Relating Dams to Rights and the Common Good

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SWBAT identify the rights of citizens related to the topics of dams. SWBAT identify ways that dams impact the common good.

Big Idea

Dams provide benefits and drawbacks for the community and natural environment.


15 minutes

I begin by asking students to consider what rights they and their families have as citizens of the community, state and, world. I ask them to discuss these rights with their table groups. A video of one group discussing their rights can be found here. After each group has had the opportunity to discuss their rights, I ask students to share their thinking with the whole class and record their observations on the white board. I then explain what is meant by the common good. I ask students to consider things that people do for the common good. A student generated list can be found here. I inform the students that in the day's lesson they will be discussing how dams impact rights and the common good. This initial discussion builds a base of shared knowledge which students can draw from throughout their work. 

Guided Practice

10 minutes

Next, I show students a copy of the rubric which will be used to judge their final paper. This rubric was created by the State of Washington as a part of the required classroom based assessment. I focus the students' attention on the need to clearly state an opinion, relate the issue to rights, and relate the issue to the common good in order to earn a passing score of 3 or 4.

I inform my students that they will be able to complete all three requirements in their introductory paragraph. I display the CBA introduction example on the whiteboard and discuss how a paragraph could be written to address each required component.

Independent Writing

15 minutes

I ask students to use their paragraph outline to draft their own introductory paragraph. I remind students that this paragraph is used to convey both their opinion and a discussion of how dams impact rights and the common good. In the center box, I ask students to write a sentence summarizing their opinion on dams. I then ask students to write two sentences (in the top boxes) about how dams impact rights and two sentences (in the bottom boxes) about how dams impact the common good.

Samples of student's completed introductions can be found here and here.