“That person who looks just like you is not your twin, but if scientists compared your genomes, they might find a lot in common.” K Golembiewsk, The New York Times, Aug. 23, 2022
ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key
Excerpt: Your Doppelgänger Is Out There and You Probably Share DNA With Them, By Kate Golembiewski, Photographs by François Brunelle, The New York Times, Aug 23,2022
Charlie Chasen and Michael Malone met in Atlanta in 1997, when Mr. Malone served as a guest singer in Mr. Chasen’s band. They quickly became friends, but they didn’t notice what other people around them did: The two men could pass for twins.
Mr. Malone and Mr. Chasen are doppelgängers. They look strikingly similar, but they are not related. Their immediate ancestors aren’t even from the same parts of the world; Mr. Chasen’s forebears hailed from Scotland, while Mr. Malone’s parents are from the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas.
The two friends, along with hundreds of other unrelated look-alikes, participated in a photography project by François Brunelle, a Canadian artist. The picture series, “I’m not a look-alike!,” was inspired by Mr. Brunelle’s discovery of his own look-alike, the English actor Rowan Atkinson. The project has been a hit on social media and other parts of the internet, but it’s also drawn the attention of scientists who study genetic relationships. Dr. Manel Esteller, a researcher at the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute in Barcelona, Spain, had previously studied the physical differences between identical twins, and he wanted to examine the reverse: people who look alike but aren’t related.”
(April 21, 1926 – September 8, 2022)
NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.
Level: Intermediate – Advanced
Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.
Time: Approximately 60 minutes.
Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.
Objective: Students will read and discuss the article with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.
Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer
Directions: Examine the title of the post and of the actual article. Next examine any photos. Write a paragraph describing what you think this article will discuss. A pre-reading organizer may be used.
II. While Reading Activities
Directions: Try to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. You use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.
- The two men could pass for twins.
- Mr. Malone and Mr. Chasen are doppelgängers.
- They are not related.
- Their immediate ancestors aren’t even from the same parts of the world.
- The two friends, along with hundreds of other unrelated look-alikes, participated in a photography project.
- The project has drawn the attention of scientists who study genetic relationships.
- Dr. Esteller and his team recruited 32 pairs of look-alikes.
- These people really look alike because they share important parts of the genome, or the DNA sequence.
- Dr. Esteller is hopeful that the study’s findings will help doctors diagnose illness in the future.
- The study’s findings might one day aid forensic science.
Grammar Focus: Identifying Prepositions
Directions: The following sentences are from the news article. For each sentence choose the correct preposition from the choices listed. Note that not all prepositions listed are in the article.
Some Prepositions: at, as, across, around, by, during, for, from, in, into, of, on, over, off, to, through, up, with, since,
Charlie Chasen and Michael Malone met in Atlanta in 1997, when Mr. Malone served as a guest singer in Mr. Chasen’s band.
Mr. Chasen’s forebears hailed from Scotland, while Mr. Malone’s parents are from the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas.
The two friends, along with hundreds of other unrelated look-alikes, participated in a photography project by François Brunelle, a Canadian artist. The picture series, “’I’m not a look-alike’ was inspired by Mr. Brunelle’s discovery of his own look-alike, the English actor Rowan Atkinson.
Reading Comprehension: Word -Recognition
Directions: Choose the correct word (in bold) to complete the sentences taken from the article. They are to choose from the options presented.
Despite the potential ___of linking people’s___with their ___or their behavior, Mr. Malone and Mr. Chasen said the ___project, and the knowledge that___all might have a secret___out there, was a means of ___people together. The two have remained ___ for 25 years; when Mr. Chasen got___last week, Mr. Malone was the first person he called.
WORD LIST: married, friends, bringing, twin, we, look-alike, DNA, pitfalls, appearances,
III. Post Reading Activities
Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing
Directions: Have students discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards, students share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.
- Have you ever met someone who looked just like you but not related? Did you keep in contact with the person?
- Why do you think “The project has been a hit on social media” ?
- According to Dr. Esteller what might this study be used for in the future ?
- According to Dr. Esteller what other links might people share?
- According to Daphne Martschenko, why should scientists take caution in the area of forensics?
- In what way might this project help people in general?
- List three new ideas that you’ve learned about the topic from the reading, two things that you did not understand in the reading, and one thing you would like to know that the article did not mention. Share your responses with your class.