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Grade Range:

Decision Making
Lesson Plan
Language Arts
50 Minutes
Chelsea Werner

Instructional Unit Content

Content Area Standard
ELA7W2 The student demonstrates competence in a variety of genres.
The student produces a multi-paragraph persuasive essay that:
b. States a clear position or perspective in support of a proposition or proposal.
c. Describes the points in support of the proposition, employing well-articulated, relevant
Tag Standard: Creative Thinking and Problem Solving
TAG Standard
7P2: The student designs, applies, evaluates, and adapts a variety of innovative strategies to when
problem solving (e.g., recognizes problems, defines problems, identifies possible solutions, selects
optimal solution, implements solution, and evaluates solution).

The focus of this lesson is to give students the opportunity to apply the skills needed to determine
solutions to damage caused to Earths environment.

Enduring Understanding(s)
At the end of this lesson the student will understand that
a. There are many ways in which our environment is being damaged
b. There are also many ways to solve this problem
Essential Question(s)

How can we make better choices that positively affect our environment?

Evidence of Learning
What students should know:
a. Key elements of persuasive writing are a clear position statement, supported by specific
b. Evidence can be a quote, facts, or statistics.
c. Structure is important in conveying our message or persuading our readers.
What students should be able to do:
a. Make, defend, and evaluate decisions
b. Choose between difficult alternatives to make a decision that is right according to their ethical stance
c. Support their decisions with evidence
d. Synthesize their decision and use it to persuade others.
Suggested Vocabulary

Greenhouse Gas
Climate Change
- Environmental Issues
-Decision-making handout #3
-Priority Pyramid
- Synthesis Activity

1. The Hook: Ask students if they have ever had to make a difficult
decision. Write about it in writers notebook. Share, if students are

Share objectives for the lesson.


Distribute Environmental Overview. This is meant to be a crosscurricular lesson, using issues with which they are already familiar from
social studies. Candidates will read the overview. Discussion: What
else do you know about these issues? How widespread are they?
Students should add information from the discussion to the overview.
In small groups students will discuss which, in their opinion, is the most
critical issue facing our environment today. Which needs the most


Explain to students that these kinds of decisions are made every day by
governments, charitable organizations and donors considering giving
money to charitable organizations.


Making the Decision using Criteria: The instructor will facilitate a

discussion on criteria and how they are used to evaluate decisions.


Priority Pyramid: Explain to students that thoughtful decisions often

require us to reflect on our own perspectives and values. Have students
rank their perspectives in the criteria on the priority pyramid and reflect
on it as a group.


Using the Criteria: Students will use the chart and handout #3 to
decide which environmental issue is most important. They will discuss
this in their groups, but their final decision and support will be on their
Rating: They will do this on a scale of 1 to 5 (with 1 being the least
severe, and 5 being the most severe) the environmental issue with the
highest result number needs to the most immediate attention.


Discuss synthesis activities. Each candidate will complete this during

the next class period.

EVALUATION: Student Synthesis Activity

Anchor Text(s):
Handout 1:
Handout 2:
Handout 3:
Handout 4:

Environmental Issues Overview

Priority Period
Environmental Issues Handout #3
Synthesis Activity

Environmental Issues Overview

I. Greenhouse Gasses
Greenhouse gases from human activities are the most significant driver of observed climate
change since the mid-20th century. As greenhouse gas emissions from human activities increase,
they build up in the atmosphere and warm the climate, leading to many other changes around the
worldin the atmosphere, on land, and in the oceans. These changes have both positive and
negative effects on people, society, and the environmentincluding plants and animals. Because
many of the major greenhouse gases stay in the atmosphere for tens to hundreds of years after
being released, their warming effects on the climate persist over a long time and can therefore
affect both present and future generations.

What else do you know about this issue?

II. Overpopulation
The InterAcademy Panel Statement on Population Growth has stated that many environmental
problems, such as rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, global warming, and pollution,
are aggravated by the population expansion. Other problems associated with overpopulation
include the increased demand for resources such as fresh water and food, starvation and
malnutrition, consumption of natural resources (such as fossil fuels) faster than the rate of
regeneration, and a deterioration in living conditions. However, some believe that waste and
over-consumption, especially by wealthy nations, is putting more strain on the environment than

What else do you know about this issue?


Air Pollution

Air pollution is the introduction of harmful materials into the Earth's atmosphere, possibly
causing disease, death to humans, damage to other living organisms such as food crops, or the
natural or built environment. The atmosphere is a complex natural gaseous system that is
essential to support life on planet Earth. Stratospheric ozone depletion due to air pollution has
been recognized as a threat to human health as well as to the Earth's ecosystems. Indoor air
pollution and urban air quality are listed as two of the world's worst toxic pollution problems in
the 2008 Blacksmith Institute World's Worst Polluted Places report. According to the 2014
WHO report, air pollution in 2012 caused the deaths of around 7 million people worldwide.

What else do you know about this issue?

IV. Water Pollution
Water pollution is a major global problem which requires ongoing evaluation and revision of
water resource policy at all levels. It has been suggested that it is the leading worldwide cause of

deaths and diseases, and that it accounts for the deaths of more than 14,000 people daily. An
estimated 580 people in India die of water pollution related illness every day. Around 90% the
water in the cities of China is polluted, and as of 2007, half a billion Chinese had no access to
safe drinking water. In the most recent national report on water quality in the United States, 45%
of assessed stream miles, 47% of assessed lake acres, and 32% of assessed bays and estuarine
square miles were classified as polluted. The head of Chinas national development agency in
2007 said 1/4th the length of China's seven main rivers were so poisoned the water harmed the
Water is typically referred to as polluted when it is impaired by contaminants and either does not
support a human use, such as drinking water, or undergoes a shift in its ability to support its
biotic communities, such as fish.

What else do you know about this issue?

V. Resource Depletion
The exploitation of natural resources started to emerge in the 19th century as natural resource
extraction developed. During the 20th century, energy consumption rapidly increased. Today,
about 80% of the worlds energy consumption is sustained by the extraction of fossil fuels,
which consists of oil, coal and gas. Intensive agriculture is an example of a mode of production
that hinders many aspects of the natural environment, for example the degradation of forests in a
terrestrial ecosystem and water pollution in an aquatic ecosystem. As the world population rises
and economic growth occurs, the depletion of natural resources influenced by the unsustainable
extraction of raw materials becomes an increasing concern.

What else do you know about this issue?

Environmental Issues Priority Pyramid

1. Read all items.
2. Consider the importance of each criterion. Is one more important than the
3. Rank order based on considerations from most important to least important.
4. Reflect on priorities. Consider why one is better than another. Does
everyone in your group have the same priorities?
Numbers of people affected
Environmental impact (this includes people and wildlife)
Cost to solve the problem (manpower and dollars)
Ethical impact

Rate each issue based on the criteria. 1= least severe, and 5=most severe


of people




Air Pollution

Water Pollution


Cost to
solve the



Handout #3
Environmental Issues
1. Examine the five issues described in the Environmental Issues handout. In groups, judge
each issues importance based on the following criteria:
Numbers of people affected
Environmental impact (this includes people and wildlife)
Cost to solve the problem (manpower and dollars)
Ethical impact

2. Compare the results and discuss with your group.

3. Choose the most important one based on the criteria. It is permissible to have different
results within the group. For this exercise, you do not need to have a consensus.

Be prepared to defend your answer.

In the space below, write your choice and list at least three reasons to support your

Most important issue facing the Earths environment today:

Supporting details:





Synthesis Activity
Consider that you work for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). You have been asked,
along with your time, to decide which issue facing our environment is most important, so that the
administration can send government aid to solve the most pressing issue. You must present your
findings to the committee and persuade them that your issue should receive aid. You may
present your findings in one of three ways:

Prezi on-line presentation

Power Point presentation

Remember, you must back up your opinion with supporting evidence!