Should we be faking it? The placebo effect

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Verb + noun (medical) collocations

lesson plan on the placebo effect


This lesson plan on the placebo effect is packed with vocabulary (verb + noun collocations) and speaking activities. Students will also watch a video about using placebos and their pros and cons.

C1 / Advanced75 minStandard LessonUnlimited Plan


The worksheet starts with a vocabulary warm‐up. First, students work in two groups and look at the lists of words they get (the lists includes words such as ailment, painkiller, placebo, surgeon, therapy, etc). They need to check they know all the words and use a dictionary if necessary. They also have to write definitions for each word. After that, make pairs of students from different groups and now they have to take turns to read their definitions and guess their partner’s words.


Before watching the video, students complete a short table about the placebo effect, but they only write down what they know and want to know about it. They will come back to the table after watching the video. In the first video‐based exercise, students complete the sentences by writing one word in each gap. Then, they watch the first part and check their answers. Next, they discuss three questions and check their ideas by watching the second part of the video.


The video contains lots of verb + noun collocations. To practise them, first students match ten verbs to correct nouns. The list includes collocations such as administer a treatment, placate a troubled patient, trigger symptoms, and many more. To show students that the verbs might be used with different nouns than the ones given, they need to brainstorm more nouns. To wrap up the listening comprehension part, students go back to the table from exercise three and discuss what they’ve learnt from the video. Finally, this lesson plan on the placebo effect ends with a speaking game. The object of the game is to use words and phrases from the lesson plan and have a group discussion about the topics unrelated to the vocabulary area. However, students must use the vocab in as natural a way as possible, their sentences must make sense, and they should be grammatically correct.



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Leave a Reply

  1. elkorotun

    Looks cool! It might be of great interest to a lot of students.

    1. Katherine

      Thank you! I hope you’re right I find it an interesting topic, especially these days when there is so much talk about vaccines.

  2. Ann Yantsevich

    Tnank you, Katherine. Finally I found some really good resourses for my advanced students!)

    1. Katherine

      Thanks so much for commenting Ann! I hope it works well with your students. Do let us know. 🙂

  3. treyeckles1

    Thanks for the great lesson!
    My only complaint is that on slide 3, it appears that the same word list (group A) was posted twice and the word list for group B seems to be missing

    1. Stan

      Apologies for that error! We’ve just fixed that link so everything should be fine now.


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