1. As class begins, hand out a copy of the editorial “Signs
of Energy” or another article which you have chosen
(an editorial which deals with a prominent environmental
health issue and uses the logical appeal). Allow students
sufficient time to read over the article, and as they
are reading tell them to think about the following questions
(you may want to write them on the board):
- What is the main idea of this article?
- What is the author trying to accomplish? How can
- What makes this article persuasive? Be specific.
- Who is the target audience for this article?
How do you know?
2. After allowing the class to read and
perhaps jot down a few notes about the
you have asked, discuss
student responses. Help the class to
identify some of the persuasive elements of
as: 1) the
author’s use of very professional, polished language
which builds his credibility, 2) the use of facts and
numerical data, which make his claims seem very logical,
3) the ending statement of the article which eloquently
states what the real issue is not, in order to clarify
what it truly is. After discussing the above questions,
ask the class the following: Is this article convincing?
Why or why not? Homework
3. Place the students into groups of
3 or 4, and proceed with the next article “Rambling Sea Lion Shot Dead” or
another similar article which uses the pathos appeal.
Give the students 10-15 minutes to read and discuss the
article, answering the same 4 questions used above.
4. Bring the class back together as a
whole, and ask for some student reactions
article. Some may not
notice the persuasive elements of the
away, but many will react to the piece
emotionally. Ask the
class: How did you feel when you read
the article? What thoughts were going
your mind? Students
respond that they felt sad, or wondered
who would harm a sea lion. Explain to
were encouraged by the way the author
wrote the article. See if the class can
details from the
text that lead us to have an emotional
response to the article, such as 1) using
given to the seal,
2) describing the seal’s demise in dramatic terms
(‘shot to death’), and 3) using poignant
vocabulary such as “flopped”, “gobbling”, “posing”,
For the last
part of class,
the handout “The
A Brief Overview” and
for each appeal.
Go back to
the two articles
and help students
label the persuasive
Have the students independently read “EPA
Says DuPont Withheld Chemical’s Danger”, or another
similar article. Ask them to answer the same questions posed
before, and try and identify the persuasive elements in the
group work have one member of the group
act as a recorder and evaluate student
work this way, or you may wish to simply
evaluate the discussions, or float around
the room and conference one-on-one. Collect
student responses to the final article
and ensure that students can successfully
identify the persuasive appeals used.