In this first unit, students are introduced to the central theme of this module: the delicate balance between human needs and the needs of the natural world. Students launch their reading of Frightful's Mountain, focusing their learning about the natural world by reading through the perspective of Frightful, a peregrine falcon. Students then begin to analyze informational texts and videos about DDT, a pesticide used widely throughout the world to fight malaria, but banned in the United States in 1972 due to its harmful environmental consequences. In these articles and videos, students to learn to trace and evaluate an author's argument, claims, and evidence.
In the mid-unit assessment, students read a new informational article and watch a new video, completing a graphic organizer identical to the one they have been using to trace the author's argument during lessons. In the second half of the unit, students grapple with the central question of this module: Do the benefits of DDT outweigh its harmful consequences? Students reflect on the novel, the articles they read, and the videos they watched as well as a variety of new visual information in the form of charts, graphs, and maps. For their end of unit assessment, students participate in a Fishbowl discussion in which they are expected to advocate their position in response to the central question, using their own visual aids to help them support their position. This unit uses science content to teach literacy standards, but is not intended to replace hands-on science instruction.