Argumentative Debate Topic:
Organic vs Conventional Food Common Core Unit
Close Reading Article, “What's All The Fuss About?”
At one time you could only find organic food in health food stores, now it is a regular choice in most supermarkets. This has created a dilemma in the produce isle. Every student knows there are organic food choices. They may have their own opinions, but what about the facts. I have found students really like talking and writing about food, so this relevant topic makes a terrific augmentative essay.
In this “Science Works” unit students will explore the differences between organic and conventional food production from an informative, high interest reading article. There are text-based questions designed to get students using higher level thinking skills and citing evidence. In addition, there is a checking for understanding activity that gets students out of their seats and talking.
I loved the fact that students spontaneously began talking at home with family and friends about food production. Opinions changed and conversations were sparked. You will appreciate how easily this subject translates into debate and argument.
1. Organic Vs Conventional Food Blog Research Day
2. Article #1: ”What's All The Fuss About?”
Article handout includes enclosed space for meta-cognitive markers and comments
3. Meta-cognitive Markers (thinking markers) Directions
4. Informational text based questions handout with color coded evidence citations
5. Checking for Understanding Activity: Food Fact Swap
6. Quick Write Questions and sample discussion starter
7. Actual student samples to use as key (answers will vary)
1. The lesson starts in the computer lab where students do an open ended informational brainstorm, “Search and BLOG”. Let students come to their own conclusions.
2. On each of the following days I open with a, “You-Tube Media Adventure” exploring some of the pros and cons of this issue. I try to pick some extreme views and opinions, then temper it with more conservative informative slants. Try to get both sides equally represented. You will find countless quality You-tubes. Be careful to keep your bias out. Get the students discussing the issues using the “clock buddy” system.
3. Students then “Cold Read” the article quietly to themselves. Again do not say anything about the article, just give them enough time to read it once over.
4. Then ask students to “Warm Read” it again, but now they will start making the meta-cognitive marker comments in the box space. Do a few good examples with them. Ask for other student samples.
5. Close with a quick write exit ticket here to let information start sinking in. You might ask; At your house do you eat organic or conventional? Have you seen organic food and your market? Do you think this is an important topic? Why do you think that?
6. Next comes the, “Hot Read” where students read again to complete the text-based questions. Explain to students how to write answers and match in the underlined color coded citations where they found their answers. It might be helpful to debrief these answers the next day or as a close. Interesting discussions will be sparked and struggling students will find help.
7. Students then synthesize their learning with a “Food Fact Swap”. Allow them time to find their best facts and write them down so they can have a fact others want to swap with. I encourage only great sentences. When their own facts are finished, the students get up and walk around finding the most interesting facts to swap until their sheet is complete. You might discuss for a close, What was your most interesting fact you found? You might also have a class vote contest.