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My 1,000
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Date: Dec 23, 2007
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Audio: 1:55 - 451KB - 32kbps
Online Test: Recreate the text in this online test.

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

THE ARTICLE

Men funnier than women, says scientist

Men are naturally funnier than women. This is the claim of a UK male professor, Sam Shuster. He conducted research on 400 different people as he unicycled around his town. He observed the reaction of onlookers and discovered that men made more jokes about him than women, and that men’s jokes were more aggressive. He said three-quarters of male “jokers” mocked him and made nasty comments, while most women tended to tease him with a smile. He said: "The difference between the men and women was absolutely remarkable and consistent." Professor Shuster believes the male hormone testosterone is the cause of men being funnier. He found that teenage boys were aggressive in their humor and this aggression changed with older men into a funnier form of joking.


 
 

Earlier research suggests women and men use humour differently. One study said women tend to tell fewer jokes than men and male comedians outnumber female ones. Another showed men look more for a punchline. Men also use people they know as the subject of their jokes, often in a negative way. Married men seem to like hearing and making jokes about mothers-in-law. British comedian John Moloney disagreed with Professor Shuster’s findings. He said that in his 21-year career in comedy, he had never noticed that men were funnier than women. He stated: "The difference is that if a group of women were together and the conversation lulls, they don't automatically start telling jokes, which men do. It then becomes a bit of a competition, but that doesn't mean to say men are funnier."

WARM-UPS

1. COMEDY: Walk around the class and talk to other students about comedy. Change partners often. After you finish, sit with your original partner(s) and share what you found out.

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

 

being funny / people’s reactions / onlookers / aggression / male hormones / comedians / punchlines / mothers-in-law / negativity / comedy / telling jokes

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

3. MEN AND WOMEN: With your partner(s), decide on whether men or women are better at these things. Try to give real-life examples. Change partners and share your findings.

  • telling jokes
  • driving
  • reading a map
  • apologizing
  • organizing a party
  • tidying
  • cooking
  • telling lies

4. JOKES: With your partner(s), discuss which of the items below are the subjects of jokes in your country. Can you tell and explain a joke?

  • husband or wives
  • in-laws
  • people from other countries
  • royalty or national leaders
  • bosses
  • members of the opposite sex
  • sex
  • religion

5. JOKE COMPETITION: Spend one minute thinking about your favourite joke. Tell your joke to the rest of the class. Decide whose joke was funniest. Discuss with your partner(s) the (lack of) humor in each joke.

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

7. QUICK ROLE PLAY: Student A strongly believes that men are funnier than women; Student B believes women are funnier than men.  Change partners often. Change partners again and talk about your roles and conversations.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

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

a.

A scientist has discovered men have funnier faces than women.

T / F

b.

The scientist conducted his research while riding a unicycle.

T / F

c.

The scientist believes male hormones make men funnier.

T / F

d.

He said men become funnier as they get older.

T / F

e.

Research shows there are more male than female comedians.

T / F

f.

Studies suggest men are more interested in a joke’s punch line.

T / F

g.

Men dislike hearing jokes about their wife’s mother.

T / F

h.

Men seem to be more competitive than women at joke telling.

T / F

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

1.

claim

a.

made fun of

2

reaction

b.

quietens

3.

mocked

c.

extraordinary

4.

remarkable

d.

(be) inclined to

5.

aggression

e.

topic

6.

tend to

f.

assertion

7.

subject

g.

hostility

8.

negative

h.

conclusions

9.

findings

i.

response

10.

lulls

j.

bad

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

1.

Men are naturally

a.

nasty comments

2

He observed the reaction

b.

of joking

3.

male “jokers” mocked him and made

c.

about mothers-in-law

4.

the male hormone testosterone is the cause

d.

of onlookers

5.

a funnier form

e.

differently

6.

women and men use humor

f.

funnier than women

7.

male comedians outnumber

g.

a competition

8.

men seem to like hearing and making jokes

h.

female ones

9.

the conversation

i.

of men being funnier

10.

It then becomes a bit of

j.

lulls

WHILE READING / LISTENING

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

Men are naturally funnier than women. This is the ________ of a UK male professor, Sam Shuster. He ________ research on 400 different people as he unicycled around his town. He observed the reaction of ________ and discovered that men made more jokes about him than women, and that men’s jokes were more aggressive. He said three-quarters of male “jokers” ________ him and made nasty ________, while most women tended to tease him with a ________. He said: "The difference between the men and women was absolutely ________ and consistent." Professor Shuster believes the male hormone testosterone is the cause of men being funnier. He found that teenage boys were aggressive in their humor and this aggression changed with older men into a funnier ________ of joking.

 

 

 

remarkable
onlookers
smile
mocked
claim
form
conducted
comments

Earlier research ________ women and men use humor differently. One study said women ________ to tell fewer jokes than men and male comedians outnumber female ones. Another showed men ________ more for a punch line. Men also use people they know as the subject of their jokes, often in a negative ________. Married men seem to like hearing and making jokes about mothers-in-________. British comedian John Moloney disagreed with Professor Shuster’s findings. He said that in his 21-year career in comedy, he had never ________ that men were funnier than women. He stated: "The difference is that if a group of women were together and the conversation ________, they don't automatically start telling jokes, which men do. It then becomes a ________ of a competition, but that doesn't mean to say men are funnier."

 

 

law

bit
way
suggests
look
lulls
noticed
tend

LISTENING:  Listen and fill in the spaces.

Men are naturally funnier than women. This _____________________ UK male professor, Sam Shuster. He conducted research on 400 different people as he unicycled around his town. He observed _____________________ and discovered that men made more jokes _____________________, and that men’s jokes were more aggressive. He said three-quarters of male “jokers” mocked _____________________ comments, while most women tended to tease him with a smile. He said: "The difference between the men and women _____________________ and consistent." Professor Shuster believes the male hormone testosterone _____________________ being funnier. He found that teenage boys were aggressive in their humor and this aggression changed with older _____________________ of joking.

Earlier research suggests women and men _____________________. One study said women _____________________ jokes than men and male comedians outnumber female ones. Another showed men look more for a punch line. Men also use people they _____________________ their jokes, often in a negative way. Married men seem to like hearing and making jokes _____________________. British comedian John Moloney disagreed with Professor Shuster’s findings. He said that in his _____________________, he had never noticed that men were funnier than women. He stated: "The difference is that if a group of women were together _____________________, they don't automatically start telling jokes, which men do. It then becomes a bit of a competition, but _____________________ men are funnier."


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

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

punch

line

 

 

 

 

  • 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 exactly how these were used in the text:

  • naturally
  • observed
  • three-quarters
  • absolutely
  • cause
  • form
  • differently
  • outnumber
  • subject
  • career
  • lulls
  • bit

STUDENT COMEDY SURVEY

Write five GOOD questions about comedy 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.

DISCUSSION

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

a)

What did you think when you read the headline?

b)

What kind of comedy do you like?

c)

Do you think men are funnier than women?

d)

Are your favourite comedians men or women?

e)

What do you think of the unicycling scientist’s research?

f)

Do you think humor is genetic and the male hormone testosterone causes men to be funnier?

g)

What do you think are the differences between male and female humor?

h)

Do you have a good sense of humor?

i)

Are you good at telling jokes?

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

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

a)

Did you like reading this article?

b)

How do you think men and women use humor differently?

c)

Do you really think women tell fewer jokes than men?

d)

Are the subjects of men and women’s jokes different in your country?

e)

Do you understand the humor of other nationalities?

f)

Do you laugh at jokes told in English?

g)

Do you agree that men have a “who can tell the best joke” competition – more so than women?

h)

What questions would you like to ask professor Sam Shuster?

i)

Did you like this discussion?

LANGUAGE

CORRECT WORD: Put the correct words from a–d below in the article.

Men are (1) ____ funnier than women. This is the claim of a UK male professor, Sam Shuster. He conducted research (2) ____ 400 different people as he unicycled around his town. He observed the reaction of onlookers and discovered that men (3) ____ more jokes about him than women, and that men’s jokes were more aggressive. He said three-quarters of male “jokers” mocked him and made nasty comments, while most women (4) ____ to tease him with a smile. He said: "The difference between the men and women was absolutely remarkable and consistent." Professor Shuster believes the (5) ____ hormone testosterone is the cause of men being funnier. He found that teenage boys were aggressive in their humor and this aggression changed with older men into a funnier (6) ____ of joking.

Earlier research suggests women and men (7) ____ humor differently. One study said women tend to (8) ____ fewer jokes than men and male comedians outnumber female ones. Another showed men look more for a punch line. Men also use people they know as the subject of their jokes, often in a negative (9) ____. Married men seem to like hearing and making jokes about mothers-in-law. British comedian John Moloney disagreed with Professor Shuster’s findings. He said that in his 21-year career (10) ____ comedy, he had never noticed that men were funnier than women. He stated: "The difference is that if a group of women were together and the conversation (11) ____, they don't automatically start telling jokes, which men do. It then becomes a (12) ____ of a competition, but that doesn't mean to say men are funnier."

1.

(a)

nature

(b)

natural

(c)

naturally

(d)

naturals

2.

(a)

in

(b)

by

(c)

over

(d)

on

3.

(a)

did

(b)

made

(c)

said

(d)

spoke

4.

(a)

tended

(b)

tending

(c)

tends

(d)

tender

5.

(a)

female

(b)

man

(c)

male

(d)

women’s

6.

(a)

from

(b)

farm

(c)

firm

(d)

form

7.

(a)

use

(b)

useful

(c)

usefully

(d)

usefulness

8.

(a)

say

(b)

tell

(c)

speak

(d)

talk

9.

(a)

way

(b)

ways

(c)

weigh

(d)

way out

10.

(a)

of

(b)

by

(c)

on

(d)

in

11.

(a)

lullabies

(b)

lull

(c)

lulls

(d)

lullaby

12.

(a)

bite

(b)

bit

(c)

bitter

(d)

bitty

WRITING: 

Write about humor 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 more information about different kinds of comedy around the world. Talk about what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. MEN AND WOMEN: Create your own survey about people’s opinions on what they think men and women do better. Make a poster explaining your findings. Show your poster to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all find out similar things?

4. JOKES: Write a magazine article about jokes. Include real interviews with your family, friends and classmates.

Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Write down new words and expressions.

5. LETTER: Write a letter to professor Sam Shuster. Give him three suggestions on what he should do to find out more about whether men or women are funnier. Give him three other research projects that look into differences between men and women. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. F

b. T

c. T

d. T

e. T

f. T

g. F

h. T

SYNONYM MATCH:

1.

claim

a.

assertion

2

reaction

b.

response

3.

mocked

c.

made fun of

4.

remarkable

d.

extraordinary

5.

aggression

e.

hostility

6.

tend to

f.

(be) inclined to

7.

subject

g.

topic

8.

negative

h.

bad

9.

findings

i.

conclusions

10.

lulls

j.

quietens

PHRASE MATCH:

1.

Men are naturally

a.

funnier than women

2

He observed the reaction

b.

of onlookers

3.

male “jokers” mocked him and made

c.

nasty comments

4.

the male hormone testosterone is the cause

d.

of men being funnier

5.

a funnier form

e.

of joking

6.

women and men use humor

f.

differently

7.

male comedians outnumber

g.

female ones

8.

men seem to like hearing and making jokes

h.

about mothers-in-law

9.

the conversation

i.

lulls

10.

It then becomes a bit of

j.

a competition

GAP FILL:

Men funnier than women, says scientist

Men are naturally funnier than women. This is the claim of a UK male professor, Sam Shuster. He conducted research on 400 different people as he unicycled around his town. He observed the reaction of onlookers and discovered that men made more jokes about him than women, and that men’s jokes were more aggressive. He said three-quarters of male “jokers” mocked him and made nasty comments, while most women tended to tease him with a smile. He said: "The difference between the men and women was absolutely remarkable and consistent." Professor Shuster believes the male hormone testosterone is the cause of men being funnier. He found that teenage boys were aggressive in their humor and this aggression changed with older men into a funnier form of joking.

Earlier research suggests women and men use humor differently. One study said women tend to tell fewer jokes than men and male comedians outnumber female ones. Another showed men look more for a punchline. Men use people they know as the subject of their jokes, often in a negative way. Married men seem to like hearing and making jokes about mothers-in-law. British comedian John Moloney disagreed with Professor Shuster’s findings. He said that in his 21-year career in comedy, he had never noticed that men were funnier than women. He stated: "The difference is that if a group of women were together and the conversation lulls, they don't automatically start telling jokes, which men do. It then becomes a bit of a competition, but that doesn't mean to say men are funnier."

LANGUAGE WORK

1 - c

2 -d

3 - b

4 - a

5 - c

6 - d

7 - a

8 - b

9 - a

10 - d

11 - c

12 - b

 

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