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News-based English language activities from the global newspaper

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August 2009

Level Advanced Style Individual or group activities

Welcome to the Guardian Weeklys special news-based materials to support learners and teachers of English. Each month, the Guardian Weekly newspaper selects topical news articles that can be used to practise English language skills. The materials are graded for two levels: Advanced and Lower Intermediate. These worksheets can be downloaded free from You can also find more advice for teachers and learners on the site Materials prepared by Janet Hardy-Gould

How dreams of lottery millions can turn deadly

Champagne moment ... but sudden wealth can be harmful  Visual Media 

Before reading
1 The article is about the consequences of winning the lottery. Match these phrases from the text to the definitions. a land the jackpot b get a windfall c overdose on hedonism d binge on something e be down to your last $10 1 spend too much time following a life of pleasure

2 win the biggest money prize in a lottery etc. 3 receive unexpectedly a sum of money 4 have only a small amount of money left 5 eat or drink too much in an uncontrolled way

2 Work with a partner. Answer the questions. a What might be the positive consequences of winning the lottery? b What might be the negative consequences? c Do you know any stories about lottery winners and the consequences of their win? 2 Share your ideas with the class.

News-based English language activities from the global newspaper

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August 2009

How lottery dreams can turn deadly
1 Winning the lottery will make you happier, but your life of luxury might be cut short. Excessive partying, with too much smoking and drinking, may cause long-term health problems for many who land the jackpot, research shows. 2 What economists call a positive income shock leads to better mental health, but it also triggers worse lifestyles. And the bigger the win, the riskier peoples behaviour. 3 Lottery wins might not be good for your physical health because you party too much, said Andrew Clark, of the Paris School of Economics, one of the researchers. Winning big does indeed improve mental health; however, we uncovered counteracting health effects with respect to risky behaviours. Those who win more, smoke more and engage in more social drinking. 4 The study used data on 8,000 people who won big-money prizes in the UK between 1994 and 2005. 5 There are many examples of winners who have overdosed on hedonism. Englishman Phil Kitchen drank himself to death after winning $3m on the national lottery in 1999. At the time, he was an unemployed carpenter. He moved to a $800,000 country house but was soon bingeing on whisky and died in 2002, aged 58. The cause of death was given as self-neglect. 6 When Wayne Thompson won $200,000 through his work syndicate in Bristol in 1999, his drinking became out of control. When he was down to his last $60,000, he came to his senses and checked in to a rehab clinic. 7 Most of the money has gone but it was fun while it lasted, he told a newspaper in 2001. There are more important things than money.

8 Dr Dorothy Rowe, a psychologist and author of The Real Meaning of Money, said a sudden windfall could worsen existing problems. Youve got more money to spend on the things you like, which may be alcohol or cigarettes. When you win a big prize, you dont change as a person. 9 Not all winners succumb to a party lifestyle. According to an Ipsos Mori poll of national lottery winners, 55% said they made a cup of tea when they realised they had won, while 11% opened the champagne. The survey shows many winners consider themselves healthier after their win, with 27% losing weight and 17% playing more sport. Lucy Rock, Observer

self-neglect (noun) not taking care of oneself syndicate (noun) a group of people who join together to do something eg enter the lottery rehab clinic (noun) a place where people go to find a cure for their drink or drugs problem succumb to something (verb) to fail to resist a temptation, illness etc

News-based English language activities from the global newspaper

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August 2009
2 Vocabulary from the article Find words from the first four paragraphs and photo caption to match the definitions. Put verbs in the base form. Find the word that runs down through all the words. a having a lot of money b a sudden surprise c a body of facts or information d that will last over a long period of time e to make something happen suddenly f the study of a subject to find new information aboutit g to enjoy yourself by eating, drinking and dancing a b c d e f g

While reading
1 Read the first three paragraphs. Put yes (Y) or no (N) next to these sentences. Researchers have found that lottery winners a have an improvement in mental health. b usually have better physical health. can get long-term health difficulties. c d drink and smoke less when they win a big prize. e do more drinking as a social activity. 2 Read the rest of the article from paragraph four onwards. In which paragraph can you find the following information? a The story of a man who started drinking but found help for his problem. b The reasons why some winners have difficulties. c The reactions of most lottery winners. d Specific details about the size of the research. e The reflections of a winner on his experience. The story of the final years of a lottery winners f life. 3 Work with a partner. Without looking at the text, what can you remember about each paragraph described in exercise two? Then look back at the article to check your ideas.

After reading

1 Word building. Use the words in brackets to make new words to complete the summary. (research) have found that (a) (nation) lotwinning the (b) (harm) to your tery can be (c) health. It seems that some lottery (win) take part in (d) (excess) partying and a (e) very big win can often lead to riskier (behave) such as heavy (f) drinking and smoking. (psychology) believes One (g) that a large windfall can (h) (exist) (worse) peoples (i) problems because they have more money to spend on the things that they like such as cigarettes and alcohol.

News-based English language activities from the global newspaper

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August 2009

Activity role play

Divide the class into groups A and B. Group A Imagine you have won the lottery. Work alone and make up the following details about your character: age, job, family, social background, health, hobbies, size of lottery win. Group B You are a professional advisor to lottery winners. Work together in a group with other B students and discuss the best advice you could give to a jackpot winner. Students work together in pairs. Student A explains all about their background. Student B listens carefully and then gives specific advice. Then students swap partners but keep the same role. At the end, group A gives feedback to the class what was the best advice they received?

After reading 1 a Researchers b national c harmful d winners e excessive f behaviour(s) g psychologist h worsen i existing 2 a wealth b shock c data d long-term e trigger f research g party. Lottery While reading 1aYbNcYdNeY 2a6b8c9d4e7f5 Before reading 1a2b3c1d5e4