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The DNA Journey

Posted on June 21, 2016 by kierandonaghy

dna-journey-film-english

This ELT lesson is designed around a short viral video commissioned by Momondo, and the theme of nationalities, ethnic groups, racism and DNA. In this lesson students watch a short video, make predictions, and speak about nationalities, ethnic groups, racism and genetics.

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Language level: Intermediate (B1) – Upper Intermediate (B2)

Learner type: Teens and adults

Time: 90 minutes

Activity: Watching a short video, making predictions, and speaking

Topic: DNA, racism, nationalities and ethnic groups

Language: Language connected to nationalities, ethnic groups and genetics, will and going to

Materials: Short video

Downloadable materials: dna journey lesson instructions

 

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Step 1

Pair your students and ask them to tell their partner about:

  • their family
  • their family’s nationality and/or ethnic group.

 

Step 2

Ask each student to tell the rest of the class about their partner’s family.

 

Step 3

Tell your students they are going to watch the start of a video in which several people are asked about their national and/or ethnic identity. Tell them that as they watch their task is to answer the following questions about each person:

  • What does he/she say his/her nationality or ethnic group is?
  • Which nationality or ethnic group does the person feel hostile towards?

Show the film and pause at 01:10.

 

Momondo “The DNA Journey” from ArtOfficial Agency CPH on Vimeo

 

Step 4

Ask your students to compare their answers with a partner.

 

Step 5

Play the first part of the video again, this time pausing after each person. Get students to identify the person’s national or ethnic identity, and the nationality or ethnic group he/she feels hostile to.

 

Step 6

Ask your students the following questions:

  • Is there any nationality or ethnic group your nationality feels hostile to?
  • Why do they feel this hostility?

 

Step 7

Write DNA on the board and elicit or explain that it is an abbreviation of deoxyribonucleic acid which is the hereditary material in humans and almost all other organisms, and that nearly every cell in a person’s body has the same DNA.

 

Step 8

Tell your students that the same people they saw in the first part of the video took the DNA Journey in which they gave a sample of their saliva to be tested to see what their DNA told them about their national and ethnic characteristics. Tell them they are going to watch the second part of the video in which the people are told about the test. Ask them to answer the following questions as they watch:

  • How does the person react?
  • What does the person think the result of the DNA test will show?

Show the video until 02:14.

 

Step 9

Get feedback from your students. They will say that the people seem surprised. Some of the people seem certain that the test will show that they are completely French, English, Icelandic etc.

 

Step 10

Put your students into small groups and ask them to make predictions using will or going to about what they think the DNA test result show about the genetic origins of each person.

 

Step 11

Hold a plenary discussion on what the class think the DNA test results will show.

 

Step 12

Show the video until 03:54. Ask the students to say whether their predictions were correct or not.

 

Step 13

Show the third part of the video again and ask the students to answer the following questions:

  • What different nationalities or ethnic groups are shown in each person’s DNA?
  • How does each person react to the news?

 

Step 14

Get your students to discuss each person’s reaction.

 

Step 15

Write on the board what the French woman says:

“I think everybody should have this test.”

Ask your students if they agree with this statement.

 

Step 16

Tell your students that there is a final surprise at the end of the video when the Kurdish woman is given some information. Ask them what they think the information might be. Now show the video from 03:55 and pause at 04:44.

Ask your students to say what the surprise is –  the woman of Kurdish origin has a Turkish cousin in the same room.

 

Step 17

Ask your students how they would describe this revelation, and to imagine how they would feel if they were the man or woman.

 

Step 18

Show the caption at 04:46:

“You have more in common than you think”

Ask your students to discuss the statement.

 

Step 19

Now show the rest of the video until 05:09 and the caption:

“An open world begins with an open mind”

Hold a plenary discussion on this statement.

 

Step 20

Tell your students that the DNA Journey was organized by an online travel company Momondo. They asked 67 people from around the world to take a DNA test to show their origins. Ask your students why they think a travel website might want to do this type of promotion.

Show them the Momondo website and the competition in which:

  • 500 people can win a DNA test kit
  • 17 people can travel to their favourite country found in their DNA
  • 1 person can travel to every country in their DNA

Ask your students if they would consider taking part in the competition. If they are interested show them how they can enter by writing a 250 character or less description of how they would break down boundaries between people by travelling.

 

Homework

Give your students the Momondo The DNA Journey playlist on YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxpbnnGX6raZfTJcdt5_7Ag/playlists

Ask them to choose one of the videos on the playlist, to watch it and report back to the rest of the class in the following lesson.

I hope you enjoy this ESL lesson.

 

Support Film English

Film English remains ad-free and takes many hours a month to research and write, and hundreds of dollars to sustain. If you find any joy or value in it, please consider supporting Film English with a monthly subscription, or by contributing a one-off payment.

Monthly subscription

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12 thoughts on “The DNA Journey

  1. I saw this video on Facebook and I’m so glad you made a lesson out of it. Such a great message. Thanks so much, Kieran!

  2. Great lesson for adv students. I did a follow up exercise where they had to write an essay for the DNA kit and it was perfect for high int adv students.

    Cathleen, anglaisvitefait.com

  3. Dear Kieran,

    This film should be required watching in our post-Brexit world. Thank you for drawing attention to it. I hope I can use it in class when I’m feeling less emotional!

    Jo

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