Activity 1: An opinionative essay on climate change – a truth or just an inconvenience?
The students will research and write an opinionative essay presenting a point of view about climate change.
Key learning/Subject areas/Year level(s)
▪ Personal Development
▪ Health and Physical Education
▪ Studies of Society and the Environment
▪ Personal Learning
(Detailed curriculum links are included at the end of this document)
Possible Year levels
Years 8, 9 and 10
Up to 5 periods, depending on the extent of research required
On completion of this activity students will be able to:
▪ understand the key arguments for and against climate change; ▪ identify effective strategies for communicating their own points of view; ▪ understand the importance of research and knowledge in decision making processes.
The output will be an opinionative essay.
The debate on climate change continues to rage. Consistently we are urged to think globally and act locally, and yet there are a significant number of climate change deniers presenting alternative arguments to the issue.
In this activity, your students will need to find out what the arguments supporting climate change, and opposing it as an issue, are. They will need to determine their own point of view and then plan and write their own well defended argumentative essay.
Students will need to have experience with:
▪ effective research strategies to find information to support their arguments; ▪ working in small cooperative groups;
▪ the structure and process of debating.
The outcome of this activity will be an argumentative essay presenting the student’s point of view in relation to climate change.
How do I teach this activity?
Step 1 – Whole class activity: brainstorming
Spend some time introducing the idea of the argumentative essay with your students. If this is one of the first argumentative essays they have had to write, discuss with them the structure of this type of essay. You can use Worksheet 1 – Hints for Writing an Argumentative Essay to help you.
Ask them what they already know about presenting their own arguments, the structure and protocols involved.
Present the essay topic: Climate change – a truth or just an inconvenience? Follow this discussion with a class brainstorm of the arguments that support or oppose the existence of climate change.
List their responses on the board under “+” and “-“.
You could show them the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” or YouTube videos The Most Terrifying Video You’ll Ever See or How it all ends to stimulate their thinking.
Step 2 – Individual activity: planning and research
Once you have discussed the topic and the essay structure, give your students time to plan and then research the issue.
Your students need time to research their arguments, using resources such as the Internet to find supporting evidence (refer to the extensive list in this activity to help get them started).
This research may take 2-3 periods.
Step 3- Individual activity: developing your argument
Once the research has been done, each student should have decided which arguments they will use, and the supporting evidence to back up their point of view.
This is the time for them to write up their essay plan and formulate each argument.
Step 4 – Individual activity: final preparation
Your students need to draft, review and then finalise and finesse their arguments.
Step 5 – Whole class activity: submission and class discussion Once each student has completed and submitted their essay, spend some time reflecting with your students on what they learned, both about the issue of climate change and about conveying effective arguments.
Once these activities have been completed, you could encourage the students to undertake one of the remaining Climate...
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