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ESL Level: Intermediate
Lesson Topic: Medical myths
Skill Focus
: Speaking, Reading, Vocabulary, Critical thinking
Lesson Plan Download: Medical-Myths-ESL-Intermediate-19082012.doc
Approximate Class Time: 3.5 hours

a lesson on medical myths

Myths about Health ESL Lesson Plan: Warm-up (Pair Work)

1) How is your health? What things do you do to stay healthy?
2) What unhealthy habits do people have nowadays?
3) How do you cure a cold or a hangover?

Myths about Health ESL Lesson Plan: Old Wives’ Tales (Pair Work)

Old wives’ tales are pieces of advice, usually about nutrition or parenting that are passed down from an older mother to a younger one. Such tales are often based on superstition instead of fact. What old wives tales are shared in your country? Make a list with a partner.

Myths about Health ESL Lesson Plan: Myth Matching

The table below contains some commonly held health ideas. First, match the beginning of each sentence to its end. Then decide which you believe and which you do not.

1.     People should drink

2.     Reading in dim light harms

3.     Eating turkey makes

4.     Men think of sex

5.     Cold, wet weather causes

6.     Chocolate causes

7.     Standing on your head cures

8.     Worry and stress can turn

9.     We use only

10. Hair and fingernails continue

11. Shaving hair causes

12. Children who eat a lot of sugar

13. Chewing gum takes

14. Having sex before playing sports

a.     it to grow back faster, darker, or thicker.

b.     10% of our brains.

c.     7 years to pass through your system

d.     hiccups.

e.     your hair gray.

f.      at least eight glasses of water a day.

g.     people drowsy.

h.     your eyesight.

i.       reduces your performance

j.       to grow after death.

k.     become hyperactive

l.       colds and flu.

m.    every seven seconds.

n.    acne.

[Source: http://veslccsf.wetpaint.com/page/Medical+Myths, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_common_misconceptions]

Myths about Health ESL Lesson Plan: Some Answers

Re: Water. Eight glasses or two to three litres of water a day are not needed to maintain health. The amount of water needed varies by person (weight), activity level, clothing, and environment (heat and humidity). Moreover, juice, tea, milk, fruits, and vegetables also contain water, and can supply more than half of the needed water.

Re: Sugar & children. Studies have shown no differences between children given sugar-full or sugar-free diets, even in studies specifically looking at children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or those considered sensitive to sugar.

Re: Chewing gum. Chewing gum is mostly indigestible. But it passes through the digestive system at the same rate as other matter.

Re: 10% brain usage. While it is true that a small minority of neurons in the brain is actively firing at any one time, inactive neurons are important too. This false belief has been around since the start of the 20th century and was attributed to William James, who apparently used the expression metaphorically.

Re: Every 7 seconds. In reality, this has not been measured, and as far as researchers can tell, this statistic greatly exaggerates the frequency of sexual thoughts.

Re: Sex before sports. There is no physiological basis for this belief. Additionally, it has been proven that sex during the 24 hours prior to sports activity can raise the levels of testosterone in males, which potentially could enhance performance.

Re: Shaving hair. Shaving does not cause hair to grow back thicker or darker. This belief is due to hair which has never been cut having a tapered end, whereas after cutting there is no taper; the cut hair appears to be thicker, and feels thicker due to the sharper, unworn edges. The shorter hairs being “harder” (less flexible) than longer hairs also contribute to this effect.

Re: Hair and nails after death. Hair and fingernails do not grow after a person dies. Rather, the skin dries and shrinks from the bases of hairs and nails, giving the appearance of growth.

[Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_common_misconceptions]

Myths about Health ESL Lesson Plan: Vocabulary Matching

Match the words with their meaning as used in the news lesson.

the hiccups
exaggerate (verb)
enhance (verb)
taper (verb)
shrink (verb)
Possible Answers
  • superstition – the belief that events happen for supernatural reasons
  • dim – not bright
  • the hiccups – a sound made in the throat caused by the movement of the diaphragm
  • drowsy – sleepy
  • hyperactive – too active and only about to keep quiet for short periods
  • acne – a skin condition produces pimples
  • metaphor – a thing regarded as representative or symbolic of something
  • exaggerate – stretch the truth; make sth seem bigger/better/worse than it really is
  • enhance – increase the value or quality of sth
  • taper – gradually become narrower
  • shrink – become smaller; move away or back from sth

Myths about Health ESL Lesson Plan: Connect the below idea(s) to make a sentence.

Myths about Health ESL Lesson Plan: Discussion Questions

1)     What’s your opinion of Eastern medicine?

2)     Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Is this a real condition?

3)     What non-medical myths do you know (e.g. about physics, or history)?

Myths about Health ESL lesson plan copyright Matthew Barton of Englishcurrent.com

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