Understanding Toxicology

ESL news-based lesson plan

Lesson Overview

Have you ever wondered how poisons work?

This lesson plan for ESL students at the intermediate level and above explores specifically toxicology. You can use this ESL lesson plan for a lesson related to English for chemistry, physical sciences, and biology as it explores the role of chemical reactions in our everyday lives and the effects of chemicals on all living organisms.

It focuses on practising essential listening, speaking, collaboration and critical thinking skills. You will need at least 90 minutes to complete this lesson if used as a flipped ESL lesson. However, the lesson can run up to 3 hours ( consider two  90-minute lessons or for university teachers to adjust as needed).



The toxicology lesson video is designed for ESL learners studying the sciences or professionals working in Forensic labs, medical examiner laboratories, crime laboratories, military, government, or private sector facilities, hospitals and universities. In addition, it will help those working in Chemical Industry, Consumer Products, pharmaceuticals and other Industries where Product development, product and safety evaluation, and regulatory compliance are usually done.

While targeting intermediate and upper-intermediate language learners of English, it is highly adaptable as it has been purposely designed to facilitate mixed-levelled classes. 



The core objective of the lesson is to make ESL Learners understand the basics of toxicology and how poisons work. Through this lesson, the ESL Learners can learn about ‘Paracelsus’, who is known as ‘The father of Toxicology’ and his historically stated quote «, Only the dose is the poison.’ 
The lesson further explains how harmful essential chemicals and medicines could be if taken too much. The key role of a toxicologist is to identify the harmful effects caused by chemicals and how many chemicals are required in a human body to keep it safe and healthy. This ESL video lesson on poisons enables them to learn in English about the safe levels of exposure to chemicals and how toxicologists provide safety to those exposed to chemicals.



The video lesson allows the ESL learners to understand science-specific vocabulary expressions & phrases that will help them to explain how chemicals are absorbed in our body, move around and react to specific changes. Vocabulary they will learn includes venom, adverse, dose, toxins and exposure.

Furthermore, they will learn about the different branches of toxicology that are even discussed in the lesson, such as Genetic Toxicology, Reproductive toxicology and Ecotoxicology. Through this lesson, ESL learners will be exposed to this diverse scientific language in detail, with much more to learn.

Language focus activities include:

  • Vocabulary and keyword matching exercises
  • Verb tense gap-fill exercises
  • Connecting words
  • Toxicology case study exercises enable students to reuse and practice language structure and vocabulary learnt throughout the lesson.



Our ESL topic bundle includes a collection of lessons that can offer continuity on a particular theme. The following ten ESL Lessons will provide material for a one-semester course; the stress is placed on helping students master key vocabulary and terminology on the subject matter, which is introduced via authentic texts or short videos, depending on the focus of each lesson.  

ESL Students are encouraged to learn the meaning of new words in context. In addition, language structure is also a key part of each lesson and is directly linked to the lesson’s content.


Lesson Includes

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