Waste Not, Want Not

6th - 12th

Discuss the causes and effects of droughts with this New York Times instructional activity. Middle schoolers read the article "New to Being Dry, the South Struggles to Adapt," and discuss the possible solutions for water waste. They prepare public information campaigns to raise awareness about water conservation in their community. Use this instructional activity to address how an author of informational text addresses opposing viewpoints.

Resource Details

Instructional Design

Guided Reading: Galapagos Islands

Students read nonfiction text. For this guided reading lesson, students work with the teacher in small groups to practice reading strategies and increase literacy by reading about the Galapagos Islands.

Cross-Genre Lesson: Exploring a Thematic Idea of Informational and Literary Texts

Let the synthesizing begin as your learners trace and explore thematic ideas through informational and literary texts that concern Ramses II and the fall of Saddam Hussein. Learners begin by examining an encyclopedia article concerning Ramses and progress to “Ozymandias” by Shelly, and an article from National Geographic of the same topic but of a different tone. Readers compare the three texts and finalize the persona of Ramses. They also develop a theme from the three texts. Learners connect the themes through a photograph of the fall of Saddam Hussein’s statue in a Bagdad city square. From that, they analyze hubris of the leaders.  Everyone in the class is challenged with argument and synthesis essays. 

Persuasion in Historical Context: The Gettysburg Address

The Gettysburg Address is a powerful text. Use it to teach persuasion and the importance of word choice. The lesson detailed here includes a scaffolded background knowledge activity that includes image analysis of photos from the Civil War era. After your pupils have a strong understanding of the time period, lead them in a class reading and send them off to practice a group reading. The lesson includes a vocabulary list and a series of activities that focus on literary devices, repetition in particular. This Common Core designed resource will help your learners understand both the text and the power of language.

Reading Comprehension: History of the Periodic Table

Although the article that launches this lesson is about the history of the Periodic Table, the objective is reading comprehension. Using the eight-page informational text, learners answer five comprehension questions and craft one essay. They utilize text features such as headings and graphics to more efficiently move through the questions, and mark the text as they read to note important facts. This is also a great way to teach vocabulary in context and text features. The reading is not difficult or long.

Save an Endangered Species

Have your young learners work in pairs to find and research an endangered species. They use research to develop ideas about saving their animal from extinction. Pairs develop a three-dimensional model of the animal's habitat. Then, they design an advertisement with a way to save their animal. Emphasize the use of summary to help your class synthesize the information they learn from their research.

Preparing to Write the Research Paper: An Information Location Mini-lesson

Students examine encyclopedias, reference sets, books, and electronic databases as research tools. They format bibliographic information into MLA format after identifying the information for all of their materials.

Using Waste Heat to Generate Electricity

High school energy enthusiasts will be able to explain how thermal energy that is a byproduct of industry can be used as an alternative way to generate electricity. After some discussion, brainstorming, listening to podcasts, and research, they will zoom in on a specific example of an industry using this method of electricity generation. They work together to create their own podcast using the fabuous MapMaker Interactive software on the National Geographic Education website.

Introduction to Waste Management

Students research the difference between hazardous waste and municipal solid waste. Different companies in their community are researched to determine which are contributing waste in their region, what type of waste is generated, the effect it may have on human health, and the environmental effects. Students use researched information to develop a strategy to preserve resources in their town.

Identifying Information-The Dogon of Africa

Middle schoolers practice categorizing information.  In this sociology lesson, students categorize information based on a video about the Dogon people of Mali.  Middle schoolers work to separate information into the following categories: missing, conflicting, unclear, and irrelevant.  Students list specific examples of each category from the video.

Kumeyaay Indians

Useful for literary analysis, citing textual evidence, or summary skills, this instructional activity about the Kumeyaay Indians would be a good addition to your language arts class. Middle schoolers read novels and summarize the literature in their own words. They create discussion questions, identify and share important parts of the literature, and make connections to the outside world using textual evidence.

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