Lesson 31

Performance Assessment: Destroying Our Wetlands; What Have We Got To Lose? Day 1

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SWBAT synthesize information from multiple viewpoints to determine the solution to a problem

Big Idea

How do we keep everyone happy and solve a problem when we all have different viewpoints?


Over the next two days, my students will put their skills to the test to work together to decide on the outcome of a sick Chesapeake Bay. They will be given a scenario about the bay and the danger it faces. Then students will break into groups based on multiple points of view and discuss how they will save the bay. Students will read information about their given point of view, complete with information about trade-offs of their decisions. When the groups have finished reading and collecting information, representatives from each group will come prepared for socratic seminar to discuss how they will all save the bay. This also ties into my science unit right now, so if you want to give your kids a little background first, my kids loved this Magic Schoolbus episode. 

Introduction and Close Reading

30 minutes

Over the next two days you will complete a series of reading tasks to ultimately prepare for a socratic seminar about the health of an ecosystem. Today we will focus on learning about the problems faced in the Chesapeake Bay and then you will be assigned a role of a citizen around the Bay. 

The kids will read two pieces today.  I want them to read the Chesapeake Bay problems first so they understand the problem that needs to be solved. Then, I'll give the kids a role of either an ordinary citizen, land developer, recreational boater, watermen or a dairy farmer. 

Your first close read is to set the stage for the problem. You need to know what's going on before you can work to solve the problem. While reading, I want you to be using all of your viewpoint skills from this WHOLE unit to really think about what the problem is, where you stand on that problem and what we might be able to do to fix it. I will give you about 30 minutes to read and annotate. 

While students are reading, I'll move around the room to check in on students who generally struggle. I want to make sure they are reading and annotating because most of my students who struggle deal mostly with stamina and focus. If I sense that enough of them are losing focus, I may pull the group back quickly to meet with me so that I can have them read to stopping points with me. I'm hoping that won't be necessary today.

Now we'll look at the bay’s problems from several different points of view and see if we can come up with some solutions. We all know that solving problems requires making compromises. Sometimes we have to give up one thing to receive another. This is a trade-off. We’ll need all groups to consider these as we work together to do what is best. Depending on your point of view, you will find some solutions and trade-offs more difficult to live with than others. Each group will need to decide how it can best help the bay without giving up too much. While reading with your group, keep these things in mind. Then we’ll complete a solution sheet to collect our thoughts before getting into the Socratic seminar tomorrow. 

Group Collaboration

20 minutes

Once the kids have all finished reading, they'll get together to start working on the solutions sheet. My sheet came with my kit and this in't a sample I could find online like the rest of the pieces I included for you. I made a quick version for you that I think I'll use instead next year. 

While working on your problem-solving sheet, you'll need to consider the ways you contribute to the problems, the ways you can help solve the problems, some advantages and disadvantages of those solutions, and the trade-offs. This will take you some time today and tomorrow to prepare. 

Here are a few examples of what my kids were doing and a good example of a discussion.