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Addiction May Be In Our Genes (4th February, 2012)


 

Scientists have discovered that addictions may be hereditary. A team from Britain’s University of Cambridge found that siblings of drug addicts share the same brain abnormalities as their drug-using brothers and sisters. The research team said these abnormal brain structures are linked to poor self-control and drug dependence. The researchers suggest that addiction is in some ways a “disorder of the brain”. This may provide important new ways into helping people with problems of self-control when it comes to addictions. The study sought to find out if drugs changed the “wiring” of the brain or whether the brains of drug addicts were wired differently from birth.


Lead researcher Dr Karen Ersche told the BBC: “It has long been known that not everyone who takes drugs becomes addicted.” She continued: “It shows that drug addiction is not a choice of lifestyle, it is a disorder of the brain and we need to recognise this. These brothers and sisters who don't have addiction problems, what they can tell us is how they overcome these problems, how they manage self-control in their daily life.” Dr Ersche and her colleagues studied 50 pairs of siblings — one with a history of drug addiction and one with no experience of taking drugs. She compared these with 50 healthy people. She concluded: “We need to find out how these non-addicted siblings were able to resist using drugs.”


WARM-UPS

1. ADDICTION: Walk around the class and talk to other students about Addiction. 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.

 

scientists / addictions / hereditary /siblings / abnormalities / self-control / wired / researcher / choice of lifestyle / overcome problems / daily life / taking drugs

Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.
3. ADDICTIONS: Complete this table with your partner(s). Change partners and share what you wrote. Change and share again.

Addicted to…

How bad an addiction?

How to treat it?

drugs

 

 

video games

 

 

shopping

 

 

cigarettes

 

 

stealing

 

 

fast food

 

 

4. CURE: Students A strongly believe there will be a cure for all addictions one day; Students B strongly believe the opposite.  Change partners again and talk about your conversations.
5. HEREDITARY: Rank these in order of what you would like to pass on to your children. Share your rankings with your partner. Put the best at the top. Change partners and share your rankings again.

  • your level of intelligence
  • your height
  • your hair
  • your personality
  • your capacity to love
  • your food dislikes
  • your health
  • your athleticism

6. SIBLINGS: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word ‘siblings’. 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.

Scientists say that many addictions may be hereditary.

T / F

b.

Drug addicts can have the same brain abnormalities as their siblings.

T / F

c.

Abnormal brain structures usually results in better self-control.

T / F

d.

The study may be able to help people control themselves better.

T / F

e.

Everyone who takes drugs becomes addicted in some way.

T / F

f.

A researcher said addiction is a brain disorder and not a choice.

T / F

g.

The researcher said one in fifty of us are drug addicts.

T / F

h.

The doctor knows why some siblings of drug addicts are not addicts.

T / F

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

1.

discovered

a.

get over

2

siblings

b.

give

3.

linked

c.

tried

4.

provide

d.

decision

5.

sought

e.

brothers and sisters

6.

lead

f.

stay away from

7.

choice

g.

found out

8.

overcome

h.

head

9.

colleagues

i.

connected

10.

resist

j.

co-workers

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

1.

Scientists have discovered that addictions

a.

self-control

2

the same brain

b.

these problems

3.

linked to poor

c.

becomes addicted

4.

find out if drugs changed the

d.

may be hereditary

5.

wired differently

e.

drugs

6.

not everyone who takes drugs

f.

abnormalities

7.

drug addiction is not a choice

g.

from birth

8.

how they overcome

h.

of drug addiction

9.

one with a history

i.

“wiring” of the brain

10.

resist using

j.

of lifestyle



 
 

WHILE READING / LISTENING


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


Scientists have discovered that addictions may be (1) ____________. A team from Britain’s University of Cambridge found that (2) ____________ of drug addicts share the same brain abnormalities as their drug-(3) ____________ brothers and sisters. The research team said these abnormal brain structures are linked to (4) ____________ self-control and drug dependence. The researchers suggest that addiction is in some ways a “(5) ____________ of the brain”. This may provide important new ways into helping people with problems of self-control when it (6) ____________ to addictions. The study sought to find out if drugs changed the “(7) ____________” of the brain or whether the brains of drug addicts were wired differently from (8) ____________.

 

 

comes
disorder
using
hereditary
birth
wiring
siblings
poor

Lead researcher Dr Karen Ersche told the BBC: “It has (9) ____________ been known that not everyone who (10) ____________ drugs becomes addicted.” She continued: “It shows that drug addiction is not a (11) ____________ of lifestyle, it is a disorder of the brain and we need to recognise this. These brothers and sisters who don't have addiction problems, what they can tell us is how they (12) ____________ these problems, how they manage self-control in their (13) ____________ life.” Dr Ersche and her colleagues studied 50 (14) ____________ of siblings — one with a history of drug addiction and one with no (15) ____________ of taking drugs. She compared these with 50 healthy people. She concluded: “We need to find out how these non-addicted siblings were able to (16) ____________ using drugs.”

 

 

choice
experience
daily
long
resist
takes
overcome
pairs

LISTENING – Listen and fill in the gaps


Scientists have discovered that addictions ____________________ . A team from Britain’s University of Cambridge found that siblings of drug addicts share the same ____________________ as their drug-using brothers and sisters. The research team said these abnormal brain structures are linked to poor self-control ____________________. The researchers suggest that addiction is in some ways a “____________________”. This may provide important new ways into helping people with problems of self-control when it comes to addictions. The study ____________________ if drugs changed the “wiring” of the brain or whether the brains of drug addicts ____________________ from birth.
Lead researcher Dr Karen Ersche told the BBC: “It has ____________________ not everyone who takes ____________________.” She continued: “It shows that drug addiction is not a ____________________, it is a disorder of the brain and we need to recognise this. These brothers and sisters who don't have addiction problems, what they can tell us is how they ____________________, how they manage self-control in their daily life.” Dr Ersche and her colleagues studied 50 pairs of siblings — one with a history of drug addiction and one with ____________________ taking drugs. She compared these with 50 healthy people. She concluded: “We need to find out how these non-addicted siblings were ____________________ drugs.”

AFTER READING / LISTENING


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

drug

addict
 
 
 

  • 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:

  • discovered
  • share
  • poor
  • ways
  • comes
  • birth
  • long
  • choice
  • tell
  • pairs
  • healthy
  • resist

ADDICTION SURVEY


Write five GOOD questions about addiction 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.

ADDICTION 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 term ‘drug addict’?

c)

Are you addicted to anything (good or bad)?

d)

Why do you think people become addicted to things?

e)

Are all addictions bad?

f)

What do you think about what you read?

g)

What damage does addiction do to society?

h)

How can we help people overcome addictions?

i)

How would you say your brain is “wired”?


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



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

a)

Did you like reading this article?

b)

How does your society treat drug addicts?

c)

Will there be a cure for all addictions one day?

d)

Do you think addiction is a lifestyle choice or that people have no control over their addiction?

e)

Are addicts weak people?

f)

Do you have enough self-control to not become addicted to anything?

g)

What’s the worst thing to become addicted to?

h)

Are there any new addictions?

i)

What questions would you like to ask the researcher Dr Karen Ersche?

LANGUAGE – MULTIPLE CHOICE


Scientists have discovered that addictions may be (1) ____. A team from Britain’s University of Cambridge found that siblings of drug addicts (2) ____ the same brain abnormalities as their drug-using brothers and sisters. The research team said these abnormal brain structures are linked (3) ____ poor self-control and drug dependence. The researchers suggest that addiction is (4) ____ some ways a “disorder of the brain”. This may provide important new ways into helping people with problems of self-control when it (5) ____ to addictions. The study sought to find out if drugs changed the “wiring” of the brain or whether the brains of drug addicts were wired (6) ____ from birth.
Lead researcher Dr Karen Ersche told the BBC: “It has (7) ____ been known that not everyone who takes drugs becomes addicted.” She continued: “It shows that drug addiction is not a choice of lifestyle, it is a disorder of the brain and we        (8) ____ to recognise this. These brothers and sisters who don't have addiction problems, what they can tell us is how they (9) ____ these problems, how they manage self-control in their (10) ____ life.” Dr Ersche and her colleagues studied 50 pairs of siblings — one with a history of drug addiction and one with no experience (11) ____ taking drugs. She compared these with 50 healthy people. She concluded: “We need to find out how these non-addicted siblings were able to resist (12) ____ drugs.”
Put the correct words from the table below in the above article.

1.

(a)

hereditary

(b)

herald

(c)

herded

(d)

heresy

2.

(a)

compare

(b)

share

(c)

repair

(d)

fare

3.

(a)

as

(b)

at

(c)

to

(d)

up

4.

(a)

to

(b)

of

(c)

by

(d)

in

5.

(a)

arrives

(b)

leaves

(c)

goes

(d)

comes

6.

(a)

difference

(b)

differs

(c)

differently

(d)

different

7.

(a)

long

(b)

deep

(c)

wide

(d)

tall

8.

(a)

must

(b)

need

(c)

should

(d)

necessary

9.

(a)

overjoy

(b)

overkill

(c)

overcome

(d)

overplay

10.

(a)

daily

(b)

nightly

(c)

afternoon

(d)

morning

11.

(a)

as

(b)

for

(c)

to

(d)

of

12.

(a)

users

(b)

using

(c)

use of

(d)

uses

WRITING


Write about addiction 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 addiction. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.
3. ADDICTION: Make a poster about drug addiction. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?
4. ADDICTED: Write a magazine article about someone addicted to drugs. Include an imaginary interview with that person.
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 an addiction expert. Ask him/her three questions about addiction. Give him/her three of your opinions on how to overcome them. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a.

T

b.

T

c.

F

d.

T

e.

F

f.

T

g.

F

h.

F

SYNONYM MATCH:

1.

discovered

a.

found out

2

siblings

b.

brothers and sisters

3.

linked

c.

connected

4.

provide

d.

give

5.

sought

e.

tried

6.

lead

f.

head

7.

choice

g.

decision

8.

overcome

h.

get over

9.

colleagues

i.

co-workers

10.

resist

j.

stay away from

PHRASE MATCH:

1.

Scientists have discovered that addictions

a.

may be hereditary

2

the same brain

b.

abnormalities

3.

linked to poor

c.

self-control

4.

find out if drugs changed the

d.

“wiring” of the brain

5.

wired differently

e.

from birth

6.

not everyone who takes drugs

f.

becomes addicted

7.

drug addiction is not a choice

g.

of lifestyle

8.

how they overcome

h.

these problems

9.

one with a history

i.

of drug addiction

10.

resist using

j.

drugs

GAP FILL:

Addiction may be in our genes

Scientists have discovered that addictions may be (1) hereditary. A team from Britain’s University of Cambridge found that (2) siblings of drug addicts share the same brain abnormalities as their drug-(3) using brothers and sisters. The research team said these abnormal brain structures are linked to (4) poor self-control and drug dependence. The researchers suggest that addiction is in some ways a “(5) disorder of the brain”. This may provide important new ways into helping people with problems of self-control when it (6) comes to addictions. The study sought to find out if drugs changed the “(7) wiring” of the brain or whether the brains of drug addicts were wired differently from (8) birth.
Lead researcher Dr Karen Ersche told the BBC: “It has (9) long been known that not everyone who (10) takes drugs becomes addicted.” She continued: “It shows that drug addiction is not a (11) choice of lifestyle, it is a disorder of the brain and we need to recognise this. These brothers and sisters who don't have addiction problems, what they can tell us is how they (12) overcome these problems, how they manage self-control in their (13) daily life.” Dr Ersche and her colleagues studied 50 (14) pairs of siblings — one with a history of drug addiction and one with no (15) experience of taking drugs. She compared these with 50 healthy people. She concluded: “We need to find out how these non-addicted siblings were able to (16) resist using drugs.”
LANGUAGE WORK

1 - a

2 - b

3 - c

4 - d

5 - d

6 - c

7 - a

8 - b

9 - c

10 - a

11 - d

12 - b

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