InTeGrate Modules and Courses >Exploring Geoscience Methods > Unit 2: Climate Change, After the Storm > Activity 2.3: Constructing the Argument
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Activity 2.3: Constructing the Argument

Jeff Thomas, Central Connecticut State University (thomasjed@ccsu.edu) on module writing team with Scott Linneman and Jim Ebert.

Summary

In Activity 2.3, students make an argument from evidence to address the problem: "To what extent should we build or rebuild coastal communities?" Students work as a team to complete a graphic organizer. This task helps them organize an evidence-based position paper. Each student writes his or her own position paper.

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Learning Goals

By the end of this activity, pre-service teachers will be able to:

  • Make an argument from evidence to address the risks that climate change poses to coastal communities.

Context for Use

The position paper is a formative assessment for this learning module (Units 1, 2, and 3). However, this paper can be considered the summative assessment for Unit 2.

As with Activity 2.1 and 2.2, there is no need to introduce science content prior to implementing this activity. Class size should be limited to 24 students; they will worki in small groups for the first part of this activity (e.g. the graphic organizer). Computers should be available for students to write their papers, if done in class. Although this page provides an overview of the activity, two student handouts are available and can be modified easily.

Description and Teaching Materials

Materials

Provide students with the After the Storm handout (student directions) (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 58kB Jul17 24) or the electronic version of the student page. Provide students with Table 3: Constructing the Argument from the Table 1, 2, and 3 student handout (student work) (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 23kB Aug27 14). In addition, students will need the position paper rubric (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 16kB Sep15 14) if the instructor plans to grade this paper (recommended).

Activity Outline

The final part of this activity is for students to write an evidence-based position paper that responds to the Unit 2 problem (see introduction from Activity 2.2): To what extent should we build and/or rebuild coastal communities?

It is suggested that students complete the graphic organizer in Table 3: Constructing the Argument as a group. Directions to complete Table 3 are on the student handout After the Storm. Students must include the following criteria in their position paper:

  • Statement of the problem
  • Description of the study site
  • Claim that responds to the problem
  • Three working hypotheses for the claim
  • Rationale for the three working hypotheses
  • A counterclaim
  • A conclusion statement

Students should have about 30 minutes to work as a team to complete it.

Then, students should write their 500- to 1000-word position paper independently. It is recommended that this paper (not the organizer) be graded using the rubric below.

Position Paper Rubric (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 16kB Sep15 14)

Teaching Notes and Tips

Students should complete the graphic organizer as a group. They can do this at their tables, or projectors can display Table 3 on a white board. Alternatively, if time is an issue, have students complete the graphic organizer at home, but the instructor should review it before students write their papers. Papers should be completed outside of class.


Assessment

The position paper is a formative assessment for this module. However, it is recommend to grade this paper using the rubric provided.

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These materials are part of a collection of classroom-tested modules and courses developed by InTeGrate. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The collection is freely available and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
Explore the Collection »