Dawn of New Revolutions - Language Arts Lessons

The fourth quarter language arts curriculum is a preparation for the Youth Voices Forum. In the first week the teacher will introduce the overarching three questions and the major components of the final project including the country portfolio. He or she will also assign each student a country that will be the focus of the quarter’s work. One day of each week throughout the quarter students will be presenting current events articles on their countries. To facilitate this, the first lesson will also encompass how to find articles, which will not only contain significant information about the target country but also tie into the concepts being learned in science, math, and social studies. This will be followed by a lesson on how to write an annotated bibliography so that students will properly document where they are finding their information for their country portfolios while evaluating the quality of those sources. In the analysis of quality extreme positions will be discussed and so the next lesson will be an examination of propaganda.

The third week will be an extended look at a few of the chapters in Rachel Carson’s seminal work on the effects of pesticides on the environment, the stunning book Silent Spring.

The fourth and fifth weeks of the quarter will be an introduction to the format of, and the formal terminology used in, debates with time to practice arguing issues in this type of structured exchange of ideas. In week six students will learn how to write United Nations style resolutions. They will also begin creating the country displays, which will constitute the exhibits of the museum walk. These will be completed in week seven. In week eight the museum walk will take place. The Youth Voices Forum will be the culminating activity of the quarter.
Big Idea

Scientific advancements are in the news every day; they are one of the major forces that shape our lives.  It is essential to get unbiased information about them and to constantly reevaluate their affect on the whole ecosystem.

Essential Questions

What are the latest scientific discoveries and how are they affecting our everyday lives?

Can scientific information be distorted and used for propaganda?

Are there ever long-term negative consequences of a scientific discovery that provides benefits in the short term?

Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Students will:
Class period & week
Current Events
The Youth Voices Project is described. Students are taught how to recognize articles with significant information and connections to the other core classes.
1. select articles and editorials that contain information and issues directly related to this youth voices project.

2. demonstrate their comprehension of the article read in this lesson through accurate oral and written answers to questions posed.

3. demonstrate their comprehension of one additional article, which is on their country for the youth voices project through a brief, accurate oral presentation.

4. make connections between the information in newspaper, magazine, Internet articles to what is being studied in science and social studies classes in a written format.

5. identify words and phrases, which affect a reader’s opinion of the article’s topic and the information presented.

2 class periods
Week 1

The Annotated Bibliography
Students review how to properly document sources using MLA formats and how to write an annotated bibliography.
1. Students will put sources into correct MLA bibliographic format.

2. Students will evaluate the accuracy of the information and the research value of two articles through a short written annotated bibliography for each.
2 class periods
Week 1
Students will learn what stylistic devices are used to create writing meant to unduly nfluence a reader’s opinion. Students also practice producing some propagada from a neutral source.
1. identify how the writer’s word choice affects the meaning of the text.

2. identify persuasive techniques used in pieces of propaganda.
5 class periods
Week 2
Silent Spring
Students read and analyze three chapters of the famous book by Rachel Carson.
1. identify the main idea(s) of each chapter.

2. identify the evidence which supports the main idea and advances the author’s argument in each chapter.

3. identify words and phrases which support the chapter’s theme.

4. make connections to topics being learned in science and social studies.
5 class periods
Week 3


Big Idea

Scientific inventions and breakthroughs influence our food supply in a multitude of positive and negative ways.

Essential Question

What techniques and chemicals are being used to alter crops?

Do these techniques and chemicals also have adverse consequences?

Why would some nations choose not to use the latest techniques and chemicals?  Who gets to decide what can and cannot be done in growing a farm’s crops?

Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Students will:
Class period & week
Students will see how a formal debate is set up and what rules of order are used. After doing research on an assigned topic they will participate in a practice debate.
1. conduct research using multiple sources to support a position in a debate

2. put information from multiple sources into correct debate format

3. participate in a debate arguing one position in a focused manner

5 class periods
Week 4

Writing Resolutions
Students will learn how to write a resolution in the format employed by the United Nations.
1. contains formal language, appropriate to the resolution style;

2. conforms to the resolution format;

3. uses commas, semi-colons, and periods to separate the parts of the resolution;

4. has subject matter appropriate for the international forum.
5 class period
Week 5
Country Display
After seeing a model display made by the teacher, students will do additional research on their country and create visually appealing displays.
1. research and synthesize materials to create displays that showcase the natural resources, geographical features, political make-up, and economic status of their country.

2. identify pertinent information in a visual and written format, which features the pertinent characteristics of their country.

3. create a visually appealing display containing accurate and extensive information on their country which other students will be able to understand with ease.

4. clearly indicate the dominant issues facing their country within their display.
5 class periods
Week 6

Youth Voices Project
This activity is the summation of the quarter’s work, allowing students to demonstrate an integrated understanding of biological and social issues that impact how we might feed the world’s human population.

Student delegates conduct a “United Nations” style session in which they are challenged to develop a resolution or resolutions that address how to feed a growing population, taking into consideration quality of life and the impact on the environment.
Week 7

PULSE is a project of the Community Outreach and Education Program of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center and is funded by:

NIH/NCRR award #16260-01A1
The Community Outreach and Education Program is part of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center: an NIEHS Award


Supported by NIEHS grant # ES06694

1996-2007, The University of Arizona
Last update: November 10, 2009
  Page Content: Rachel Hughes
Web Master: Travis Biazo