Performance Task: Water Management Position Paper | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G7:M4B:U3

Performance Task: Water Management Position Paper

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Building on the research and decision-making that students did in Unit 2, Unit 3 is an extended writing process during which students draft, revise, edit, and publish a research-based position paper. In the first half of the unit, students analyze a model position paper and plan their own. Students have several opportunities to talk through their ideas and get feedback to improve their plans. The mid-unit assessment is the best first draft of the position paper (RI.7.1, W.7.1a, b, e, and W.7.4).

In the second half of the unit, students revise their position papers based on teacher feedback. The end of unit assessment is a student reflection on the process of writing the position paper, using evidence from the students' own work (RI.7.1, W.7.1c, d, W.7.4, W.7.5, and L.7.6). Finally, students engage in the performance task, where they will share a visual representation of their position paper with their classmates.

Big Ideas & Guiding Questions

  • How do you create a strong argument based on research?
  • How does a writing process help me improve my writing? 
  • How does a writer address audience and purpose?
  • How do I give and receive feedback in the most effective way possible?
  • Argument writing requires a clear claim, reasons, evidence, and sound reasoning.
  • Creating a strong writing piece involves prewriting, planning, drafting, revising, and editing.

Content Connections

This module is designed to address English Language Arts standards as students read informational texts about water management and sustainability. However, the module intentionally incorporates Science concepts and themes to support potential interdisciplinary connections to this compelling content. These intentional connections are described below. 

Big ideas and guiding questions are informed by the Next Generation Science Standards:
Influence of Engineering, Technology, and Science on Society and the Natural World

All human activity draws on natural resources and has both short- and long-term consequences, positive as well as negative, for the health of people and the natural environment.

The Roles of Water in Earth's Surface Processes
Water continually cycles among land, ocean, and atmosphere via transpiration, evaporation, condensation and crystallization, and precipitation, as well as downhill flows on land (MS-ESS2-4).

Earth and Human Activity
Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capital consumption of natural resources impact earth's systems.


Each unit is made up of a sequence of between 5-20 lessons. The “unit at a glance” chart in the curriculum map breaks down each unit into its lessons, to show how the curriculum is organized in terms of standards address, supporting targets, ongoing assessment, and protocols. It also indicates which lessons include the mid-unit and end-of-unit assessments.

Texts and Resources to Buy

Texts that need to be procured. Please download the Trade Book List for procurement guidance.

Text or Resource Quantity ISBNs
The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water
by Charles Fishman
One per student
ISBN: 978-1439102084, 1439102082

Optional: Community, Experts, Fieldwork, Service, and Extensions


  • Invite members of the community who are writers or researchers to work with the students on crafting their argument or planning, drafting, and revising their papers.
  • Ask local artists or graphic designers to work with students on the visual representations of their position papers.

If a local museum has an exhibit on environmental issues, especially an art museum, arrange for a visit for your students to investigate how these issues might be communicated visually.

Arrange for students to share the visual representations of their position papers with the community. Consider asking a local community center, public library, or other community building for space to create an exhibit of the students' work. 


  • Students create a museum-quality exhibit of their work, incorporating their position papers and visual representations, as well as other elements such as models, diagrams, charts, and photographs.
  • Further study into the ways the local community manages water.
  • An education campaign to improve water management in the local community.

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