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Polar Problems

Page history last edited by Ms. Edwards 14 years, 6 months ago

Polar Problems


Guiding Question: How have the people and animals living in the arctic Beaufort Sea area adapted to their extreme environments? How are these arctic dwellers interconnected with the rest of the world? 


Intro Persuasive Writing Project

Project: We have been asked to create a presentation as part of International Polar Year. We must prepare a brief (approximately 5 minute) presentation to persuade the countries of the United Nations of the interconnectedness of changes in the polar environments, their respective community, and the global community.


Historical View of Arctic Canada/Victoria Island Copper Inuit









Start here.  Arctic

Study and Agree: Acceptable Use Policy      Wiki Etiquette For Students  Must be completed before Step 4.


Step One:


See the critters by playing this game.


Research with note-taking strategies.


Choose partners. Research a specific arctic animal, plant, or human culture indigenous to the Beaufort Sea and its surrounding arctic regions and the many ways that the organism has adapted to such harsh habitats. (Make sure you understand the following terms: behavioral adaptation and biological adaptation.


Choose one of the following animals, plants, or human cultures indigenous to the Beaufort Sea area:

  • Ringed seal
  • Polar bear
  • Inupiat Eskimos
  • Athabascan Indians
  • Arctic cisco
  • Beluga Whales
  • Bowhead Whales
  • Kind Eider
  • Loons
  • Thick-billed Murres
  • Guillemots
  • Porcupine caribou
  • Albatross
  • Elephant seal
  • Fur seal
  • Arctic fox
  • Arctic Hare
  • Caribou
  • Arctic Tern
  • Puffin
  • Lichen
  • Arctic moss
  • Collared Lemming
  • Musk Ox
  • Narwhal
  • Walrus

Use the Internet, beginning with the resources listed below, to research their chosen topic guided by the

Polar Research handout


Be prepared to share their findings with the class about:

  • Size
  • Habitat
  • Diet
  • Predators
  • Adaptation to the environment (behavioral and biological)
  • Environmental Threats to survival
  • Connections of environmental issues to your life
  • Connections of environmental issues to world communities


Possible Links for you:  polar adaptations



Assignment: Anecdote

Be your animal or person! Write a "lively" anecdote of a slow motion event in your life!

Pretend to be the animal or person.

Think of an event that might happen.

Describe that even in slow motion.

Include the researched facts about your person or animal

Continue revising your anecdote so that it includes:






adaptations (behavioral and biological)

environmental issues

environmental threats



Vivid verbs (Action)

Nifty nouns (Names)



Short/Long sentences




Dialogue (Thinking/Talking)

Write your draft.  Then create a new page called "W7 Code Polar Story" using the Polar Story template.




  • Based upon what you've learned about plant, animal, and human adaptations in the Beaufort Sea communities, how do you think global warming affects these species?
  • Does what we do in ____________ (name of students' local area) really affect the life in the Beaufort Sea area?
  • Do you think our actions affect life in other polar regions, such as Antarctica?
  • How might what happens in these polar regions affect us and others around the world?


Think about our learning goals that will help us succeed in our Polar Problem Project.

Step 2

Hypothesize how what we do may affect the polar environments.


Brainstorm how you think these changes may ultimately affect us.


Explore the following resources to get more information about how global warming is changing the Arctic life, and how these changes may subsequently affect the place where we live.


Project Links:

NOAA: Global Warming FAQ

Global Warming: How Hot? How Soon?


Other Links:

Arctic Statistics

IPY Home



How does global warming work?










Discuss the two articles in class; use the information from the articles to revisit the following questions:

  • How might climate changes affect life in the Beaufort Sea area and other polar regions?
  • What is one cause of the climate changes in these areas?
  • Does what we do affect life in the Beaufort Sea area and other polar regions? How?
  • How might the happenings in polar regions, such as the Beaufort Sea area, affect us and others around the world?

Step 3





Step 4



Study and Agree: Acceptable Use Policy      Wiki Etiquette For Students  Must be completed before Step 5.



Next Step: 





Topic Resources













Go to the NOW Archive at http://www.pbs.org/now/thisweek/archive.html and select a program and subtitle that matches with their own perspectives or points of interest. Try these:


Process Resources





Download graphic organizers that fit your style



Cornell Note-taking  



A Cornell Note How to from Jim Burke



How to



Our google search lesson





How to



How to



How to



How to



How to



How to



How to from Chimacum Schools



How to



Gist Statements



Mead School District Gist Strategy (just like ours :)    )



An example: The article and the gist statement in twenty words



The procedure we use




Evaluating Web Sites






Links to: How To; Online Interactives to create citations



A place to enter your information to create your citation


Key words



How to choose key words --- note their is a table of contents to several pages






Rules for Headlines



Let's look at headlines.  What do you notice?  Which ones grab your attention?  Why and How?



Web and Print: What's the difference?



Writing Effective Headlines



Writing Effective Headlines



Headlines for the Web




How tos for writing great "leads"



Writing great leads





Write with action



Writing effective paragraphs



How To Step by Step



Paragraph Writing



Lots of information on paragraphs





How to Step by Step



How to Step by Step



Basic Writing Tips



Teens speak out



Teens speak out



Teen Issues on the Campaign



Advice from writers to writers



How to with movie



Web and Print: What's the difference?


Persuasive Writing



Let's look at what it is



Sample student essay



Interactive Persuasive Map Site



Letter Generator


Let's look at what it is -- our lessons



Online persuasive writing interactive helper



The Basics



Let's examine this rubric to review what we know about persuasive writing.



Use the right sidebar to find helps.



Download many helps we can use for lessons.  Which one works for you?



Sample Essay (partial available)



Sample persuasive essay from history



How To


Introductions and Conclusions:

Creating A Frame to guide your reader

  • Think of a single word, a story/historical reference, or a personal experience that can provide a visual way to explain your idea. It will be like "surrounding it much like a window frame surrounds a glass pane or a decorative frame surrounds a picture or mirror. Just as the right picture frame becomes one with the painting, the right rhetorical frame becomes one with the composition, enhancing as well as complementing."[1]
  • Refer to this frame as you introduce and conclude your letter.
  • Let the frame reinforce the main idea or bring in a sense of humor.
  • Examples from Romana Hillebrand:
    • Story/Poem Frame: "a student in my research class wrote a lengthy paper on the relationship between humans and plants, beginning her rather serious topic with a reference to a well-known nursery rhyme: 'Ring around the roses, a pocket full of posies . . . .'  She explains that the pocket full of flowers masked the stench of death during the time of the black plague, only one of the many useful purposes of plants that have benefited us throughout the ages. The paper ends with a reinforcement of the warning that we depend on plant life to add quality to our own lives: "Without plants, life on Earth would cease to exist as we know it: `ashes, ashes, we all fall down.'" and

    • Personal Experience Frame: "One student, writing about her struggle with obesity, puts to use the question that opens Snow White: 'Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?' The student quickly explains that, in her world, "fairest" is changed to "fattest." She further connects the device by describing her despair each time she stands before that cruel mirror. After revealing her struggle and her growing awareness of others who, for various reasons, do not "fit in," the paper ends with a new version of the mirror question: 'Who is the healthiest of them all?'" [2]

  • Introductions and conclusions tie your ideas together; using a story or experience frame adds a familiar and visual context that just may convince your readers to your view!




Build an actic/environment-focused website by creating and editing pages, uploading files and embedding photos, videos, documents, presentations, calendars, charts and more on issues and concerns about which you think will persuade others of the polar problem and its interconnected dilemma with us.



  • Working alone or collaborating with others, create one of the following:
    • a "guide to the arctic" website
    • a "guide to the arctic issues" website
    • a "compare the issues" website that compares the positions of the two issues (pro/con)
  • Collect articles, photos and videos on important Arctic/Environmental issues.
  • Add your opinions and analysis about which you think the next president should know and address about the Arctic:
    • In a gist statement, what is the issue?
    • In a gist statement, what is your opinion?
    • In a gist statement, what is your solution?
    • Ask a thoughtful (thick) question that causes others to analyze your opinion and your solution.[1]





Create, collaborate on and share professional-looking thirty second presentation about the Arctic and its issues, and the concerns you have for the Arctic and us.



  • Working alone or in a group, build a presentation on an Arcitic issue, and the issues and concerns about which you think the next president should know and address for the future of the Arctic.
  • Create a presentation that explains the differences between the issues involved in the Arctic.
  • Collect articles, photos and videos on important issues.
  • Add your opinions and analysis on the issues and concerns of the Arctic about which you think the next president should know and address:
    • In a gist statement, what is the issue?
    • In a gist statement, what is your opinion?
    • In a gist statement, what is your solution?
    • Ask a thoughtful (thick) question that causes others to analyze your opinion and your solution.[2][



Draw and add placemarks, photos and more to Google Maps, and share the results with others to show the location related to the issues and conerns of the Arctic about which you think the next president should know and address.



Working alone or in a group,

  • Create a MyMap to explore local history and landmarks that represent your issues on the Arctic.
  • Chart the travels of an Arctic creature which connect to other areas with similar concerns to yours about which you think the next president should know and address.
  • Include in your notations:
    • In a gist statement, what is the issue?
    • In a gist statement, what is your opinion?
    • In a gist statement, what is your solution?
    • Ask a thoughtful (thick) question that causes others to analyze your opinion and your solution.[3]



Final Product:

Write about the issues and concerns you want to share with others, including the next president and publish your statements in written, visual, and audio format on VoiceThread for a national audience.


Washington Standards


EALR 1: The student understands and uses a writing process.

1.1.1 Analyzes and selects effective strategies for generating ideas and planning writing.

-Maintains a log or journal to collect and explore ideas; records observations, dialogues, and/or descriptions for later use as a basis for informational, persuasive, or literary writing.

-Uses a variety of prewriting strategies (e.g., story mapping, listing, webbing, jotting, outlining, free writing, brainstorming).

-Gathers and paraphrases information from a variety of resources (e.g., interviews, multimedia, periodicals) and chooses an organizer to analyze, synthesize, and/or evaluate information to plan writing

-Uses prewriting stage to determine purpose, analyze audience, select form, research background information, formulate theme (for narrative writing) or a thesis, and/or organize text.

1.2.1 Analyzes task and composes multiple drafts when appropriate.

·       Refers to prewriting plan.

·       Drafts according to audience, purpose, and time.

·       Drafts by hand and/or electronically.

·       Assesses draft and/or feedback, decides if multiple drafts are necessary, and explains decision.

1.3.1 Revises text, including changing words, sentences, paragraphs, and ideas.

·       Selects and uses effective revision tools or strategies based on project (e.g., referring to prewriting, checking sentence beginnings, combining sentences, using “cut and paste” word processing functions).

·       Rereads work several times and has a different focus for each reading (e.g., first reading — looking for variety of sentence structure and length; second reading — checking for clarity and specific word choice; third reading — checking for layers of elaboration and persuasive language).

·       Decides if revision is warranted.

·       Seeks and considers feedback from a variety of sources (e.g., adults, peers, community members, response groups).

·       Records feedback using writing group procedure (e.g., partner reads writer’s work aloud, and writer notes possible revision).

·       Evaluates and justifies the choice to use feedback in revisions (e.g., “I don’t want to change this because …”).

·       Revises typographic devices (e.g., bullets, numbered lists) to clarify text and to meet requirements of technical writing forms (e.g., lab reports, graphs).

·       Uses multiple resources to improve text (e.g., writing guide, assignment criteria, peer, adult, electronic or other thesaurus).

1.4.1 Edits for conventions (see 3.3).

·       Identifies and corrects errors in conventions.

·       Uses appropriate references and resources (e.g., dictionary, writing/style guide, electronic spelling and grammar check, conventions checklist, adult, peer).


1.5.1 Publishes in formats that are appropriate for specific audiences and purposes.

·       Uses available technological resources to produce, design, and publish a professional-looking final product (e.g., charts, overheads, word processor, photo software, presentation software, publishing software).

1.6.2 Uses collaborative skills in adapting writing process.

·       Delegates parts of writing process to team members (e.g., one member may interview; another may collect information from other resources).

·       Collaborates on drafting, revising, and editing.

1.6.3 Uses knowledge of time constraints to adjust writing process.


EALR 2: The student writes in a variety of forms for different audiences and purposes.

2.1.1 Applies understanding of multiple and varied audiences to write effectively.

·       Identifies an intended audience.

·       Identifies and includes information and uses appropriate language for a specific audience (e.g., defines technical or content-specific terms or jargon).

2.2.1 Demonstrates understanding of different purposes for writing.

·       Writes to pursue a personal interest, to explain, to persuade, to inform, and to entertain for a specified audience

·       Writes to analyze informational and literary texts.

·       Writes to learn (double-entry journal in math, social studies, or science; letter to teacher assessing own work; reflection).

EALR 3: The student writes clearly and effectively.

3.1.1 Analyzes ideas, selects a manageable topic, and elaborates using specific, relevant details and/or examples.

·       Presents a central idea, theme, and manageable thesis while maintaining a consistent focus (e.g., narrows the topic, uses an essential question to guide research and maintain focus).

·       Selects specific details relevant to the topic to extend ideas and develop elaboration (e.g., multiple examples, statistics, anecdotes, reasons).

·       Uses personal experiences, observations, and/or research to support opinions and ideas (e.g., relevant data to support conclusions in math, science, social studies; personal knowledge of an illness to persuade the audience that water pollution is dangerous).

3.1.2 Analyzes and selects effective organizational structure.

·       Writes unified, cohesive paragraphs (e.g., inverted pyramid: broad topic, narrowing focus, specific details).

·       Develops a compelling introduction (e.g., startling statement, setting/description, quotation).

·       Composes an effective ending/conclusion that is more than a repetition of the introduction (e.g., response to a “so what” question, connection to bigger picture).

·       Uses transitional words and phrases between paragraphs to show logical relationships among ideas (e.g., moreover … , because of this issue … , equally important … , as opposed to … ).

·       Selects and uses effective organizational patterns as determined by purpose:

- explanations (e.g., process description)

- comparison (e.g., all similarities grouped together and all differences grouped together)

- persuasion (e.g., vary sequence of arguments)

- narrative (e.g., problem-solution-outcome)

·       Emphasizes key ideas through appropriate use of text features (e.g., headings, charts, diagrams, graphs, bullets).

3.2.1 Applies understanding that different audiences and purposes affect writer’s voice.

·       Writes with a clearly defined voice appropriate to audience.

·       Writes in an individual, informed voice in expository, technical, and persuasive writing.

·       Writes from more than one point of view or perspective

3.2.2 Analyzes and selects language appropriate for specific audiences and purposes.

·       Selects and uses precise language to persuade or inform.

·       Selects and uses precise language in poetic and narrative writing.

·       Uses the vernacular appropriately.

·       Selects and uses specialized vocabulary relevant to a specific content area (e.g., meteorologist, climatology).

·       Selects and uses persuasive techniques (e.g., powerful and emotional imagery).

·       Selects and uses literary devices (e.g., metaphor, symbols, analogies).

·       Selects and uses sound devices in prose and poetry (e.g., two-syllable rhyme, repetition, rhythm, rhyme schemes).

·       Considers connotation and denotation when selecting works (plump vs. fat, shack vs. house).

3.2.3 Uses a variety of sentences consistent with audience, purpose, and form.

·       Writes a variety of sentence structures and lengths to create a cadence appropriate for audience, purpose, and form.

·       Writes a variety of sentence structures (e.g., inverts sentence to draw attention to the point being made in an essay: “Down the stream swam the salmon fingerlings.”).

EALR 4: The student analyzes and evaluates the effectiveness of written work.

4.1.1 Analyzes and evaluates writing using established criteria.

·       Identifies aspects of the author’s craft (e.g., point of view, purpose, bias).

·       Identifies persuasive elements in a peer’s writing and critiques the effectiveness (e.g., audience appeal, concession and rebuttal, call to action).

·       Explains accuracy of content and vocabulary for specific curricular areas (e.g., description of scientific procedure during a class lab).

4.1.2 Analyzes and evaluates own writing using established criteria.

·       Explains strengths and weaknesses of own writing using criteria (e.g., WASL, classroom-created, or 6-trait rubrics; scoring guides specific to purpose or form of assignment).

·       Rereads own work for the craft of writing (e.g., point of view, figurative language) as well as the content (e.g., specific and relevant information).

·       Uses criteria to choose and defend choices for a writing portfolio.

·       Provides evidence that goals have been met (e.g., selects piece that shows improved introduction technique).









Students will

  • Develop a critical stance in regard to environmental issues
  • Research information to support their stance
  • Write persuasive essays
  • Participate in peer conferencing
  • Evaluate their writing through self-assessment



National Standards


3 - Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).

4 - Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.

5 - Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.

7 - Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and nonprint texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.

8 - Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.



  1. From Google's "Election Tools for Educators" http://www.google.com/educators/elections_tools.html#target
  2. From Google's "Election Tools for Educators" http://www.google.com/educators/elections_tools.html#target
  3. From Google's "Election Tools for Educators" http://www.google.com/educators/elections_tools.html#target

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