We often “write into the day” to get our thoughts together. Yesterday, I had my students write an overview of the topic that will be the heart of their Environmental Science/Persuasive Essay project now slowly getting underway. (See some of the various topics they have chosen to write about in the Wordle above).
They had to answer the questions of:
- What is your topic and why did you choose it?
- What is your opinionated “stance” on the topic?
- What are some interesting facts you have discovered to help make your case?
- What would an argument be AGAINST your essay’s topic?
As you might imagine with sixth graders, this last question stumped a lot of them. Who wouldn’t be against air pollution? Who wouldn’t want to save that little furry animal?
Their difficulties gave me a window again into how a good persuasive piece of writing acknowledges the opposing view and then uses that opposition to its advantage by turning it around on them. (ie, Air Pollution is beyond our ability to control and regulating manufacturing plants would lead to the loss of many jobs; the cost of saving that little furry animal might be enough to feed hundreds of struggling people and the habitat where that furry thing lives might provide resources for jobs, etc.)
We’re on vacation next week, and we play our huge Quidditch Tournament tomorrow (yikes!), so the next step here is use the Essay Map Graphic Organizer and sketch out some main ideas. Then, we put the project off to the side until we return from vacation.
By the way, I compiled some various science links and resources that they were using to do some basic inquiry around their topics.
- The Why Files
- EduHound Search
- The Science.gov Search Engine
- The Scirus Search Engine
- The Jefferson Lab Search Engine
- The Sea World Animal Search Engine
- Fact Monster Science Search
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Student Center
- Climate Change
- Bill Nye, the Science Guy
- Time for Kids Science
- Rudiments of Wisdom (visual) Encyclopedia
- Science News for Kids
- National Geographic for Kids
Endangered Animals Sites
Peace (in the inquiry),