Read an article about cockroaches written by an exterminator. Write Costa's Thinking Level 1 and 2 questions and answer a Level 3 question about how students can keep the classroom free of roaches. Pick one of the viruses or bacteria from the article to research the answers to a few questions. Cite and evaluate sources.
This reading and homework assignment would work well in a Biology, English, or AVID classroom because it refers to Costa's Levels of Thinking, requires them to do focused research, cite and evaluate their sources, and write a research paper.
In a biology or life science class, this assignment works best after students have learned the needs and characteristics of living things. I use it right after comparing eukaryotes, prokaryotes, and viruses. It touches upon taxonomy/classification so it can be used before or after explaining domains and kingdoms. It could also be used while teaching about life cycles.
English teachers can use this to teach critical thinking by drawing attention to it as an advertisement, focusing on the writer's voice and intent, and identifying other types of sources that students may use when writing research papers, giving credit to sources and avoiding plagiarism.
Be sure to have students share their answers to the question about how students can keep roaches out. This is an excellent way to have a student-led discussion about taking care of the classroom.