Language Arts Lessons: Reading the newspaper for critical thinking and writing about environmental public health

Big Idea

The print media is a major source of information bout our world. It is a vehicle not just to learn about the state of our world, or country, or neighborhood, but to empower individuals and communities to take action in the face of threatening situations. TCE contamination of the water and soil in South Tucson is one example of how individuals were able to make meaningful connections through the media to solve an environmental health problem.

Essential Question

How do you write about actual environmental health issues that are impacting a community to accurately inform the stakeholders and avoid sensationalism and exaggeration?

Learning Cycle
 
Title  
Engage

What is the Problem?
DESCRIPTION
How do we assess the problem? What information sources are collected and how is that information processed?
OBJECTIVES 
-List all that each student knows about TCE contamination in Tucson 
* Analyze the TCE problem using the organizational device of a K-W-L paper
* Identify individual concerns and questions about TCE contamination in Tucson 
* Make connections between facts in informational brochure and one other source and student questions
* Make connections between science classes and everyday living

Explore

Reading for Knowledge: Going Beyond the Hype
DESCRIPTION
Students explore ways in which information is sensationalized. 
OBJECTIVES 
* Read a newspaper article about an environmental health issue identifying words, phrases, and rationales that sensationalize actual scientific understanding of the matter. 
* Analyze a newspaper article to separate facts from exaggeration

WORD Microsfot Word Icon 
 

Explain

Focusing on What Is Important
DESCRIPTION
Students learn ways of picking out the important facts. 
OBJECTIVES 
* Read with understanding texts dealing with environmental health issues 
* Learn and practice the skills of summarizing main ideas and picking out significant details from texts about scientific matters

WORD Microsfot Word Icon

Apply

Writing about the Problem & Solutions
DESCRIPTION
Students synthesize information from multiple sources to create a new report 
OBJECTIVES 
* Synthesize information from multiple sources to create a new document
* Write a five paragraph researched paper
* Write a paper that both explains an environmental health problem and its possible solutions
* Apply the skills of summarizing main ideas and picking out significant details from texts about scientific matters to be able to write about a particular environmental health issue
*Write using the conventions of English properly