Teacher-Created Lesson Plan

Building Reading Comprehension Through Creating Arguments

Students will use technology to research the benefits and drawbacks of the Agricultural Revolution. Students will create a presentation or paper to explain their thoughts and reasoning.
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My Subjects English-Language Learning

Students will be able to...

identify key ideas in the article The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race by Jared Diamond;

create a research based argument on the effects of the Agricultural Revolution;

utilize technology to research the Agricultural Revolution;

Critique and defend their arguments on the Agriculture Revolution. 


English Language Arts
Social Studies
Grades 6 – 8
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook/Attention Getter: Was the Agricultural Revolution good for humans?

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To successfully complete this lesson, follow these steps:

Hook: Introduce students to the concept of the Agricultural Revolution using symbalooEDU and offering a series of videos and readings embedded in the webmix found under "off-site resources." Ask students to consider the question, "Is agriculture good for humans?" Their response will likely be "yes." 


Student Instructions

1. Go to our classroom Symbaloo.

2. Click on the video "Mankind: The History of Us."

3. Watch the video.

4. Respond to the question, "Is agriculture good for humans?"

5. Share your response with the class. 


2 Direct Instruction: Read the complex text

Read the complex text with students. Have students identify Diamond's beliefs about Agriculture. 

Create a t-chart in Google docs and a space for new vocabulary and share with students through Google classroom. As students hear a negative about the Agricultural Revolution, document it in this space. If they hear a positive detail about the Agricultural Revolution, have them add it to their T-chart as well.

As students encounter new vocabulary, have them type the word, add a picture, and a basic definition to build understanding. 

Model how to use citation machine to collect information for the t-chart.

Student Instructions
  1. Put your name on your paper.
  2. Read the title. What do you think Jared Diamond thinks about agriculture? 
  3. Number the paragraphs.
  4. Follow along as your teacher reads the text. Underline anything positive you hear about agriculture and put a + symbol. Circle anything negative you hear about agriculture and put a - symbol. 
  5. Open your Google Doc from our Google Classroom. You will see a T - Chart. 
  6. As a class, we will begin to document what we've learned from the text by putting the positives and negatives on the chart. 
  7. We will use Citation Machine to document our resources from Jared Diamond as well as the media we use in our partner and independent work. 
  8. Below the T-Chart is a space for new vocabulary. On your vocabulary chart, add the new word, a picture, and a definition. You will refer back to this chart if you need help with understanding a new word. 


Vocabulary Word       Picture        Definition       


3 Guided Practice: Completing the T-Chart with Symbaloo Resources

Have students go to the webmix on Symbaloo and continue to research through the readings and videos provided. Students can work with a partner on the first day and then independently on subsequent days. Students will continue to identify positives and negatives of the agricultural revolution and build their vocabulary list. 

Students will likely need 2-3 days to go through all of the resources; however, it is not necessary for students to complete all readings/videos. Many more resources are provided than needed in order to meet the needs of a diverse group of students. 

Additionally, teachers may consider using the chrome book extension called, "too long, didn't read it" to support students who cannot read long passages at this point. This extension helps students by providing a summary of any written text. 

Have students cite their sources of information as they build their t-charts, so they can add a reference page/slide to their independent assignment. 

Student Instructions

Day 1:

  1. Working with a partner, you will go to Symbaloo and identify positives and negatives of the Agricultural Revolution.
  2. You must document your findings on your T-chart and cite where you obtained your information.
  3. Add any new vocabulary that you learn to your vocabulary chart. 
  4. The webmix contains videos and various types of reading passages. If you're unsure of which passages are right for you, ask your teacher for assistance.
  5. Exit ticket: Do you think agriculture is good for humans? Explain with at least two specific reasons. 

Day 2:

1. Today, you will work independently using the same processes as yesterday.

2. Continue to work through the resources provided. Add positives and negatives to the T-chart and vocabulary to your chart

3. While you work, consider your opinion of Agriculture. Do you think Jared Diamond was correct or do you think it was good for humans?

4. Exit ticket: Has your opinion of agriculture changed? What do you believe is good for humans?


4 Independent Practice: Creating a presentation

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Students will take the information gathered and create a presentation on their position on the Agricultural Revolution. Using their t-charts and vocabulary lists, students will create a google slides presentation, prezi, or powtoon to present their position. 

Have students create a reference page/slide/section for their presentations. 

Students will present their projects and record their voices over the presentations. 

Student Instructions

1. Open your computer and view your T-chart.

2. Take a minute and read through your information.

3. You will create a presentation about your position on Agriculture. You may use Google slides, prezi, or powtoon to explain if you think agriculture was good for humans or was bad for humans. 

4. Your presentation must be grounded in research. This means that the evidence you collected in your T-chart must be used to defend your position. 

5. Once your presentation is complete, you will use screencastify to record your presentation.

6. On the last day of the project, we will digitally present to our peers. Therefore, your presentation must be neat and you must speak loudly and clearly for all to hear. If you're creating a project with powtoons, you already have a video created, so  you do not need to complete this step. 

5 Wrap Up: Critique and Defense

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Students will present their projects and record over them using screencastify or screencast-o-matic. For those who created powtoons, this portion is already complete as their projects include audio. 

Have computers with individual presentations up stationed throughout the classroom. Students will rotate through 5 stations and critique the arguments of their peers. They will leave post-it notes with a +/-/Delta to give one positive, one negative, and one change that can be made to bolster the argument presented. 

Once students have considered other perspectives and reflected on their feedback, they will write a brief constructed response (BCR) in Google docs on their final position: Was the Agricultural Revolution good for humans?

Student Instructions

1. Open your presentation and put it in presentation mode.

2. Put your name on your feedback form. 

3. As you circulate throughout the classroom, you will 5 minutes at each computer to listen, critique, and provide feedback on the presentation. You will write on your classmates form a positive, negative, and a change you would suggest in listening to their argument.

4. When the timer goes off for the rotation to end, you will listen for my command, "three, two, one, switch," and you will rotate silently, quickly, and without touching to the next station. 

5. Once you have evaluated your peers' arguments for agriculture and reflected on your own argument, you will write a BCR in a Google doc to respond to the question: Was the Agricultural Revolution good for humans?