Finding Your Voice

Author: Sara Chavarria
Editor: Stephanie Nardei

Time: 2 Class Periods

Make class reference sets of Handout 1 equivalent to _ of the class size.
Make copies of Handout 2 fore each student


Handout 1: 4 articles on pesticides
Handout 2: Outlining notes


In this Apply lesson, students will write a brief speech and create a supporting slogan for a poster about current issues in the workplace today for farm workers. Both tasks are meant to help educate and/or unite fellow workers and the public on an important issue that revolves around working conditions, health hazards (at home, environment, or work), or equal rights.

Students will be able to:
Write a speech and create a slogan through analysis of current issues articles dealing with pesticide use.

National Council for History in the Schools:
Historical Thinking Standards

  • Standard 4C: Interrogate historical data.
  • Standard 5B: Marshal evidence of antecedent circumstances and contemporary factors contributing to problems and alternative courses of action.
  • tandard 5E: Formulate a position or course of action on an issue.
    United States History Standards

United States History Standards

  • Era 9 Standard 4: The struggle for racial and gender equality and for the extension of civil liberties.

Teacher Background
Important to understand pesticide use.

Resource Websites

PULSE Pesticide Resource Page: http://pulse.pharmacy.arizona.edu/resources/fertilizers/teachers.htm
PANNA http://www.panna.org/
PAN International http://www.pan-international.org/index.html
Quit School Article http://www.nytimes.com/learning/teachers/featured_articles/20000807monday.html
Oaxaca http://isla.igc.org/Features/Border/mex5.html
Tainted land http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/bery22.shtml



Day 1

1. As students walk into the classroom, have them take an article at random (From Handout Packet 1).

2. Instruct them they are to read their article quietly in class. The articles address current pesticide issues taking place in the world and the United States. Remember, these pesticides are in our food irregardless of where they are grown and affect us in the United States.

3. Handout 1 contents:
Article 1 (3 pages), Farm Work by Children Tests Labor Laws: http://www.nytimes.com/learning/teachers/featured_articles/20000807monday.html
Article 2 (3 pages), Indigenous Migrant Workers Struggle Against Pesticides: http://isla.igc.org/Features/Border/mex5.html
Article 3 (6 pages), Tainted land: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/bery22.shtml
Article 4 (3 pages) Pesticides persist http://nytimes.com/2004/10/08/national/08gas.html

4. Give students a copy of Handout 2. Students will now be asked to put themselves in the position of one of the workers affected by the story they read.

5. Scenario: Students are going to address a large body of individuals about this problem by writing a speech to be delivered to one of the following three audiences:

  1. Fellow workers
  2. The general public at a rally
  3. A Congressional Committee

6. Using the outline they made, they are ready to write their speech.

7. The final speech must have facts, human stories, be clear and to the point. Due to time constraints, it must be brief (1-2 pages in length = 1 minute)

8. Along with their speech, the student must create a slogan for a poster reflecting their cause. They will include an additional analysis page with their final speech and notes that states what the slogan is and explains why they choose it.

9. Optional: Students may want to design an actual poster using their slogan.

Day 2
10. Speeches will be delivered by all. Have the class give students feedback on effectiveness of speech content and clarity of speech.

Finish by reminding students often times new immigrants to this country find obstacles in their path. American history is full of stories about how our ancestors, past immigrants, overcame those obstacles, but often it took longer than we would expect. In some cases, those obstacles are still there, as with pesticide exposure for farm laborers and black lung disease for miners.

If applicable

Embedded Assessment
Final speeches and slogans.
Speech presentations.


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

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Last update: November 10, 2009
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