The Power of Information

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SWBAT analyze the important role of information through a true story.

Big Idea

"The pen is mightier than the sword."

Warm Up

10 minutes

To open class today, I will display the phrase, "The pen is mightier than the sword." I will ask students to respond to this phrase in their journal -"What do you think it means? Can you give an example of when this might be true?"


20 minutes

For today's lesson we will be using the article "The Boy's Who Fought the Nazi's" from Scholastic Scope's April 2013 magazine.  Since the magazine is for subscribers only, I have included a three page preview of the article in resources to allow you to see a bit of it.  If you follow me you know that I am a huge fan of Scope. However, I know that not everyone has access.  As always, if you do not, look for similar ideas and materials to implement the same concepts and ideas.  There are many ways to teach this lesson with other texts.

I will begin by asking students to open up to the article and scan through the pages.  My students are really into anything about the Holocaust right now, so I know this piece will get their attention.  Then, I'll tell them that today they have a treat.  They get to hear from the author. I'll draw student attention to the SMART board and play the video of editor Kristin Lewis discussing her research and development of this piece.

After the video I'll ask students, "So, now that you've heard from her, what do you think the author wants you to get out of this article?  Is she just going to teach us more of what we have already learned about the holocaust or is she going to bring out something that we haven't already discussed?

Hopefully, they will have caught that she is going to bring out how Nazi's controlled information to control the people.

After the video, we will read the article together and discuss the role of propaganda -what it is? How it was used?  Many of my students associate propaganda with the bad guys since we have discussed Hitler's negative use of information before.  So, I will share the two pictures (shared in resources) and discuss how propaganda was used in Germany, but also here in the US during WWII.  I want students to see that information, as we have discussed can and has been used for good in history.  This piece will show them how boys their own age did just that.


Independent Work

20 minutes

At this point, I will have students take a handout from the caddy. The handout, from Scope, contains several multi-part short response questions.  The questions focus on the use and importance of information and ask students to both recall what they read and analyze the interaction between people, events and ideas. 

Students will complete this as a table, discussing and sharing their thoughts as I move around the room facilitating the work.

Wrap Up

5 minutes

To wrap up class today, I will ask students to revisit their journal entry from the beginning of class, and share at their table how their thoughts have changed about the phrase.