The Reading / Listening - Shaving - Level 1

Scientists have found why razor blades become blunt after use. They found out why blades lose their sharpness. Razors are 50 times harder than hair, but hair damages the edge of a blade. Razor blades are made from steel. They are toughened with carbon. Each time a blade cuts a hair, the hair damages the blade a little. A blade can cut thousands of hairs. This means the life of a razor blade is short. It needs to be replaced often.



The scientists used microscopes to get a close-up view of what happens when a blade cuts a hair. They said a hair made a small chip on the blade. This chip got bigger as it cut more hair. After more shaving, the blade could not cut cleanly. A scientist was interested that, "if you cut something very soft, like human hair, with something very hard, like steel, the hard material would fail." He said this is "an important engineering problem".

Try the same news story at these levels:

    Shaving - Level 0 Shaving - Level 2   or  Shaving - Level 3

Sources
  • http://news.mit.edu/2020/why-shaving-dulls-razors-0806
  • https://science.sciencemag.org/content/369/6504/689
  • https://www.newscientist.com/article/2251202-we-just-figured-out-why-shaving-soft-hair-blunts-steel-razor-blades/


Make sure you try all of the online activities for this reading and listening - There are dictations, multiple choice, drag and drop activities, crosswords, hangman, flash cards, matching activities and a whole lot more. Please enjoy :-)



Phrase Matching

Paragraph 1

  1. why razor blades become
  2. blades lose their
  3. They are toughened with
  4. Each time a blade
  5. the hair damages the blade
  6. A blade can cut thousands
  7. the life of a
  8. It needs to be
  1. a little
  2. razor blade
  3. blunt
  4. replaced often
  5. cuts a hair
  6. sharpness
  7. of hairs
  8. carbon

Paragraph 2

  1. The scientists used
  2. get a close-
  3. what happens when a blade
  4. hair made a small chip
  5. very soft, like human
  6. something very hard,
  7. the hard material would
  8. an important engineering
  1. like steel
  2. cuts a hair
  3. problem
  4. up view
  5. fail
  6. microscopes
  7. on the blade
  8. hair

Listening — Listen and fill in the gaps

Scientists (1) ___________________ razor blades become blunt after use. They found out why (2) ___________________ sharpness. Razors are 50 times (3) ___________________, but hair damages the edge (4) ___________________. Razor blades are made from steel. They are toughened with carbon. Each time a blade cuts a hair, the hair (5) ___________________ a little. A blade can cut thousands of hairs. This means the life of a razor blade is short. It needs to (6) ___________________.

The scientists used microscopes to get a (7) ___________________ what happens when a blade cuts a hair. They said a hair made a (8) ___________________ the blade. This chip got bigger as it (9) ___________________. After more shaving, the blade could (10) ___________________. A scientist was interested that, "if you cut something very soft, (11) ___________________, with something very hard, like steel, the hard (12) ___________________." He said this is "an important engineering problem".

Put a slash (/) where the spaces are

Scientistshavefoundwhyrazorbladesbecomebluntafteruse.Theyfou
ndoutwhybladeslosetheirsharpness.Razorsare50timesharderthanh
air,buthairdamagestheedgeofablade.Razorbladesaremadefromste
el.Theyaretoughenedwithcarbon.Eachtimeabladecutsahair,thehair
damagesthebladealittle.Abladecancutthousandsofhairs.Thismeans
thelifeofarazorbladeisshort.Itneedstobereplacedoften.Thescientists
usedmicroscopestogetaclose-upviewofwhathappenswhenabladec
utsahair.Theysaidahairmadeasmallchipontheblade.Thischipgotbigg
erasitcutmorehair.Aftermoreshaving,thebladecouldnotcutcleanly.A
scientistwasinterestedthat,"ifyoucutsomethingverysoft,likehuman
hair,withsomethingveryhard,likesteel,thehardmaterialwouldfail."H
esaidthisis"animportantengineeringproblem".

Student survey

Write five GOOD questions about this topic 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.

(Please look at page 12 of the PDF to see a photocopiable example of this activity.)

Discussion — Write your own questions

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

(a) ________________

(b) ________________

(c) ________________

(d) ________________

(e) ________________

(f) ________________

(g) ________________

(h) ________________

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

(i) ________________

(j) ________________

(k) ________________

(l) ________________

(m) ________________

(n) ________________

(o) ________________

(p) ________________





Free writing

Write about this topic for 10 minutes. Comment on your partner’s paper.

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Answers

(Please check your answers against the article above.

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