Cody Valdes Cody Valdes

TP2a -- Gender gaps in the brain -- Valdes 5-30
B2 - Upper Intermediate level


In this lesson, ss practice scan reading for specific information and reading for comprehension using authentic text about gender differences in the human brain. Ss also have the opportunity to formulate opinions about the topic. First, they discuss whether they think men and women are better or worse at certain tasks and whether there are certain differences in their brain function. They then transition from opining to reading, ending with a sub-skill exercise on extracting meaning of new words from context. Ss follow the reading with another discussion about personal questions related to topic.


Abc M4 - Explain the difference + Guess Meaning from Context
Abc M1 - Men or Women Better? exercise
Abc M2 - True or False statements
Abc M3 - "Gender gaps on the brain" reading
Abc M5 - Personal discussions

Main Aims

  • To provide scanning and comprehension reading practice using authentic text about gender differences in the brain

Subsidiary Aims

  • To provide practice voicing opinions and to consolidate vocabulary related to brains and common ambiguous phrases


Lead-in (2-3 minutes) • To activate schemata about male/female differences

Wb has pictures of men & women doing different activities (5-6) when lesson starts. Going through them one by one, ask ss to answer on your cue all at once whether men or women are better. Move quickly through activities, then go back and ask for a few opinions why.

Pre-Reading M v W Discussions (3-5 minutes) • To let ss formulate opinions about male/female comparative aptitudes and stereotypes as primer for reading

Pre-check that ss know the male and female symbols using wb. Give ss M1 exercise including page of 6 activities, small male + female symbols, and glue sticks. Working in threes, have them debate then decide whether men or women are better at each activity by gluing a symbol next to the activity. Let them add notes to page if needed to add nuance to their opinion beyond simple "men are better at cooking," for e.g. When done, have groups exchange and compare pages. Take w/c FB, suggesting nuance if needed (e.g., home-cooking for family vs. chef in restaurant vs. young single person cooking for self)

Pre-teach Vocab (5-7 minutes) • To pre-teach vocabulary essential to understanding reading

Tell ss they'll read about men and women's brains next, but first we'll deal with some new words. Elicit following words: the latter, efficient, absorb, spatial, muscles, womb, toddler, barrier, ancestors, stereotypical. Model, drill chorally & individually, and highlight on w/b trickier items. Follow ECWD model.

Pre-Reading M v W Discussions #2 - True or False (4-5 minutes) • To activate schemata about male/female differences and practice speaking about them

Four statements are posted on wall near each other. Have all ss get up and look at statements evaluating whether they are True or False. Let ss discuss at wall among themselves. Sitting them down, take FB and EC as needed. Tell ss they'll find the answers in the reading.

Reading (18-20 minutes) • To read and practice three subskills: scanning to answer specific questions; close reading for comprehension; and using context to learn lexis

Give ss text and specific task of answering the T/F q's posted on the walls in previous stages. Set time-limit to stimulate scan reading. Have ss compare answers with peers. --- Then ss do deeper reading. Give ss ex 3 on M4 Explain the Difference and have them read again and find answers. Let them jot notes of answers on page. Ss read alone first, then check answers with peers. Go through q's w/c, calling on ss for ~75% of a's and confirming with w/c, and dealing w/ any questions. --- Finally ss practice gleaning meaning of lexis from context. Demo how, using last question (h) from ex 4. Ask ss what they think 'ancestors' means - generally and in this instance - and how they could guess from context. (We choose 'ancestors' b/c ss probably know its conventional meaning already, letting them start to see its idiomatic/metaphorical usage here). Then have ss work in pairs to guess meaning of lexis items a-g from reading. Check answers w/c, addressing questions as needed.

Reflection & Discussion (7-8 minutes) • To let students reflect on reading and discuss personal questions related to content

Arrange w/c in horseshoe without desks. Ask ss if they were surprised by anything they read, what they thought was interesting, etc. Then get ss to discuss ex 5 personal questions in small groups. Then return to wc for FB ('did your thoughts change after the reading?') and EC from lesson.

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