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Culture & Cycles - 9th Grade Language Arts Lessons

Language arts class uses the arsenic issue to engage students in a discussion about the importance of literacy in the ‘Cultures and Cycles’ unit. Students use their increased understanding of literacy, research on culture and the science behind an issue, persuasive writing, and speech delivery to develop a public service message for a population.

Standards addressed by this unit are available on the individual lessons. To see a lesson, just click on its title. To see connecting lessons in science, social studies, and math return to the ‘Cultures and Cycles’ unit page.

Big Idea
Any text can be understood when a reader is familiar with a variety of reading strategies.
Essential Question
What reading tools do successful readers use in order to comprehend a text?
Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Objective
Students will:
Class period & week
Engage
Why is reading important?
Students will discover the reasons why reading is an invaluable skill in our society.
Students will be able to identify the many ways they use reading in their daily lives, and how it will serve them in the future.

1 class period
Week 1

Explore
What kind of reader are you?
Students will take an introspective look at their own personal relationship with reading and identify their strengths, weaknesses, and preferences as readers.
Students will consider how reading has influenced their lives by writing a personal reading history. They will also complete a readers survey in which they determine what kind of reader they are and what goes on in their heads while they read.
1 class period
Week 1
Explain
What is a successful reader?
A close look at the various techniques that accomplished readers use in order to comprehend difficult texts.
Students will read various challenging texts in groups and be able to determine what tools or techniques they use to understand the text.
1or 2 class period2
Week 1
Apply
Breaking through reading roadblocks!
Students will work together in “reading analysis groups” to gain practice working with challenging texts and using different reading strategies to understand them.
Students will be able to read and explain a variety of “texts”, including maps, pictures, and diagrams, while applying the reading strategies they have discovered.
1 class period
Week 1

 

Big Idea
Reading and writing open the door to education, and education allows people of all different backgrounds to gain freedom and power; knowledge of environmental health issues empowers people to make informed decisions.
Essential Question
How does reading empower people?
Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Objective
Students will:
Class period & week
Engage & Explore
Who are successful readers?
We will be looking at multicultural texts written by prominent figures on the importance of reading.
Students will read about various figures in history & society, and identify how reading played a key role in the personal success of each individual studied.

2 to 3 class periods
Week 2

Explain
How does reading empower us?
Students will discuss and write about the ways in which people have gained freedom and success in life through their reading and writing skills.
Students will discuss the readings we have done and write about the ways in which reading has given ordinary people tremendous social leverage. They may also explore connections between their own lives and the lives of these figures.
1 class period
Week 2
Apply
The Dangers of Illiteracy
Students will be given a fictitious environmental health situation to consider and discuss how reading could enable people to make more informed decisions about these issues.
Students will be able to apply their understanding of how reading empowers people to new situations involving environmental health by creating a literacy program in a special needs community.
1 class period
Week 2

 

Big Idea
We can become independent learners and acquire a wealth of information on environmental health topics by using resources such as published texts, news media, and the internet.
Essential Question
How can we access varied information on a given topic?
Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Objective
Students will:
Class period & week
Engage
1) Why be an independent learner?
An introduction to research which encourages students to become more proactive with their education.
2) Investigating Issues That Matter
Students will take a look levels of arsenic found in ground water worldwide.
1. Students will be able to articulate why research skills are useful and how they can use these skills to become more independent learners.

2. Students will begin investigating the arsenic issue in a specific region of the world which will be assigned by teacher.

1 class period
Week 3

 

1 class period
Week 3

Explore
1) Using research tools successfully
Students will use different sources to find information on arsenic contamination.
2) Connecting to Your Research on a Personal Level
A mini lesson on how to use a research journal.
1. Students will discover and practice using varied resources in their school and public libraries to research their assigned region of the world and the effects of arsenic.

2. Students will keep a daily research journal to record their findings, questions, and observations.
4-5 class periods
Week 3 & 4
Explain
1) How can research shape ideas?
Students will explain how their research on arsenic might influence public opinion and welfare.
2) Give credit where credit is due
Discuss plagiarism issues and warnings.
1. Students will discuss and explain how their research data can influence the way a society acts and thinks.

2. Students will be able to document their data and understand the dangers of plagiarism.

1 class period
Week 4

 

2 class periods
Week 4

Apply
Final Project Students will present data during final week
Homework

 

Big Idea
We are constantly being exposed to and influenced by persuasive information, including complex scientific data presented persuasive ways, and we need to recognize this in order to make better decisions about various issues, especially those concerning environmental health.
Essential Question
How is persuasion used to influence our perspectives and decisions?
Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Objective
Students will:
Class period & week
Engage
“The Merchants of Cool”
Students will view this provocative film which examines the ways in which the marketing industry targets teens.
Students watch this interesting Frontline documentary and discuss the issues raised by it.

2 class periods
Week 5

Explore
1) Living in the Matrix
A discussion where students will consider the comparisons between advertising and “The Matrix”

2) Target Audience
Students will explore forms of persuasion directed at specific groups in society.

1. Students will watch a clip from the film “The Matrix” (edited) and discuss how the advertising that surrounds us is something like “The Matrix”.

2. Students will look at advertisements and identify who the marketing is aimed at.

1 class period
Week 5

 

1 class period
Week 5

Explain
The Three Appeals
During this lesson students will look at various persuasive texts and identify the three appeals used.
Students will learn about the 3 appeals commonly used in persuasive writing and be able to define them.

1 class period
Week 5

Apply
Create A Commercial
Students will create an advertisement persuading the public to participate in local recycling programs.
Students will work in groups to prepare and present a persuasive environmental health commercial directed at a specific audience.
1 class period
Week 6

 

Big Idea
Being able to write persuasively allows us to convince others that our ideas about environmental health have merit and enables us to influence public perceptions about complex environmental issues.
Essential Question
What are the qualities of a persuasive essay?
Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Objective
Students will:
Class period & week
Engage
The Powers of Persuasion
Students will be asked to recall some situations in which they have tried to use their persuasive skills
Students will share their prior experiences and think about why they succeeded or failed to persuade. They will also consider how these skills are useful.

1 class period
Week 6

Explore

Persuade or Die!
In this lesson we will take a look at Patrick Henry’s famous speech and analyze what makes it so persuasive.

Students will be able to identify what techniques the author is using in his writing in order to convince his audience.

1 class period
Week 6

 

Explain
Essay Elements Review
In this lesson we will review thesis statements, topic sentences, supporting details, organization, etc…
Students will begin the writing process on assigned topic
Persuasive Editorial
Was it a good decision or not for UNICEF to dig tube wells in Bangladesh during the 1970’s?
1. Students will be able to recognize and create thesis statements, topic sentences, and organize ideas into paragraphs

2. Students should be able to demonstrate what they have learned about essay writing in their paper.

3. Students will be able to write a well organized essay on an environmental topic that has a clear thesis and topic sentences.

1 class period
Week 6

 

Homework

Apply
Peer Editing
Students will work together in pairs to evaluate each other’s writing and provide important feedback.
Students should be able to apply what they know about essay structure to the evaluation of another student’s writing.
1 class period
Week 6

 

Big Idea
People who have been able to speak persuasively have had a tremendous impact on the formation of our society and societies throughout the world.
Essential Question
How can persuasive speaking promote change in our world?
Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Objective
Students will:
Class period & week
Engage/Explore
Great Speakers of the 20th Century
This lesson will explore speeches by JFK, Churchill, MLK, and Malcolm X.
Students will view or listen to excerpts from famous speeches and discuss why each speech made such a powerful impact.

2 class periods
Week 7

Explain

The Three Appeals and Rhetoric
This lesson looks at the logos, pathos, and ethos appeals used in persuasive speaking.

Students should be able to identify the three appeals in the speeches we have examined and use appropriate terms for each technique.

1 class period
Week 7

Apply

Tricks and Techniques for Speech Delivery
Overcoming fear of public speaking using the POAM method.
(combined with lesson below)

Presenting Speeches
During this class students will present short speeches.

1. Students will prepare, organize, and articulate a short speech while maintaining eye contact.

2. Students will apply what they have learned about public speaking in order to present a short persuasive speech.

2 class periods
Week 7

Project
Write a Speech on an Important Issue Students will select an issue that is important to them and prepare a short persuasive speech on this topic.
Homework

 

Big Idea
Being able to speak persuasively enables us to present information on environmental health to the public in ways that are accessible to them.
Essential Question
How do you prepare for an academic presentation?
Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Objective
Students will:
Class period & week
Engage/Explore
Evaluating Rhetoric
In this lesson students will view 2 mock presentations and evaluate them.
Students should be able to identify what makes a successful presentation as compared to a poor presentation.

1 class period
Week 8

Explain

Preparing to Speak
Students will listen to a brief overview of speech preparation tips and have time to work on their projects

Students should be able to articulate the important steps of preparation in the speech writing process.

1 class period
Week 8

Apply

Final Project Presentations
Students will present their final speeches on the dangers of arsenic in the water supply of their specific region.

Student should be able to deliver a speech which is well organized around a central thesis, is clear, polished, addressed to a specific target audience, and uses the POAM speaking strategies.

3 class periods
Week 8


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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Last update: November 10, 2009
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