The Reading / Listening - Shaving - Level 3

Scientists from MIT have discovered why razor blades become blunt after repeated use. They did research into why razor blades lose their sharpness. Razor blades are 50 times harder than the hairs they cut. Even though human hair is 50 times softer than the metal of a razor blade, the hair damages the edge of the blade. Razor blades are made from stainless steel. They are usually coated with tougher materials like hardened carbon. The MIT scientists said that each time a blade cuts a hair, the hair causes tiny amounts of damage. A blade usually cuts thousands of hairs in one shaving session. This means the life of a razor blade is limited and will need to be replaced regularly.



The researchers used powerful microscopes to find out how hair damages a razor blade. They got a close-up view of what happens during a shave when the blade cuts a hair. The blade gets damaged in a variety of ways. One way is that a single hair creates a tiny chip on the edge of a blade. This chip becomes bigger as it cuts more hair. After more shaving, the blade loses its ability to cut cleanly and becomes blunt. A researcher said: "We are metallurgists and want to...make better metals. In this case, it was intriguing that if you cut something very soft, like human hair, with something very hard, like steel, the hard material would fail." He said his team is "aiming to solve an important engineering problem".

Try the same news story at these easier levels:

    Shaving - Level 0 Shaving - Level 1   or  Shaving - Level 2

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 :-)



Warm-ups

1. SHAVING: Students walk around the class and talk to other students about shaving. Change partners often and share your findings.
2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, talk about these topics or words from the article. What will the article say about them? What can you say about these words and your life?
       scientists / razor blades / research / human / hair / steel / carbon / shaving / damage
       microscopes / close-up / variety / chip / edge / metallurgists / intriguing / engineering
Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.
3. NO SHAVING: Students A strongly believe no one should shave; Students B strongly believe the opposite.  Change partners again and talk about your conversations.
4. HAIR: What do you know about these problems? What would you do about them? Complete this table with your partner(s). Change partners often and share what you wrote.

 

What Do You Know?

What Would You Do?

Greasy hair

 

 

Split ends

 

 

Thinning hair

 

 

Greying hair

 

 

Dry hair

 

 

Dandruff

 

 

MY e-BOOK
ESL resource book with copiable worksheets and handouts - 1,000 Ideas and Activities for Language Teachers / English teachers
See a sample

5. BLADE: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word "blade". Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.
6. DAILY HYGIENE: Rank these with your partner. Put the most enjoyable at the top. Change partners often and share your rankings.

  • Shaving
  • Bathing
  • Washing your hair
  • Brushing your teeth
  • Brushing your hair
  • Cutting your nails
  • Cutting your hair
  • Washing your face

 

Vocabulary

    Paragraph 1

      1. blunt a. The flat cutting edge of a knife, razor, saw, or other tool or weapon.
      2. blade b. The outside border of an object, area, or surface.
      3. sharpness c. When something is less sharp and less able to cut.
      4. edge d. Very, very small.
      5. tougher e. Stronger.
      6. tiny f. Having little time to be used.
      7. limited g. How sharp something is.

    Paragraph 2

      8. microscope h. Find an answer to, explanation for, or means of dealing with a problem or mystery.
      9. view i. A small piece of something removed or breaking because of cutting.
      10. variety j. Making people very interested in something.
      11. chip k. An instrument used for looking at very small objects, such as mineral samples or animal or plant cells, usually hundreds of times their real size.
      12. intriguing l. The sight of something.
      13. aiming m. Wanting and trying to do something or reach a goal.
      14. solve n. A number of different things.

 

Before reading / listening

1. TRUE / FALSE: Read the headline. Guess if 1-8 below are true (T) or false (F).

  1. The scientists who did this research are from a school called TIM.     T / F
  2. Razor blades are 500 times harder than human hair.     T / F
  3. Stainless steel razor blades are toughened with carbon.     T / F
  4. The article said a razor blade can cut thousands of hairs when shaving.    T / F
  5. Scientists used a microscope to look at hairs being cut.     T / F
  6. Human hairs cause tiny chips on the edge of razor blades.     T / F
  7. A scientist said he wanted to make softer metals.     T / F
  8. The scientist said blunt razor blades were an engineering problem.     T / F

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

  1. discovered
  2. repeated
  3. damages
  4. tiny
  5. replaced
  6. happens
  7. single
  8. intriguing
  9. solve
  10. problem
  1. harms
  2. work out
  3. changed
  4. continual
  5. interesting
  6. puzzle
  7. found out
  8. solitary
  9. very small
  10. occurs

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

  1. discovered why razor blades become blunt
  2. research into why razor blades lose their
  3. Razor blades are made from
  4. coated with tougher materials
  5. This means the life of a razor blade
  6. The researchers used powerful
  7. They got a close-up
  8. the blade loses its ability
  9. if you cut something
  10. solve an important
  1. like hardened carbon
  2. stainless steel
  3. very soft
  4. view of what happens
  5. to cut cleanly
  6. after repeated use
  7. microscopes
  8. engineering problem
  9. is limited
  10. sharpness

Gap fill

Put these words into the spaces in the paragraph below.
sharpness
materials
metal
regularly
repeated
shaving
edge
tiny

Scientists from MIT have discovered why razor blades become blunt after (1) _____________________ use. They did research into why razor blades lose their (2) _____________________. Razor blades are 50 times harder than the hairs they cut. Even though human hair is 50 times softer than the (3) _____________________ of a razor blade, the hair damages the (4) _____________________ of the blade. Razor blades are made from stainless steel. They are usually coated with tougher (5) _____________________ like hardened carbon. The MIT scientists said that each time a blade cuts a hair, the hair causes (6) _____________________ amounts of damage. A blade usually cuts thousands of hairs in one (7) _____________________ session. This means the life of a razor blade is limited and will need to be replaced (8) _____________________.

Put these words into the spaces in the paragraph below.
variety
cleanly
powerful
solve
edge
hard
view
case

The researchers used (9) _____________________ microscopes to find out how hair damages a razor blade. They got a close-up (10) _____________________ of what happens during a shave when the blade cuts a hair. The blade gets damaged in a (11) _____________________ of ways. One way is that a single hair creates a tiny chip on the (12) _____________________ of a blade. This chip becomes bigger as it cuts more hair. After more shaving, the blade loses its ability to cut (13) _____________________ and becomes blunt. A researcher said: "We are metallurgists and want to...make better metals. In this (14) _____________________, it was intriguing that if you cut something very soft, like human hair, with something very hard, like steel, the (15) _____________________ material would fail." He said his team is "aiming to (16) _____________________ an important engineering problem".

Listening — Guess the answers. Listen to check.

1) Scientists from MIT have discovered why razor blades become blunt ______
     a.  after repeated used
     b.  after repeat it use
     c.  after repeated use
     d.  after repeat it used
2)  They did research into why razor blades ______
     a.  lose them sharpness
     b.  lose their sharp nest
     c.  lose them sharp nest
     d.  lose their sharpness
3)  50 times softer than the metal of a razor blade, the hair damages the ______ blade
     a.  ledge of the
     b.  edge of the
     c.  verge of the
     d.  hedge of the
4)  They are usually coated with tougher materials ______
     a.  likes hardened carbon
     b.  liked hardened carbon
     c.  likely hardened carbon
     d.  like hardened carbon
5)  the life of a razor blade is limited and will need to ______
     a.  be replace regular
     b.  be replaced regularly
     c.  been replaced regularly
     d.  been replace regular

6)  They got a close-up view of what happens ______
     a.  during the shave
     b.  during a shave
     c.  during all shave
     d.  during shave
7)  The blade gets damaged in a ______
     a.  variety off ways
     b.  variety of way
     c.  variety of ways
     d.  variety of weighs
8)  After more shaving, the blade loses its ability ______
     a.  to cut clean
     b.  to cut cleanly
     c.  two cut clean
     d.  two cuts cleanly
9)  A researcher said we are metallurgists and want to ______
     a.  make better met tails
     b.  make better nettles
     c.  make better metallic
     d.  make better metals
10)  He said his team is aiming to solve an important ______
     a.  engineer in problem
     b.  engineering probe them
     c.  engineering problem
     d.  engineer ring problem

Listening — Listen and fill in the gaps

Scientists from MIT have discovered why razor (1) ____________________ after repeated use. They did research into why razor blades (2) ____________________. Razor blades are 50 times harder than the hairs they cut. Even (3) ____________________ is 50 times softer than the metal of a razor blade, the hair damages (4) ____________________ the blade. Razor blades are made from stainless steel. They are usually coated with tougher materials like hardened carbon. The MIT scientists said that each time a blade cuts a hair, the hair causes (5) ____________________ damage. A blade usually cuts thousands of hairs in one shaving session. This means the life of a razor blade (6) ____________________ will need to be replaced regularly.

The researchers used powerful microscopes to find out how hair damages a razor blade. They got (7) ____________________ of what happens during a shave when the blade cuts a hair. The blade gets damaged (8) ____________________ of ways. One way is that a single hair creates a tiny chip on the edge of a blade. This chip becomes bigger as it cuts more hair. After more shaving, the blade loses (9) ____________________ cut cleanly and becomes blunt. A researcher said: "We are metallurgists and want to...make better metals. (10) ____________________, it was intriguing that if you cut something very soft, like human hair, with something very hard, like steel, (11) ____________________ would fail." He said his team is "(12) ____________________ an important engineering problem".

Comprehension questions

  1. Where are the scientists from?
  2. How much harder are razor blades than human hair?
  3. What are razor blades made from?
  4. What are razor blades hardened with?
  5. How often did the article say razor blades needed to be replaced?
  6. What did scientists use to look at a blade cutting a hair?
  7. What does cutting hair create on the edge of a blade?
  8. What does a blade lose its ability to do after a lot of shaving?
  9. What do metallurgists want to create?
  10. What problem does the team want to solve?




Multiple choice quiz

1) Where are the scientists from?
a) Yale
b) MIT
c) UCLA
d) NYU
2) How much harder are razor blades than human hair?
a) 5,000 times
b) 500 times
c) 150 times
d) 50 times
3) What are razor blades made from?
a) tin
b) silicon
c) stainless steel
d) iron
4) What are razor blades hardened with?
a) carbon
b) oil
c) plastic
d) diamonds
5) How often did the article say razor blades needed to be replaced?
a) weekly
b) regularly
c) once in a blue moon
d) every now and then

6) What did scientists use to look at a blade cutting a hair?
a) a microscope
b) a magnifying glass
c) a periscope
d) binoculars
7) What does cutting hair create on the edge of a blade?
a) wafers
b) crisps
c) chips
d) nuggets
8) What does a blade lose its ability to do after a lot of shaving?
a) to cut cleanly
b) to shine
c) to handle foam
d) to rust
9) What do metallurgists want to create?
a) a new shaving gel
b) stronger hair
c) easy-to-cut hair
d) better metals

10) What problem does the team want to solve?
a) rust
b) baldness
c) an engineering problem
d) greasy hair

Role play

Role  A – Shaving
You think shaving is the most enjoyable activity. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their activities. Also, tell the others which is the worst of these (and why): brushing your teeth, cutting your nails or washing your hair.

Role  B – Brushing Your Teeth
You think brushing your teeth is the most enjoyable activity. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their activities. Also, tell the others which is the worst of these (and why): shaving, cutting your nails or washing your hair.

Role  C – Cutting Your Nails
You think cutting your nails is the most enjoyable activity. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their activities. Also, tell the others which is the worst of these (and why): brushing your teeth, shaving or washing your hair.

Role  D – Washing Your Hair
You think washing your hair is the most enjoyable activity. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their activities. Also, tell the others which is the worst of these (and why): brushing your teeth, cutting your nails or shaving.

After reading / listening

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

'shaving'

  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • and 'razor'.

  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • • 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:

    • repeated
    • sharpness
    • though
    • tougher
    • tiny
    • life
    • powerful
    • view
    • single
    • cleanly
    • case
    • solve




    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 - Shaving

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

    1. What did you think when you read the headline?
    2. What images are in your mind when you hear the word 'shaving'?
    3. What do you think of shaving?
    4. What do you think of razors?
    5. Would it be better if we all stopped shaving?
    6. Why do people shave?
    7. Why do razor blades become blunt?
    8. Should scientists make better razor blades?
    9. What do you think of hair?
    10. How important is research into razor-blade sharpness?

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

    1. Did you like reading this article? Why/not?
    2. What do you think of when you hear the word 'razor'?
    3. What do you think about what you read?
    4. Is it better to shave with soap, gel or foam?
    5. What would the scientists see through their powerful microscopes?
    6. What would you like a close-up view of?
    7. Should we be able to sharpen razor blades and reuse them?
    8. What problems are there with shaving?
    9. What is a close shave?
    10. What questions would you like to ask the researchers?

    Discussion — Write your own questions

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

    (a) ________________

    (b) ________________

    (c) ________________

    (d) ________________

    (e) ________________

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

    (f) ________________

    (g) ________________

    (h) ________________

    (i) ________________

    (j) ________________





    Language — Cloze (Gap-fill)

    Scientists from MIT have discovered why razor blades become blunt (1) ____ repeated use. They did research into why razor blades lose their (2) ____. Razor blades are 50 times harder than the hairs they cut. Even (3) ____ human hair is 50 times softer than the metal of a razor blade, the hair damages the edge of the blade. Razor blades are made from stainless steel. They are usually (4) ____ with tougher materials like hardened carbon. The MIT scientists said that each time a blade cuts a hair, the hair causes (5) ____ amounts of damage. A blade usually cuts thousands of hairs in one shaving session. This means the life of a razor blade is (6) ____ and will need to be replaced regularly.

    The researchers used powerful microscopes to find out how hair damages a razor blade. They got a close-up (7) ____ of what happens during a shave when the blade cuts a hair. The blade gets damaged in a (8) ____ of ways. One way is that a single hair creates a tiny chip on the edge of a blade. This chip becomes bigger (9) ____ it cuts more hair. After more shaving, the blade loses (10) ____ ability to cut cleanly and becomes blunt. A researcher said: "We are metallurgists and want to...make better metals. In (11) ____ case, it was intriguing that if you cut something very soft, like human hair, with something very hard, like steel, the hard material would fail." He said his team is "aiming (12) ____ solve an important engineering problem".

    Which of these words go in the above text?

    1. (a)     post     (b)     after     (c)     follow     (d)     then    
    2. (a)     sharpen     (b)     sharply     (c)     sharp     (d)     sharpness    
    3. (a)     through     (b)     though     (c)     thou     (d)     thought    
    4. (a)     jacketed     (b)     clothed     (c)     coated     (d)     worn    
    5. (a)     tiny     (b)     tinted     (c)     tinny     (d)     teeny    
    6. (a)     limited     (b)     incorporated     (c)     public     (d)     private    
    7. (a)     stare     (b)     gaze     (c)     watch     (d)     view    
    8. (a)     variety     (b)     various     (c)     varied     (d)     varied    
    9. (a)     was     (b)     as     (c)     has     (d)     thus    
    10. (a)     their     (b)     them     (c)     its     (d)     what    
    11. (a)     what     (b)     as     (c)     this     (d)     much    
    12. (a)     for     (b)     to     (c)     at     (d)     by

    Spelling

    Paragraph 1

    1. razor blades lose their ehpasrsns
    2. blades are made from aiesnlsst steel
    3. coated with tougher msiartale like hardened carbon
    4. in one shaving ssoiens
    5. the life of a razor blade is itmidle
    6. need to be replaced ryeurglal

    Paragraph 2

    1. The researchers used powerful scocmpoersi
    2. damaged in a erivtya of ways
    3. a tiny chip on the geed of a blade
    4. it was tgigiunrin
    5. very soft, like mhanu hair
    6. lsoev an important engineering problem

    Put the text back together

    (...)  with tougher materials like hardened carbon. The MIT scientists said that each
    (...)  hairs in one shaving session. This means the life of a razor blade is limited and will need to be replaced regularly.
    (...)  steel, the hard material would fail." He said his team is "aiming to solve an important engineering problem".
    (...)  the edge of the blade. Razor blades are made from stainless steel. They are usually coated
    (...)  into why razor blades lose their sharpness. Razor blades are 50 times harder than the hairs they
    (...)  case, it was intriguing that if you cut something very soft, like human hair, with something very hard, like
    (...)  cut. Even though human hair is 50 times softer than the metal of a razor blade, the hair damages
    (...)  of ways. One way is that a single hair creates a tiny chip on the edge of a blade. This chip becomes
    (...)  view of what happens during a shave when the blade cuts a hair. The blade gets damaged in a variety
    (...)  The researchers used powerful microscopes to find out how hair damages a razor blade. They got a close-up
    (...)  bigger as it cuts more hair. After more shaving, the blade loses its ability to cut cleanly and becomes
    (...)  blunt. A researcher said: "We are metallurgists and want to...make better metals. In this
    (...)  time a blade cuts a hair, the hair causes tiny amounts of damage. A blade usually cuts thousands of
    1  ) Scientists from MIT have discovered why razor blades become blunt after repeated use. They did research

    Put the words in the right order

    1. blunt   razor   repeated   Why   blades   after   become   use   .
    2. why   Research   into   lose   sharpness   .   blades   their   razor
    3. hairs   .   50   than   harder   blades   times   are   Razor
    4. edge   of   the   The   the   damages   hair   blade   .
    5. is   blade   limited   .   life   razor   The   of   a
    6. what   A   a   happens   during   of   shave   .   view
    7. loses   ability   The   its   blade   cut   to   cleanly   .
    8. make   and   We're   metals   .   metallurgists   better   to   want
    9. cut   Intriguing   hair   .   something   you   if   like   soft
    10. engineering   Aiming   solve   to   important   an   problem   .

    Circle the correct word (20 pairs)

    Scientists from MIT have discover / discovered why razor blades become blunt after repeated use. They did / had research into why razor blades lose their sharpness. Razor blades are 50 times / cuts harder than the hairs they cutting / cut. Even though human hair is 50 times softer than the metal of a razor blade, the hair damages the edge / fringe of the blade. Razor blades are made from stainless steal / steel. They are usually coated / jacketed with tougher materials like hardened carbon. The MIT scientists said that each time a blade cuts a hair, the hair causes tinny / tiny amounts of damage. A blade usually cuts thousands of hairs in one / once shaving session. This means the life of a razor blade is limited and will need to be replaced regularly / regularity.

    The researchers used powerful microphones / microscopes to find out how hair damages a razor blade. They got a close-up watch / view of what happens during / while a shave when the blade cuts a hair. The blade gets damaged in a variety / various of ways. One way is that a single / singled hair creates a tiny chip on the edge of a blade. This chip becomes bigger has / as it cuts more hair. After more shaving, the blade loses its able / ability to cut cleanly and becomes blunt. A researcher said: "We are metallurgists and want to...make better metals / meals. In this case, it was intriguing that if you cut something very soft, like human hair, with something very hard, like steel, the hard material would fall / fail." He said his team is "aiming to solve / solution an important engineering problem".

    Talk about the connection between each pair of words in italics, and why the correct word is correct.

    Insert the vowels (a, e, i, o, u)

    S c__ n t_s t s f r_m M I T h_v_ d_s c_v_r_d w h y r_z_r b l_d_s b_c_m_ b l_n t _f t_r r_p__ t_d _s_. T h_y d_d r_s__ r c h _n t_ w h y r_z_r b l_d_s l_s_ t h__ r s h_r p n_s s . R_z_r b l_d_s _r_ 5 0 t_m_s h_r d_r t h_n t h_ h__ r s t h_y c_t . E v_n t h__ g h h_m_n h__ r _s 5 0 t_m_s s_f t_r t h_n t h_ m_t_l _f _ r_z_r b l_d_, t h_ h__ r d_m_g_s t h_ _d g_ _f t h_ b l_d_. R_z_r b l_d_s _r_ m_d_ f r_m s t__ n l_s s s t__ l . T h_y _r_ _s__ l l y c__ t_d w_t h t__ g h_r m_t_r__ l s l_k_ h_r d_n_d c_r b_n . T h_ M I T s c__ n t_s t s s__ d t h_t __ c h t_m_ _ b l_d_ c_t s _ h__ r , t h_ h__ r c__ s_s t_n y _m__ n t s _f d_m_g_. A b l_d_ _s__ l l y c_t s t h__ s_n d s _f h__ r s _n _n_ s h_v_n g s_s s__ n . T h_s m__ n s t h_ l_f_ _f _ r_z_r b l_d_ _s l_m_t_d _n d w_l l n__ d t_ b_ r_p l_c_d r_g_l_r l y .

    T h_ r_s__ r c h_r s _s_d p_w_r f_l m_c r_s c_p_s t_ f_n d __ t h_w h__ r d_m_g_s _ r_z_r b l_d_. T h_y g_t _ c l_s_-_p v__ w _f w h_t h_p p_n s d_r_n g _ s h_v_ w h_n t h_ b l_d_ c_t s _ h__ r . T h_ b l_d_ g_t s d_m_g_d _n _ v_r__ t y _f w_y s . O n_ w_y _s t h_t _ s_n g l_ h__ r c r__ t_s _ t_n y c h_p _n t h_ _d g_ _f _ b l_d_. T h_s c h_p b_c_m_s b_g g_r _s _t c_t s m_r_ h__ r . A f t_r m_r_ s h_v_n g , t h_ b l_d_ l_s_s _t s _b_l_t y t_ c_t c l__ n l y _n d b_c_m_s b l_n t . A r_s__ r c h_r s__ d : " W_ _r_ m_t_l l_r g_s t s _n d w_n t t_. . . m_k_ b_t t_r m_t_l s . I n t h_s c_s_, _t w_s _n t r_g__ n g t h_t _f y__ c_t s_m_t h_n g v_r y s_f t , l_k_ h_m_n h__ r , w_t h s_m_t h_n g v_r y h_r d , l_k_ s t__ l , t h_ h_r d m_t_r__ l w__ l d f__ l . " H_ s__ d h_s t__ m _s "__ m_n g t_ s_l v_ _n _m p_r t_n t _n g_n__ r_n g p r_b l_m " .

    Punctuate the text and add capitals

    scientists from mit have discovered why razor blades become blunt after repeated use they did research into why razor blades lose their sharpness razor blades are 50 times harder than the hairs they cut even though human hair is 50 times softer than the metal of a razor blade the hair damages the edge of the blade razor blades are made from stainless steel they are usually coated with tougher materials like hardened carbon the mit scientists said that each time a blade cuts a hair the hair causes tiny amounts of damage a blade usually cuts thousands of hairs in one shaving session this means the life of a razor blade is limited and will need to be replaced regularly

    the researchers used powerful microscopes to find out how hair damages a razor blade they got a closeup view of what happens during a shave when the blade cuts a hair the blade gets damaged in a variety of ways one way is that a single hair creates a tiny chip on the edge of a blade this chip becomes bigger as it cuts more hair after more shaving the blade loses its ability to cut cleanly and becomes blunt a researcher said we are metallurgists and want to make better metals in this case it was intriguing that if you cut something very soft like human hair with something very hard like steel the hard material would fail he said his team is aiming to solve an important engineering problem

    Put a slash (/) where the spaces are

    ScientistsfromMIThavediscoveredwhyrazorbladesbecomebluntafte
    rrepeateduse.Theydidresearchintowhyrazorbladeslosetheirsharpne
    ss.Razorbladesare50timesharderthanthehairstheycut.Eventhough
    humanhairis50timessofterthanthemetalofarazorblade,thehairdama
    gestheedgeoftheblade.Razorbladesaremadefromstainlesssteel.The
    yareusuallycoatedwithtoughermaterialslikehardenedcarbon.TheMI
    Tscientistssaidthateachtimeabladecutsahair,thehaircausestinyamo
    untsofdamage.Abladeusuallycutsthousandsofhairsinoneshavingses
    sion.Thismeansthelifeofarazorbladeislimitedandwillneedtobereplac
    edregularly.Theresearchersusedpowerfulmicroscopestofindouthow
    hairdamagesarazorblade.Theygotaclose-upviewofwhathappensdu
    ringashavewhenthebladecutsahair.Thebladegetsdamagedinavariet
    yofways.Onewayisthatasinglehaircreatesatinychipontheedgeofabla
    de.Thischipbecomesbiggerasitcutsmorehair.Aftermoreshaving,the
    bladelosesitsabilitytocutcleanlyandbecomesblunt.Aresearchersaid:
    "Wearemetallurgistsandwantto...makebettermetals.Inthiscase,itw
    asintriguingthatifyoucutsomethingverysoft,likehumanhair,withsom
    ethingveryhard,likesteel,thehardmaterialwouldfail."Hesaidhisteam
    is"aimingtosolveanimportantengineeringproblem".

    Free writing

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

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    Academic writing

    Shaving is a total waste of time. Discuss.

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    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 this news story. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.
    3. SHAVING: Make a poster about shaving. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?
    4. NO SHAVING: Write a magazine article about banning shaving. Include imaginary interviews with people who are for and against this.
    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. WHAT HAPPENED NEXT? Write a newspaper article about the next stage in this news story. Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Give each other feedback on your articles.
    6. LETTER: Write a letter to an expert on shaving. Ask him/her three questions about it. Give him/her three of your ideas on shaving. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

    Answers

    (Please look at page 26 of the PDF to see a photocopiable example of this activity.)

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