An opinionative essay on climate change – a truth or just an inconvenience? Theme The students will research and write an opinionative essay presenting a point of view about climate change. Key learning/Subject areas/Year level(s) ? Personal Development ? Health and Physical Education ? Science ? Studies of Society and the Environment ? English/Literacy ? Personal Learning (Detailed curriculum links are included at the end of this document) Possible Year levelsYears 8, 9 and 10 DurationUp to 5 periods, depending on the extent of research required Objectives On completion of this activity students will be able to: understand the key arguments for and against climate change; ? identify effective strategies for communicating their own points of view; ? understand the importance of research and knowledge in decision making processes. The output will be an opinionative essay. Introduction The debate on climate change continues to rage. Consistently we are urged to think globally and act locally, and yet there are a significant number of climate change deniers presenting alternative arguments to the issue. In this activity, your students will need to find out what the arguments supporting climate change, and opposing it as an issue, are.
They will need to determine their own point of view and then plan and write their own well defended argumentative essay. Prior Learning Students will need to have experience with: ? effective research strategies to find information to support their arguments; ? working in small cooperative groups; ? the structure and process of debating. The outcome of this activity will be an argumentative essay presenting the student’s point of view in relation to climate change. How do I teach this activity? Step 1 – Whole class activity: brainstorming Spend some time introducing the idea of the argumentative essay with your students.
If this is one of the first argumentative essays they have had to write, discuss with them the structure of this type of essay. You can use Worksheet 1 – Hints for Writing an Argumentative Essay to help you. Ask them what they already know about presenting their own arguments, the structure and protocols involved. Present the essay topic: Climate change – a truth or just an inconvenience? Follow this discussion with a class brainstorm of the arguments that support or oppose the existence of climate change. List their responses on the board under “+” and “-“.
You could show them the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” or YouTube videos The Most Terrifying Video You’ll Ever See or How it all ends to stimulate their thinking. Step 2 – Individual activity: planning and research Once you have discussed the topic and the essay structure, give your students time to plan and then research the issue. Your students need time to research their arguments, using resources such as the Internet to find supporting evidence (refer to the extensive list in this activity to help get them started). This research may take 2-3 periods. Step 3- Individual activity: developing your argument
Once the research has been done, each student should have decided which arguments they will use, and the supporting evidence to back up their point of view. This is the time for them to write up their essay plan and formulate each argument. Step 4 – Individual activity: final preparation Your students need to draft, review and then finalise and finesse their arguments. Step 5 – Whole class activity: submission and class discussion Once each student has completed and submitted their essay, spend some time reflecting with your students on what they learned, both about the issue of climate change and about conveying effective arguments.
What’s next? Once these activities have been completed, you could encourage the students to undertake one of the remaining Climate Change activities within this suite of lesson plan ideas. Teacher Notes Improved communication, cooperation and group working as well as research, argument analysis and consultation are skills that will emerge from this activity as your students develop an understanding of the important elements of developing and then effectively conveying messages to target audiences. Your students will need to organise their time carefully and make decisions quickly.
They will need to convey their points of view effectively, use plain language and employ a range of argumentative strategies to present a robust argument. Resources/Links/Materials required 1. Access to the Internet for any research. 2. Some possible website resources include: ? Department of Climate Change and Efficiency http://www. climatechange. gov. au/ ? Bureau of Meteorology http://www. bom. gov. au/climate/change/ ? ABC Australia: UK scientists cleared of manipulating climate change data http://www. radioaustralia. net. au/pacbeat/stories/201004/s2864781. htm ?
Climate Change http://www. climatechange. com. au/ o Fact Sheet – Climate Change – Potential Impact and Costs http://www. climatechange. com. au/impacts/publications/pubs/fs-national. pdf o Fact Sheet – Climate Change – What does it mean? http://www. climatechange. com. au/impacts/publications/pubs/fs-climatechange. pdf ? CSIRO – Climate Change http://www. csiro. au/science/Climate-Change. html ? Australian Conservation Foundation http://www. acfonline. org. au/default. asp? section_id=6 ? Hotting up ? http://tiki. oneworld. net/global_warming/climate2. html ?
Climate change – an Introduction (Part 1) Provides a brief introduction http://www. ecokidsonline. com/pub/eco_info/topics/climate/intro/index. cfm ? Climate change – an Introduction (Part 2) Continues the previous the introduction http://www. ecokidsonline. com/pub/eco_info/topics/climate/intro/climate-intro2. cfm ? An Inconvenient Truth http://www. aninconvenienttruth. com. au/truth/ ? The Most Terrifying Video You’ll Ever See (YouTube) http://www. youtube. com/watch? v=zORv8wwiadQ ? How it all ends http://www. youtube. com/watch? v=mF_anaVcCXg&annotation_id=annotation_402598&feature=iv ?
Skeptical Science http://www. skepticalscience. com/argument. php Worksheet 1 – Hints for Writing an Argumentative Essay An argument consists of a number of connected statements used to establish a point of view or opinion about a particular topic. Argument is one way in which we attempt to persuade other people that our point of view is correct by supporting your arguments with factual evidence. With essays of this sort it is essential that you support your arguments with supporting evidence. 1. Plan your essay by organising key ideas or supporting arguments into a logical order.
Include: a. Introduction – stating your point of view b. Body of essay – a separate paragraph for each new idea, which could be a topic sentence, which is then supported by evidence/details c. Conclusion – restating your opinion clearly and with conviction 2. You should have a definite opinion about climate change that must be clearly stated in the introduction. This becomes the main argument or contention. 3. Each key idea should become a topic sentence introducing a paragraph, which contains evidence/examples/supporting details to support that idea. . Refer constantly to the question or topic as well as your plan while you are writing to make sure you keep to the point. 5. Do not change from one point of view to the other. 6. You can briefly consider some of the opposing arguments and your rebuttal of them in the second last paragraph. Curriculum Links |ACT |NSW |Qld |SA |Vic |WA |Tas |NT |