Gathering the Appropriate Information

Author: Catharine Niuzzo Honaman
Editor: Stephanie Nardei


Time: 4 classes
30 minutes to read lesson plan
Materials: Make arrangements for the students to use the library and/or computer lab to do research.

This lesson will be devoted to finding appropriate information necessary for written articulation on position developed in previous lesson. Students will use the library and/or computer lab for Internet research to find reliable sources of information, using skills they learned in the first learning cycle. The position papers will need ample facts and examples to back up each part of their argument.

Purpose – This is the Explain Lesson. The purpose of this lesson is for students to conduct necessary research in order to write their position papers which will be the Apply lesson. As they research their area of alternative energy, they should be developing arguments swaying the Congressional committee to their point of view.

Students will be able to:
1. Use the library and/or computer lab to research reliable information sources supporting arguments being put forward in the position paper.
2. Find examples of mission statements from various organizations and from these examples synthesize essential elements of a compelling message.

English Education Standards
Strand 1: Concept 6: Comprehension Strategies
PO 4. Connect information and events in text to experiences and to related
text and sources.

Strand 2: Concept 2: Functional Text
PO 2. Synthesize information from multiple sources to draw conclusions.

Strand 3: Concept 1: Expository Text
PO 3. Locate specific information by using organizational features in expository
PO 4. Organize information from both primary and secondary sources by taking
notes, outlining ideas, paraphrasing information for a research
PO 5. Interpret graphic sources of information to support ideas.
PO 8. Support conclusions drawn from ideas and concepts in expository text.

Teacher Background
It will help to be familiar with lessons being taught in the government class this term and to confer with the government teacher about how the final project/activity will be taught.

Related and Resource Websites

Variety of mission statements http://www.global-village.expo2005.or.jp/en/participate/june.html
Missionstatements.com: http://www.missionstatements.com/



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.

Embedded Assessment
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.

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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