1. At this lesson’s first class meeting, have students sign up for
a form of alternative energy on which to write a position paper. A wide selection
of topics is advisable while limiting the number of students per topic, thus
insuring availability of materials. Ideas include wind power, wave power, solar
energy, and biomass generated power.
2. Briefly review what they learned about internet research from the last learning
cycle. Remind them of the importance of documenting where they find the information.
You may wish to review good note-taking practices and the necessity of giving
credit to a source. A position paper will only be as believable as the proof
that backs up its’ arguments. So it is essential to have strong arguments
and substantial facts and studies to illustrate each point from respected sources.
Inform students that they should have a minimum of three arguments in their
papers, preferably one economic, one environmental, and one concerning environmental
health issues for human beings.
3. In the previous lesson the students explored the parameters of the position
paper with the exception of one part, the mission statement. As the students
research the form of alternative energy for their position papers they will
undoubtedly be viewing websites of various non-governmental organizations (NGO).
These NGOs usually have a mission statement posted on their sites. The concept
of a mission statement is relatively self-explanatory. A course of action or
way of affecting society is the mission or purpose of the organization. Mission
statements are not limited to NGOs, and the students can find examples on the
websites of corporations, school districts, hospitals, etc. Ask students to
collect examples of mission statements as they do research, and after two or
three classes have students meet to share what they have found. Instead of
giving them a mission statement as a model, ask the students to tell you (and
each other) what is an effective mission statement. Then post the best examples
up in the classroom for all to consult as they write their position papers.
4. While researching in the library students should begin sketching out the
arguments for their position paper. As they find or do not find information,
they can revise their points.
If a student
has not found enough reliable sources for their position paper
in the time allotted, the student will need to do additional
research at home or elsewhere.
Student learning may be assessed by their ability in
finding enough reliable sources of valid and persuasive
arguments for their position paper. How independently
a student researches as opposed to asking you or the
librarian to find things or just stopping at the easiest
or first location (or web site?) for sources is another
indicator of proficiency in this lesson.