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What’s the Best Solution to Climate Change?

Created by:
Date: Jul 31, 2021
Duration: 55 minutes
Grades: 6th, 7th, 8th
Subject: English Language Arts
Keywords: climate change, climate emergency, renewable energy, climate crisis, food waste, CER, compare and contrast, girls education, plant-based diets
Formats: Google Docs, Google Slides, YouTube Video
Synopsis

This lesson teaches how to write a claim-evidence-reasoning paragraph. Students learn about the best solutions to address climate change. Then students choose one solution to climate change and write a paragraph. Students explain why it is the best solution to climate change.


Step 1 - Inquire: Teacher shares a video summarizing climate change for context.


Step 2 - Investigate: Students take notes while watching four videos of solutions to climate change. Then the teacher explains how to write the paragraph.


Step 3 - Inspire: Students select one of the solutions to climate change and write their own paragraphs.


Accompanying Teaching Materials

Inquire
10 minutes
  • Teacher introduces the lesson.

    • The goal of this lesson is to write a 5-8 sentence paragraph. The paragraph will make a claim and support it with evidence.
    • The topic for the lesson will be the solutions to climate change.
    • Students open their own document where they will take notes on the videos.
  • Teacher shows a video on slide 2. This video is a brief overview of the climate crisis so students have some context and background information. Note: Students do not take notes on the first video. It is an overview of the climate crisis focusing on greenhouse emissions. Note-taking begins with the second video on slide 3.
Investigate
25 minutes
  • Teacher shows videos on slides 3-6. Videos are approximately 3-5 minutes each. Students take notes in their documents while they watch the videos. Students consider which topic they would like to write about as they watch.

  • Students can take notes on the following:
    • Hard facts - who, what, where, when, why, how.
    • Key vocabulary.
    • Emotional reactions to the videos, which will help them decide which solution to choose.
  • Teacher uses slide 7 to explain how to write the paragraph.
  • Teacher explains how to write a claim sentence, sentences with supporting evidence, and a closing sentence.
  • Teacher shares the following tips:
    • Follow the color coding in the example paragraph.
    • The more hard facts in the supporting evidence sentences, the stronger the argument. Include events, places, names, dates, etc.
    • This shorthand for paragraph structure:
      • Say what you will say (claim sentence)
      • Say it (supporting evidence sentences)
      • Say what you said (closing sentence)
Inspire
20 minutes
  • Students write their paragraphs in their own documents.

  • There is, of course, no right answer. These solutions are all necessary to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • This lesson is terrific for teaching paragraph structure.
  • The color coding of the sentences in the paragraph is really helpful, especially for concrete thinkers.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Project Drawdown is an excellent organization that quantifies solutions to climate change. This is great background reading before the lesson. If you sort the solutions by scenario 1 (2°C temperature rise by 2100, then reduced food waste is the #1 solution. If you sort the solutions by scenario 2 (1.5°C temperature rise by 2100), then onshore wind turbines are the #1 solution. These two solutions (food waste and renewable energy) are two of the four solutions presented in this lesson.
  • Encourage the students to use as many hard facts as possible in their supporting sentences. These include dates, names, places, and specific events.
  • You can use 2-3 videos of solutions to climate change if you do not want to use all of them.
  • This lesson can be paired with the StC Lesson Plan What’s the Worst Impact of Climate Change?

Differentiation

  • Most students will benefit from color coding their sentences. Encourage them to keep their text highlighted as they write. They can even keep their paragraphs highlighted after they finish.

  • Weaker students may write only five sentences. Stronger students may expand more in their supporting sentences.
  • If students are struggling with their closing sentences, ask them to read their claim sentences aloud. Sometimes this helps guide their thinking.
  • Stronger students who finish early can read their paragraphs to one another, discuss the writing process, and discuss the climate crisis.
Standards
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Writing
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Writing
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Writing
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence

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