Longevity - Five countries' secrets [55-Minute Lesson]

Written by Orfhlaith Saunders


I. Warm-up

A. Conversation

1. What is longevity? Read a definition here. What do you think is the key to longevity?

2. What are some of the benefits of getting older?

3. What are some of the problems we might face as we get older? 

4. Some people say 'You are as old as you feel'. Do you agree with this statement? Why/ why not?


B. Vocabulary

Directions: Match the following words and expressions (1 - 7) with their definitions below (a - g):


1. a centenarian (n)

2. to have (sth) up one's sleeve (expr.)

3. state-of-the-art (expr.)

4. average (adj)

5. plentiful (adj)

6. wellbeing (n)

7. life expectancy (n)



a. The state of feeling healthy and happy

b. A great amount of something, abundant

c. Someone who has reached the age of one hundred years

d. The length of time that someone is likely to live

e. The latest and most advanced stage of technology, science, or art

f. To have a secret plan or idea

g. A typical amount, rate, or level, which is considered the standard or usual


II. Reading

Directions: Before reading, preview the comprehension questions. After reading, reread the sentences that contain the vocabulary words. Then explain the meanings of the sentences.


A. Text: Five countries where people live the longest

Click here  to read the BBC article written by Lindsey Galloway



B. Comprehension Questions

1. What factors contributing to longevity do all these countries have in common?

2. What is the average life expectancy in each of these countries?

3. One of the most important contributing factors is the diet in these countries. What are the staple foods of these diets?

4. Why is it considered important to socialise in order to live longer? What is the "therapeutic park"?

5. Which of these countries are most well-known for their healthcare systems?


III. Grammar

A. Verbs + preposition 'to'

Some verbs are commonly followed by the preposition 'to'. Here are some examples of these verbs from the text:

talk (to sb) - give (sth to sb) - contribute (to sth) - tend (to do sth) - force (sb to do sth) - go (to a place) - move (to a place) - live (to an age)


Some other verbs commonly followed by 'to' are:

decide: I decided to go for a walk and clear my head. 

forget: Don't forget to bring your wallet this time. 

listen: Are you listening to me?

learn: Here you can learn to express yourself in English more fluently. 

prefer: Would you prefer to play a videogame or watch a film?

remember: Will you remember to tell Paul I called?

want: I want to start eating healthier from now on.  



B. Exercises

Exercise 1. Sentence halves. 

Directions: The following sentences contain examples of the verbs above, taken from the text. Match the first half of each sentence (1 - 5) to the second half (a - e): 

1. We talked to...  a) ... the local diet. 
2. Living to...  b) ... be within walking distance
3. Much credit for this has been given to...  c) ... residents in some of the countries where people live the longest. 
4. When I moved to...  d) ... 83 on average, the Japanese have long had one of the highest life expectancies.
5. Shops and restaurants all tend to...  e) ... Barcelona from Moscow, I noticed that people here favour walking or biking



Exercise 2. Speaking practice

Directions: Answer the following questions using the verbs + 'to' presented above. 

1. What age would you like to live to?

2. How often do you go to restaurants for lunch? 

3. Have you ever moved to another country or city?

4. Do you ever talk to your neighbours?

5. What activities do you tend to do in your free time? 


IV. Vocabulary Review

[In this section, re-type the vocabulary words from the warm-up section. Have your students apply the vocabulary to their lives in some way. Possibilities: Put together collocations, then make sentences; ask open-ended questions; ask students to provide examples; create word families. If possible, include the grammar you just covered in the previous exercise.]








V. Wrap-up

A. Conversation





B. Writing

[A short writing task that students can do for homework and submit when they have their next class. Assure students that they can receive feedback on it at the beginning of their next class. Assignment choices (Choose one from the following or an assignment of your own): Five sentences using the vocabulary and/or grammar, one-paragraph summary or summary and opinion; reflection piece; perspective piece looking at an issue from a certain angle.]

Directions: Using some of the vocabulary and grammar from above, ...


C. Possible lessons for next class

[Here, type in the titles of two LOIEnglish lessons that are related to this lesson in some way, the skill areas they fall under, and their urls. Be sure to set the urls to open in a new window. To do this, highlight 'here' in 'Click here for the lesson.' and click on the chain icon in the menu. After you've opened the pop-up, you'll want to set the target to open in a new window.]

1. Title: [Name of lesson]

    Skill area: 

    Click here for the lesson.


2. Title: [Name of lesson]

    Skill area: 


    Click here for the lesson.


Photo Credits:  

1. Here 6. Here
2. Here 7. Here
3. Here 8. Here
4. Here 9. Here
5. Here 10. Here











Grammar Point: