: Rank these and share your rankings with your partner. Put the bugs you hate most at the top. Change partners and share your rankings again.

  • spiders
  • head lice
  • bacteria
  • bed bugs
  • worms
  • cockroaches
  • mosquitoes
  • fleas

6. SPECIES: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word 'species'. 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.

An article says we can now go on safari to see the wildlife in our body.

T / F

b.

A scientist said there are plenty of areas on our body without bacteria.

T / F

c.

We all carry a small percentage of bacteria that can harm us.

T / F

d.

Good germs and bad germs generally coexist on and in our body.

T / F

e.

The scientist likened our body to the rainforests and oceans.

T / F

f.

The scientist said germs offer few clues as to how healthy we are.

T / F

g.

He said it's impossible to understand human diseases.

T / F

h.

The scientist is excited about the future of bacteria research.

T / F

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

1.

teeming

a.

peers

2

study

b.

enormous

3.

hardly

c.

have

4.

accommodate

d.

report

5.

counterparts

e.

wrong

6.

versions

f.

house

7.

possess

g.

forms

8.

diversity

h.

alive

9.

massive

i.

variety

10.

awry

j.

barely

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

1.

teeming with an incredible variety

a.

another world

2

part of a

b.

in good health

3.

we all accommodate low

c.

clues

4.

these bugs generally do

d.

awry

5.

keep us

e.

microbial world

6.

smaller versions of

f.

of bacterial wildlife

7.

…that possess incredible, rich

g.

microorganisms

8.

offer many

h.

no harm

9.

the massive community of

i.

diversity

10.

what goes

j.

levels of harmful microbes


 


 
 

WHILE READING / LISTENING

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

Did you know your body is (1) ____________ with an incredible variety of bacterial wildlife? A new study from the Washington University School of Medicine in the USA (2) ____________ there to be around 10,000 different species of germs living on or in our body. Researcher Dr George Weinstock said: "Our bodies are part of a (3) ____________ world." He claims there is                     (4) ____________ a space or area that is not home to some     (5) ____________ of bacteria – mostly good ones. However, the report says we all accommodate low levels of (6) ____________ microbes that can cause disease or infections. Scientists say these bugs (7) ____________ do no harm and live together with their friendlier counterparts who help protect our body and               (8) ____________ us in good health.

 

 

 

form
hardly
reports
keep
generally
teeming
harmful
microbial

Dr Weinstock said our bodies were smaller (9) ____________ of another world: "You can think of our ecosystems like you do rainforests and oceans - very different environments with          (10) ____________ of organisms that possess incredible, rich diversity." He believes that studying the germs within us offers many (11) ____________ to our health and why we get ill. "It's not (12) ____________ to understand human health and disease without (13) ____________ the massive community of microorganisms we carry around with us," he said. He added: "Knowing which microbes live in (14) ____________ ecological niches in healthy people allows us to better investigate what goes (15) ____________ in diseases." Weinstock (16) ____________ that: "The future of microbiome research is very exciting."

 

 

various
possible
communities
concludes
exploring
versions
awry
clues

LISTENING – Listen and fill in the gaps

Did you know your body _____________________ incredible variety of bacterial wildlife? A new study from the Washington University School of Medicine in the USA reports _____________________ 10,000 different species of germs living on or in our body. Researcher Dr George Weinstock said: "Our _____________________ a microbial world." He claims there is hardly a space or area that is not home to _____________________ – mostly good ones. However, the report says we all accommodate low levels of harmful microbes that _____________________ or infections. Scientists say these bugs generally do no harm and live together with their friendlier counterparts who help protect our body _____________________ good health.

Dr Weinstock said our bodies _____________________ of another world: "You can think of our ecosystems like you do rainforests and oceans - very different environments with communities of _____________________ incredible, rich diversity." He believes that studying the germs within us _____________________ our health and why we get ill. "It's not possible to understand human health and disease _____________________ the massive community of microorganisms we carry around with us," he said. He added: "Knowing which microbes live _____________________ niches in healthy people allows us to better investigate what goes awry in diseases." Weinstock concludes that: "The _____________________ research is very exciting."

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionary / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words 'germ' and 'species'.

germ

species

 

 

 

  • 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:

  • incredible
  • around
  • hardly
  • low
  • generally
  • protect
  • versions
  • possess
  • within
  • massive
  • allows
  • interesting

GERMS SURVEY

Write five GOOD questions about germs 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.

GERMS 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 'germ'?

c)

What do you think of there being 10,000 germs on or in us?

d)

Are you happy you cannot see the bacteria?

e)

What do you think of the term "bacterial wildlife"?

f)

Do you really think there's "hardly a space or area that is not home to some form of bacteria"?

g)

Do you worry about germs?

h)

What do you do to avoid spreading germs?

i)

How resistant do you think your body is to germs?

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

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

a)

Did you like reading this article?

b)

What do you know about germs?

c)

Have you ever thought of your body as an ecosystem for bacteria? How does that make you feel?

d)

Do you think studying germs would be an interesting job?

e)

Do you know the names of any germs?

f)

Where do you think germs are in your room?

g)

What do you think of the idea of germ warfare?

h)

What do you think might be exciting about the future of germ research?

i)

What questions would you like to ask Dr George Weinstock?

LANGUAGE – MULTIPLE CHOICE

Did you know your body is teeming with an incredible (1) ____ of bacterial wildlife? A new study from the Washington University School of Medicine in the USA reports (2) ____ to be around 10,000 different species of germs living on or in our body. Researcher Dr George Weinstock said: "Our bodies are part of a microbial world." He claims there is (3) ____ a space or area that is not home to some form of bacteria – mostly good ones. However, the report says we all (4) ____ low levels of harmful microbes that can cause disease or infections. Scientists say these bugs generally do (5) ____ harm and live together with their friendlier counterparts who help protect our body and (6) ____ us in good health.

Dr Weinstock said our bodies were smaller versions of another world: "You can think of our ecosystems (7) ____ you do rainforests and oceans - very different environments with communities of organisms that (8) ____ incredible, rich diversity." He believes that studying the germs within us (9) ____ many clues to our health and why we get ill. "It's not possible to understand human health and disease without (10) ____ the massive community of microorganisms we carry around with us," he said. He added: "Knowing which microbes live in various ecological (11) ____ in healthy people allows us to better investigate what goes  (12) ____ in diseases." Weinstock concludes that: "The future of microbiome research is very exciting."

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

1.

(a)

varies

(b)

various

(c)

varicose

(d)

variety

2.

(a)

there

(b)

them

(c)

their

(d)

they

3.

(a)

correctly

(b)

hardly

(c)

sadly

(d)

easily

4.

(a)

live

(b)

room

(c)

accommodate

(d)

home

5.

(a)

non

(b)

never

(c)

no

(d)

nor

6.

(a)

stay

(b)

keep

(c)

give

(d)

take

7.

(a)

alike

(b)

likely

(c)

likelihood

(d)

like

8.

(a)

possess

(b)

position

(c)

positive

(d)

postulate

9.

(a)

commands

(b)

offers

(c)

requests

(d)

orders

10.

(a)

exploratory

(b)

explore

(c)

exploration

(d)

exploring

11.

(a)

quiches

(b)

clichés

(c)

niches

(d)

riches

12.

(a)

awry

(b)

sway

(c)

pry

(d)

awash

WRITING

Write about germs 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 germs. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. GERMS: Make a poster about germs. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?

4. ECOSYSTEM: Write a magazine article about the ecosystem in our body. Include imaginary interviews with a germ scientist and a germ.

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 germ expert. Ask him/her three questions about germs. Give him/her three of your opinions on them. 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.

T

d.

T

e.

T

f.

F

g.

F

h.

T

SYNONYM MATCH:

1.

teeming

a.

alive

2

study

b.

report

3.

hardly

c.

barely

4.

accommodate

d.

house

5.

counterparts

e.

peers

6.

versions

f.

forms

7.

possess

g.

have

8.

diversity

h.

variety

9.

massive

i.

enormous

10.

awry

j.

wrong

PHRASE MATCH:

1.

teeming with an incredible variety

a.

of bacterial wildlife

2

part of a

b.

microbial world

3.

we all accommodate low

c.

levels of harmful microbes

4.

these bugs generally do

d.

no harm

5.

keep us

e.

in good health

6.

smaller versions of

f.

another world

7.

…that possess incredible, rich

g.

diversity

8.

offer many

h.

clues

9.

the massive community of

i.

microorganisms

10.

what goes

j.

awry

GAP FILL:

10,000 germ species in/on our body

Did you know your body is (1) teeming with an incredible variety of bacterial wildlife? A new study from the Washington University School of Medicine in the USA (2) reports there to be around 10,000 different species of germs living on or in our body. Researcher Dr George Weinstock said: "Our bodies are part of a (3) microbial world." He claims there is (4) hardly a space or area that is not home to some (5) form of bacteria – mostly good ones. However, the report says we all accommodate low levels of (6) harmful microbes that can cause disease or infections. Scientists say these bugs (7) generally do no harm and live together with their friendlier counterparts who help protect our body and (8) keep us in good health.

Dr Weinstock said our bodies were smaller (9) versions of another world: "You can think of our ecosystems like you do rainforests and oceans - very different environments with (10) communities of organisms that possess incredible, rich diversity." He believes that studying the germs within us offers many (11) clues to our health and why we get ill. "It's not (12) possible to understand human health and disease without (13) exploring the massive community of microorganisms we carry around with us," he said. He added: "Knowing which microbes live in (14) various ecological niches in healthy people allows us to better investigate what goes (15) awry in diseases." Weinstock (16) concludes that: "The future of microbiome research is very exciting."

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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