Debate an Environmental Issue
Students will read an article about the sale of tropical fish. Students will analyze the information given and discuss their opinion based on facts from the article.
Grade Level: 6 - 8th
Subject: English/Language Arts, Environmental, Science
Length of Time: 30-40 Minutes
Common Core Alignment
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.7.1 - Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.7.2 - Determine two or more central ideas in a text and analyze their development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.2 - Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; provide an accurate summary of the text distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
Objectives & Outcomes
Students will analyze a controversial environmental topic. Students will compare and contrast different opinions about a controversial topic and make a fact-based opinion about the environmental subject.
- A pencil
- The worksheet “Debate Organizer”
- Article from Time For Kids - “Should Tropical Fish Sales Be Banned?"
Opening to Lesson
- The teacher will lead a conversation about pets.
- Ask students if they have pets, what kind, where they live. Give them time to discuss with partners and then with the class.
- Ask students if they ever learn anything from their pets. Give them time to discuss with partners and then with the class.
- Ask students if they ever wish they could own an exotic animal. Give them time to discuss with partners and with the class.
Body of Lesson
- Pass out the debate worksheet and have students independently answer the question at the top of the worksheet, “Should tropical fish sales be banned” and write their response in the space provided.
- Pass out the article, “Should Tropical Fish Sales Be Banned.”
- Have students read the article silently to themselves while “talking to the text”
- Talking to the text: Have students write directly onto the article any questions that they have and circle any words or phrases that they don’t understand. If they don’t have questions and understand all words, have them write questions and circle words and phrases as if they were a student in the grade below.
- Have students share some of their questions with their partner.
- Discuss the questions that students have come up with.
- In partners or in groups, have students complete the 2 top boxes of the graphic organizer, siting specific examples from their text and any points that their classmates made during the class discussion.
- Partner students and set the timer for 3-5 minutes to interview each other and write the partner’s opinion in the top part of the 3rd box of the graphic organizer.
- Partner students again and set the timer for 3-5 minutes to interview each other and write the partner’s opinion in the bottom part of the 3rd box of the graphic organizer.
- Have students return to their seats and complete the 4th box of the graphic organizer.
Call on students to discuss their opinion. Ask students what the strongest point was that made them believe their opinion. Ask students what the strongest point against their opinion was.
Assessment & Evaluation
Students will be asked to complete a worksheet and defend their position orally.
Modification & Differentiation
The teacher can work with students in small groups for those who need extra assistance.
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