Practice with Argument: Rachel Carson’s, Silent Spring

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(from Wikipedia) Late in the 1950s, Rachel Carson turned her attention to conservation; especially some environmental problems that she believed were caused by synthetic pesticides. The result was the book Silent Spring (1962), which brought environmental concerns to an unprecedented share of the American people. Although Silent Spring was met with fierce opposition by chemical companies, it spurred a reversal in national pesticide policy, which led to a nationwide ban on DDT and other pesticides, and it inspired a grassroots environmental movement that led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Carson was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Jimmy Carter.

These lessons examine the influence Rachel’s Carson’s book had on the environmental movement and organic farming. An NPR story explains Carson’s influence and another depicts how pesticides hurt organic farming. A Ted Talk explains the use of chemicals on farming in the 21st Century. A link to the New York Times Room for Debate includes 5 op-eds that argue for and against Organic Farming. There are multimedia clips explaining Carson’s life and purpose.

In this resource there is a unique detailed rubric that can be used to score Socratic Seminars in a way that encourages organic fluid discussions. In the guide there is a step by step explanation on how to conduct a fish-bowl discussion with the rubric. There is a link to the College Board’s AP Central site where the 2004 B AP English Language Question #1 is a perfect fit to use when assessing this unit. The students will analyze Rachel Carson’s argument from Silent Spring. Links to the rubric, the essay, the prompt, and student samples can be found here. Expert analysis for the essay scores is also provided. Complete Common Core standards included. Essential and key questions, links to video clips and resources are also included. All lessons have an opening, work session, and closing structure.

Key words: AP English Language, speech and debate, pesticides environment, agriculture, organic farming, social justice, argument, Socratic Seminar, synthesis, Rachel Carson, American Literature, Common Core, Environmental Science, Ted Talks, NPR

Total Pages
12
Answer Key
Included with Rubric
Teaching Duration
3 hours

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Practice with Argument: Rachel Carson’s, Silent Spring
Practice with Argument: Rachel Carson’s, Silent Spring
Practice with Argument: Rachel Carson’s, Silent Spring
Practice with Argument: Rachel Carson’s, Silent Spring