Analyzing "Silent Spring" & Researching Environmental Concerns
Lesson 1 of 5
Objective: SWBAT critically analyze the illustrations, structure, tone, imagery, and impact of Silent Spring and investigate an environmental issue of their choosing in a style similar to Carson's for an oral report.
Since I will be absent this hour, my students will review the historical context of the unit with a quiz using their self-generated Post-Modernism historical context notes as a reference. This quiz will test both main ideas directly stated in the chapter and inferences that can be made from the text. Like all reading quizzes, this quiz should be easy to pass as long as students critically read the assignment and thoughtfully took notes over the material. Since it is heavier in details than usual, I am allowing students to use their notes, though normally I wouldn't do so.
Immediately after the quiz, students will move on to the next independent part of their task-list for today.
- Scroll through the excerpt. As a reader, how do the illustrations impact you? What effect do you think they might have on Carson's message? What do you think it says about Carson's credibility or motivations?
- What's the tone of this opening chapter? Use examples to back up your assessment and remember to choose an emotion word six letters or more.
- Why would Carson choose to open her book on industrial pollution this way? What purpose would she have in mind?
- What effect does this framing have on you as a reader? Is it effective? Why or why not?
- What imagery is most appealing to you in this opening chapter? Why? Share at least one specific example.
- According to Carson, what is to blame for the environmental crisis she explains in this book? Use textual evidence to support your assertion.
- What is your reaction to Carson's viewpoint so far? Write a paragraph comparing & contrasting your viewpoint to hers using textual evidence to support your analysis of what she says.
Finally, students will read "Rachel Carson & the Silent Spring" by Douglas Allchin, stopping along the way to answer the questions embedded in the text (pages 188, 190, 192, & 195) and questions #3-7 at the end of the article. This informational text adds an additional layer to this project, as it provides commentary on Rachel Carson's ground-breaking work and offers students a rigorous text about a complex, relevant, and meaningful social issue. The answers to these questions should also appear on the Google Doc that students have been working on throughout the day.
For homework (or in class if students finish with their day's assignment early and have headphones), watch the video compilation of DDT advertising & coverage.
While viewing, students need to add the arguments that DDT-advocates make to their Rachel Carson documents. Then, answer the following questions:
- Were there any errors in rhetoric & argumentation made in this video? Identify any errors in argument construction that you see.
- Are the people in the film effectively refuting the information presented by Carson? Use examples to support your viewpoint.
Finally, students will need to choose and claim (by writing their name next to a topic on the spreadsheet) a topic listed on the Environmental Topics Spreadsheet, then find credible research about the topic. Use the Environmental Research Outline document to outline the modern-day environmental issue, which you'll present next time.
Students will present their environmental issues topics next class period when I return!