This assignment directs students to research, organize, and write an in-class expository essay over the state-run lottery and its effects on the winners. I have used this as a pre-read assignment for those reading Shirley Jackson's classic short story "The Lottery" as well as my ESL students preparing to read John Steinbeck's short novel, The Pearl. Both involve characters confronted with the benefits and negatives of an unexpected event. The research students do for the paper spurs lots of discussion and thoughts on the pros and cons of being the winner of something like the lottery. They have to also consider the dangers as well and how to avoid them.
The package includes the key question, a thinking map to guide students through the organization process. There are also suggestions given to the student to help them begin their research for examples and support. Finally, there is a rubric for students to attach to their final paper and mark off that they have completed all the expectations for the assignment.
Most students take over an hour once they get started. My ESL students take a little longer (2 class periods). But it really gets them ready for the reading and what comes next.