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Is Organic Food Worth the Extra Cost?

Taken From: http://www.ehponline.org/science-ed/2006/pesti.pdf 
Editor: Stephanie Nardei

Author: Matthew Tidwell and Marti Lindsey

NOTE:

To access this lesson, please go directly to the original website listed above.  It fulfills the exploratory inquiry goals of PULSE in its original form.

Part II (Explore): Compare and Contrast Essay: Defending your Argument



Time:

Several 50 minutes sessions depending if students write in class or for homework 

Preparation
Time:

5 - 10 minutes

Materials:

Computer workstation with internet access
Reading: OP Pesticides in Children’s Bodies
The Effects of a Conventional versus Organic Diet

Abstract
Students read an article about a research study looking for metabolites of these pesticides in children. This lesson is designed to enhance the technical writing ability and critical thinking of students by reading and writing to compare and contrast the costs and benefits of organic food versus conventional food. They use this information to support their argument about whether or not organic food is worth the extra cost
.

Objectives
Students will be able to:

  • Compare the costs and benefits of organic food versus conventional food.
  • The students will compose a comparison contrast essay costs and benefits of organic food versus conventional food

National Science Education Standard
Content Standard A – Science as Inquiry

  • Identify questions and concepts that guide scientific investigations
  • Formulate and revise scientific explanations and models using logic and evidence
  • Communicate and defend a scientific argument

Content Standard F- Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
Personal and community health

Arizona Science Education Standards:
Strand 1 –Inquiry Process
Concept 3: Analysis, Conclusions, and Refinements

  • PO 2. Evaluate whether investigational data support or do not support the proposed hypothesis.

Concept 4: Communication

  • PO 2. Produce graphs that communicate data. (See MHS-S2C1-02)
  • PO 3. Communicate results clearly and logically.
  • PO 4. Support conclusions with logical scientific arguments.

Arizona Language Arts Educational Standards
Strand 3: Comprehending Informational Text (Grades 9-10)

Concept 1: Expository Text

Identify, analyze, and apply knowledge of the purpose, structures, and elements of expository text.

PO 1.  Critique the consistency and clarity of the text’s purposes.

PO 2.  Distinguish among different kinds of evidence used to support conclusions (e.g., logical, empirical, anecdotal).

PO 3.  Make relevant inferences by synthesizing concepts and ideas from a single reading selection.

PO 4.  Compare (and contrast) readings on the same topic, by explaining how authors reach the same or different conclusions based upon differences in evidence, reasoning, assumptions, purposes, beliefs, or biases.

Teacher Background
None.

Related and Resource Websites
Compare & Contrast Writing
Using Compare and Contrast to Write in Science http://www.uen.org/Lessonplan/preview.cgi?LPid=11289
Teaching the Compare/Contrast Essay http://712educators.about.com/cs/writingessays/a/comparecontrast.htm
Teaching the Compare and Contrast Essay through modeling http://www.readwritethink.org/lessons/lesson_view.asp?id=275
Compare and Contrast Rubric http://www.studyzone.org/testprep/ela4/h/rubriccompcon.htm

Organic Food Resources
PULSE Resource Page on GE Foods http://pulse.pharmacy.arizona.edu/resources/dawn_new/teachers.htm
Organic Food on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_food#Fresh_food
FAQ on Organic Food http://www.nutritionaustralia.org/Food_Facts/FAQ/Organic_Foods_faq.asp
Organic Foods in Relation to Nutrition and Health Key Facts http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=10587

   

Activity
The students will need copies of The “OP Pesticides in Children’s Bodies The Effects of a Conventional versus Organic Diet article:

1. Before the students actually begin writing the essay, they need to be taken through a prewriting exercise. In this exercise, the students will need to discover elements that can be compared and contrasted between organic food versus conventional food. Elements they may compare and contrast might be fresh food verse processed foods.  This includes fruits and vegetables for fresh foods and canned food and frozen vegetables for the processed foods. The best way to conduct this exercise is to use a Venn diagram. The Venn diagram might look something like this:

                                             organic
In cell A, the students would list the examples that are specific to costs and benefits of organic food. In cell B, the students would list the examples of . In cell C, the students would list the similarities between the two pieces of writings.

2. After the prewriting exercise, the students would then write their first draft. However, the format for a comparison contrast essay must first be taught. The comparison contrast essay comes in many forms, but the format that works best for this assignments is as follows:

  • Introductions
    • Topic sentence
    • Background information on topic
    • Thesis—stating the three items that will be discussed
  • Body Paragraph/Topic 1
    • Similarities
      • of organic food
      • versus conventional food
    • Differences
      • of organic food
      • versus conventional food
    • Concluding thoughts/ clincher/analysis
  • Body Paragraph/Topic 2
    • Similarities
      • of organic food
      • versus conventional food
    • Differences
      • of organic food
      • versus conventional food
    • Concluding thoughts/clincher/analysis
  • Body Paragraph/Topic 3
    • Similarities
      • of organic food
      • versus conventional food
    • Differences
      • of organic food
      • versus conventional food
    • Concluding thoughts/clincher/analysis
  • Conclusion
    • Restate thesis
    • Summarize main points
    • Final thought

3. Before the students write their first draft, it would helpful for them to outline their essay, detailing every element that they will cover. After they outline their essay, they can then draft their essay. This process should be easier now that the essay is completely outlined.

4. The next process is an editing phase. The teacher may wish to edit the papers or to conduct a peer editing session. Whatever the process, the editing phase needs to highlight mechanical errors, as well as fluidity of thought.

5. After the editing phase, the final drafts need to be composed. Generally, final drafts are typed, follow MLA format and are free of errors.

The students will turn in their essays. A rubric should be used to assess this essay. See handout 1.

Homework
Students can read and write as class work or homework. 

Embedded Assessment
Students can be assessed using the following:

  • Venn Diagram
  • Draft
  • Essay

 

 

 


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


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

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Supported by NIEHS grant # ES06694


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