Watching the news this morning there was a story about a baby panda growing stronger in the zoo. Isn't it ridiculously cute? As usual, it got me to thinking about zoos and breeding programs and endangered species….and off I go!
With the new Common Core, teachers can turn their focus from “the test” to teaching students to think for themselves. Sometimes it just takes a simple question. That seems to be the basis of “Problem-Based Learning.” Think about the question posed by the NYCDOE Nonfiction Reading and Opinion/ Argument writing task for 5th grade: “Should zoos exist?” or for older students, Room for Debate’s “Does Captive Breeding Distract from Conservation?” These simple questions can be the basis for some great informational reading and research-based writing and some great critical thinking.
Check out these resources that provide different perspectives on the debate on zoos:
The same resources can be found here, all neatly arranged in this “live binder” – a digital binder that will allow you to share all of these resources with your students in one easy place. Have your students do the research and use this great persuasion map from readwritethink.org to get their writing started!
Jumpstart their thinking!
Having a discussion before students start writing can help them understand new perspectives and gain a deeper understanding of the issues. The SCAN tool at TregoED.org has a great new scenario “Should Zoos Exist?” (free until January 7th) complete with scenario, four perspectives, resource links and a private discussion format to get them started.