In this eight-week, research-based module, students explore the benefits and harmful consequences of the use of the controversial pesticide DDT.
In Unit 1, students begin the novel Frightful’s Mountain (640L) by Jean Craighead George. Students will read closely to practice citing evidence and drawing inferences from this compelling text as they begin to think about the interactions between people and the natural world. They also will read informational texts and watch videos to gather evidence and trace arguments about the uses, benefits, and harmful consequences of DDT, its affects on the environment, and its use in the battle against malaria. At the end of this unit, students will participate in a Fishbowl discussion to begin to articulate their evidence-based opinions about the central question: “Do the benefits of DDT outweigh its harmful consequences?”
In Unit 2, students will read the remainder of the novel, focusing on the how the main character, Frightful, is affected by the actions of other people and her own interactions with the natural world. Students also will engage in a research project, continuing to explore the central question of the module. Students will read several complex texts, both print and digital, in order to collect relevant information in a structured researcher’s notebook. To help them grapple with this issue, students learn a decision-making process called “Stakeholder Consequences Decision-Making” (see the end of this document for details). This process will help students understand the implications of various choices, and will scaffold their ability to determine—based on evidence and their own values—what they believe can and should happen. Unit 2 culminates with students synthesizing all their reading thus far in order to make and present their own evidence-based claim about the use of DDT.
In Unit 3, students choose the most compelling evidence and write a position paper in which they support the claim they made (at the end of Unit 2). As a mid-unit assessment, students will submit their best draft of this position paper. As an end of unit assessment, students will submit a published copy, as well as a reflection on the writing process. As the final performance task, students share their findings by creating a scientific poster and presenting that poster to peers during a hosted gallery. This task addresses ELA standards R.6.1, W.6.1, W.6.4, W.6.4, and L.6.6.