Updated in 2017 as the debate continues (and killer whales continue to be captured and sold worldwide). Authentic, relevant, in-depth argument examination! Truly delves into both sides of this hotly debated issue by examining and analyzing multiple primary sources. Step-by-Step guided activity leads students to read and analyze claims and evidence presented by scientists, corporate leaders at Sea World, and activists.
Students first read a 2-page background informational text passage that explains the debate about keeping killer whales in captivity that heated up in 2013 due to the documentary film "Blackfish" that was released that year. Then, they will read through two lists: claims made AGAINST keeping killer whales in captivity and claims made FOR keeping killer whales in activity. Next, students will be guided to read through multiple primary source documents online, including a groundbreaking paper written by a PhD scientist that builds on several decades of research about captive marine mammals. Plus they read what Sea World says in response.
As they read these documents, students identify and evaluate claims and evidence. They cite textual evidence as they analyze. They identify false statements and fallacious reasoning. Finally, they read and summarize a proposal by an expert in the field who comes up with an idea she believes would help phase out keeping killer whales in captivity at marine theme parks. And they find out the latest news on the debate, not just here in the United States where things have gotten better but out there in the world where things have gotten worse for killer whales.
This is exactly the kind of critical thinking and in-depth analysis of real-world documents the makers of Common Core were going for when they created the "Reading Informational Text" standards. This lesson aligns to multiple Common Core State Standards.
WANT MORE HIGH-INTEREST NONFICTION? SUPER INTERESTING INFORMATIONAL TEXT PASSAGES WITH 10 TARGETED TASKS found here:
Volume 1: Informational Text Passages & Targeted Tasks for ALL 10 RI STANDARDS Volume 1
Volume 2: Informational Text Passages & Targeted Tasks for ALL 10 RI STANDARDS Volume 2