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Before I was introduced to the engaging world of stations, I used to boringly (yes, I'll admit it!) introduce research topics to my Juniors. Now, I have created a stations activity which gets them to think through possible research topics and sources on their own (they also get to get up and move around which is great for my more rambunctious classes). They are pressed to consider what they believe about the topic rather than listening to me present the sides of each argument.
This activity was designed for my high school students. Each class period is only 50 minutes, so this would have to be completed over the course of at least 2 class periods. When we begin writing research papers at the high school level, I often observe students having issues with knowing what to say in their papers. They often don’t know what to say because they don’t know what to think about a topic or how to think through the topic in order to sustain a meaningful argument/thesis. Often they are more concerned with trying to figure out what I want to hear rather than generating meaningful commentary and research of their own. I created this lesson to give students an opportunity to think through topics and also guide them into doing so by providing learning stations and discussion questions. Students will gain a deeper understanding of topics not only through individual research and reflection, but also through communication with their peers and viewing online sources.
*This product includes 4 research topics for students to explore via stations (discussion questions for each station are provided), 4 possible sources for students to use (1 for each topic--also a stations activity with discussion questions), 1 assignment description for the research paper, and 1 pre-writing activity to get them thinking about each topic before they ever begin doing research or talk with their peers about viewpoints and opinions. While I used these materials for group stations where students rotate every 8-10 minutes, they can also be assigned as individual work/exploration. These are in the form of PDF documents. If any buyers would like them in a different format, feel free to contact me! :)
*Some discussion questions on the topic stations are based on suggested assignments located in Concepts in Composition: Theory and Practice in the Teaching of Writing by Irene L. Clark.