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Energy Drinks: Synthesis and PARCC Research Simulation Task Practice

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I use this particular prompt in teaching slant in source based writing, something of which my students are guilty. Four out of the six sources have a bias. I have students break-down the directions, then identity the bias in each of the articles (individually or in groups). Next, I have the students read the last two sources and use them to refute the other six OR vice versa. This is an arduous task for most students because most of the research shows how detrimental energy drinks are. So, then we re-frame the conversation - it is not about energy drinks but what society at large today seems to want: energy and mood boosters. Once this revelation is posited, students then reread the articles with this idea in mind. Finally, students answer the prompt in a more objective way, evaluating all the sources and evidence and then draw a conclusion on the most important factors to consider deciding whether energy drinks should be banned. This assignment also includes a sample student which can serve as means for discussion or a template of how a student can use sources to their own advantage. When done with scaffolding (and patience) this assignment proves to be invaluable in creating critical thinkers!
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