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Article by Sean Banville / Ideas & Activities by David Robinson

Date: Oct 18, 2006
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1,000 IDEAS FOR ESL CLASSES: Breaking News English.com's e-Book

THE ARTICLE

Hair loss to be a thing of the past

A biotechnology company in the UK says it is working on a new technology to help cure an age-old problem – hair loss. Intercytex has developed a robot that will be able to implant cells in areas of the scalp where hair loss has taken place. It seems the fight to treat baldness may at last be won. The company has already tested a procedure whereby hair follicles are taken from the back of the neck, multiplied a thousand-fold under clinical conditions and then re-implanted onto the head. The revolutionary technique is set to bring relief to millions of men and women around the world who are embarrassed, sometimes to the point of suicide, by their hair loss. Gone may be the days of wearing wigs or of brushing hair across the head to hide bald patches.

Intercytex has been awarded a $3.6 million grant from Britain’s government to bring the technology to fruition. Initial tests were conducted on seven men, five of whom are now growing new and healthy hair. Another 20 men are on standby to be guinea pigs. Jonathon Malvern, a balding 26-year-old, says he cannot wait to try the new wonder cure: “I started thinning on top when I was just 19,” he said. He said having a receding hairline has affected his confidence: “I always worry about looking older than I really am and of not finding a partner in life.” He said he had tried several hair replacement treatments but complained they were a waste of time and money: “It’s not just the cost,” he explained, “it’s also the trauma of the surgery being unsuccessful. Having a full head of hair is my dream”.

START

1. DICTATION: The teacher will read to you slowly and clearly the first half of the first paragraph, repeating passages where necessary. Students will write down the speech. The teacher will repeat the passage slowly again.

Self correct your work. Be honest with yourself on the number of errors. Advise the teacher of your total no of errors. Ten are acceptable. Any more is room for improvement! 

2. READING: Get students to read the passage aloud. Swap readers every paragraph.

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

4. HAIR LOSS: Walk around the class - find out:

  • How many people you know who are bald?
  • How do they have their hair?
  • Do they wear a wig?
  • When did that person go bald?
  • Is it hereditary?
  • Have they had or thought about having a transplant?

Find out as much as you can.  When you have finished, find a new partner and share your information.

When you have finished the teacher will select students to discuss your findings!

5. BALD: Stay on your feet! Walk round the class - find as many words as you can associated with the word ‘bald’. When you have finished the teacher will select students to discuss your findings!

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

Biotechnology / robot / men / treatments / partner / guinea pigs / hair / fruition / clinical conditions / suicide / wonder cure / receding hairline / wigs / embarrassed

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

7. QUICK DEBATE: Students A believe bald is beautiful. You don’t worry about losing your hair. Being bald is cool. Students B are more worried. You are horrified at the thought of losing you hair – You would try every “cure” on the market, from wigs to transplants to combing your hair over the bald parts..

Debate this with your partners. Change partners often.

8. SENTENCE STARTERS: With your partner(s), finish these sentence starters. Change partner(s) and talk about the sentences you made.

a)    Bald men should ________________________________________________

b)    Bald women should ______________________________________________

c)    Finding a partner ________________________________________________

d)    “I started thinning on top _________________________________________

e)    A receding hairline ______________________________________________

f)     The trauma ________ ____________________________________________

g)    Hair replacement treatments ______________________________________

h)    Bald patches ___________________________________________________

9. HAIR LOSS: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with hair loss. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.

10. FIVE MINUTES: Select three of the words you chose above. Write a sentence for each. Read them to your partner.

11. DOCTORS SURGERY: Imagine you are at a doctor’s surgery in the waiting room. Every patient is waiting to discuss their baldness with the doctor. You get bored waiting. Talk with the other “patients” in the waiting room/class about how and when you went bald and what you are going to do about it!


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

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

a.

Jonathon Malvern starting balding when he was just 19.

T / F

b.

Gone are the days of wearing wigs or brushing hair across the head

T / F

c.

A biotechnology firm has a $3 million grant to help fight baldness.

T / F

d.

Initial tests were carried out on nine men.

T / F

e.

Hair follicles from the backs of legs are transplanted on the head.

T / F

f.

The British government will bring the technology to fruition.

T / F

g.

Twenty men are on standby to be guinea pigs.

T / F

h.

The new wonder cure will be free.

T / F

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

a.

implant

thin on top

b.

revolutionary

operation

c.

wig

process

d.

guinea pigs

hope

e.

bald

able bodied

f.

worry

toupeé

g.

surgery

volunteers

h.

dream

concern

i.

healthy

insert

j.

procedure

innovative

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

a.

The revolutionary technique

thinning on top

b.

Another 20 men

to hide bald patches

c.

I started

from the back of the neck

d.

Brushing hair across the head

awarded a $3.6 million grant

e.

Hair follicles are taken

developed a robot

f.

Gone may be the days

has affected his confidence

g.

It’s also the trauma

is set to bring relief…

h.

Intercytex has been

are on standby to be guinea pigs

i.

A receding hairline

of the surgery being unsuccessful

j.

Intercytex has

of wearing wigs


GAP FILL: READING

Put the words in the column on the right into the gaps in the text.

Hair loss to be a thing of the past
 

A biotechnology company in the UK says it is working on a new __________ to help cure an age-old problem – _________. Intercytex has developed a ________ that will be able to ________ cells in areas of the scalp where hair loss has taken place. It seems the fight to treat baldness may at last be won. The company has already tested a procedure whereby hair _________ are taken from the back of the neck, multiplied a thousand-fold under clinical conditions and then re-implanted onto the head. The ___________ technique is set to bring relief to millions of men and women around the world who are embarrassed, sometimes to the point of suicide, by their hair loss. Gone may be the days of wearing ________ or of brushing hair across the head to hide ________ patches.

 

 

hair loss

implant

bald

robot

wigs

technology

revolutionary

follicles

Intercytex has been awarded a $3.6 million ________ from Britain’s government to bring the technology to fruition. Initial tests were conducted on seven men, five of whom are now growing new and ________ hair. Another 20 men are on standby to be ___________. Jonathon Malvern, a balding 26-year-old, says he cannot wait to try the new ________ cure: “I started thinning on top when I was just 19,” he said. He said having a __________ hairline has affected his confidence: “I always worry about looking older than I really am and of not finding a ________ in life.” He said he had tried several hair replacement __________ but complained they were a waste of time and money: “It’s not just the cost,” he explained, “it’s also the trauma of the surgery being unsuccessful. Having a full head of hair is my ________”.

 

grant

wonder

healthy

treatments

partner

dream

receding

guinea pigs


LISTENING

Listen and fill in the spaces.

Hair loss to be a thing of the past

A _____________ company in the UK says it is working on a new __________ to help cure an age-old problem – hair loss. Intercytex has developed a robot that will be able to implant cells in areas of the _____________ hair loss has taken place. It seems the fight to treat baldness may at last be won. The company has already __________ procedure whereby hair follicles are taken from the back of the neck, multiplied a thousand-fold under clinical conditions and then re-implanted onto the head. The revolutionary ____________ set to bring relief to millions of men and women around the world who are embarrassed, sometimes to the point of suicide, by their hair loss. Gone may be the days of _____________ of brushing hair across the head to hide bald patches.

Intercytex has been awarded a $3.6 million grant from Britain’s government to bring the _____________ fruition. Initial tests were conducted on seven men, five of whom are now growing new and healthy hair. Another 20 men are on standby to be guinea pigs. _______________, a balding 26-year-old, says he cannot wait to try the new wonder cure: “I started thinning on top when I was just 19,” he said. He said having a receding ___________ affected his confidence: “I _____________ about looking older than I really am and of not finding a partner in life.” He said he had tried several hair replacement treatments but complained they were a waste of time and money: “It’s not _____________,” he explained, “it’s also the trauma of the surgery being unsuccessful. Having a full head of hair _____________”.


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘bald’ and ‘dream (of)’.

  • 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. STUDENT “BALDNESS” SURVEY: In pairs / groups, write down questions about hair loss and life without hair!

  • 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.

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

  • suicide
  • wigs
  • technology
  • confidence
  • robot
  • patches
  • money
  • thinning
  • partner
  • grant
  • treatments
  • guinea pigs

DISCUSSION

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

  1. Did the headline make you want to read the article?
  2. Have you ever made fun of someone who is bald or balding?
  3. Do you think men worry too much about baldness?
  4. What would you think if your hair started falling out?
  5. Would you wear a wig?
  6. Do you know anyone who wears a wig/hairpiece/toupée?
  7. Do you think baldness is attractive in men and women?
  8. What advantages do you think there are of being bald?
  9. What would you say to your son/daughter if he/she was worried about hair loss?
  10. Do you think there’ll ever be a cure for baldness?

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

  1. Did you like reading this article?
  2. What everyday worries do you think bald people might have?
  3. What do you think of celebrities like Elton John spending millions of dollars on hair replacement treatments?
  4. Would you be a guinea pig in the hair replacement tests?
  5. Does baldness make people look older or younger?
  6. Do people of different races / nationalities look better bald?
  7. How many famous bald people do you know and what do you think of them?
  8. How would the world / life be different if everyone was totally bald?
  9. What do you think of your hair / hairstyle
  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?

 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 about the biotechnology company Intercytex. Find out about baldness. Talk about what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. HAIRLOSS ARTICLE: Write a newspaper article about the many different ways to cure baldness. Include (imaginary) interviews with shoppers about their suggestions to cure hair loss. Show your article to your classmates in the next lesson. Talk about which articles you liked best and why.

4. LETTER: Write a letter to Intercytex. Tell them what you think of their new idea to cure baldness. Give them three pieces of advice for people who are thinning on top. Ask them three questions about the new product. Read your letter to your classmates in the next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions. Which letter did you like best and why?


ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. T

b. F

c. F

d. F

e. F

f. T

g. T

h. F

SYNONYM MATCH:

a.

implant

insert

b.

revolutionary

innovative

c.

wig

toupeé

d.

guinea pigs

volunteers

e.

bald

thin on top

f.

worry

concern

g.

surgery

operation

h.

dream

hope

i.

healthy

able bodied

j.

procedure

process

PHRASE MATCH:

a.

The revolutionary technique

is set to bring relief…

b.

Another 20 men

are on standby to be guinea pigs

c.

I started

thinning on top

d.

Brushing hair across the head

to hide bald patches

e.

Hair follicles are taken

from the back of the neck

f.

Gone may be the days

of wearing wigs

g.

It’s also the trauma

of the surgery being unsuccessful

h.

Intercytex has been

awarded a $3.6 million grant

i.

A receding hairline

has affected his confidence

j.

Intercytex has

developed a robot

GAP FILL:

Hair loss to be a thing of the past

A biotechnology company in the UK says it is working on a new technology to help cure an age-old problem – hair loss. Intercytex has developed a robot that will be able to implant cells in areas of the scalp where hair loss has taken place. It seems the fight to treat baldness may at last be won. The company has already tested a procedure whereby hair follicles are taken from the back of the neck, multiplied a thousand-fold under clinical conditions and then re-implanted onto the head. The revolutionary technique is set to bring relief to millions of men and women around the world who are embarrassed, sometimes to the point of suicide, by their hair loss. Gone may be the days of wearing wigs or of brushing hair across the head to hide bald patches.

Intercytex has been awarded a $3.6 million grant from Britain’s government to bring the technology to fruition. Initial tests were conducted on seven men, five of whom are now growing new and healthy hair. Another 20 men are on standby to be guinea pigs. Jonathon Malvern, a balding 26-year-old, says he cannot wait to try the new wonder cure: “I started thinning on top when I was just 19,” he said. He said having a receding hairline has affected his confidence: “I always worry about looking older than I really am and of not finding a partner in life.” He said he had tried several hair replacement treatments but complained they were a waste of time and money: “It’s not just the cost,” he explained, “it’s also the trauma of the surgery being unsuccessful. Having a full head of hair is my dream”.

 

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