Obesity in America: Who's to Blame?
Here is a lesson plan for teachers interested in using this WebQuest.
The purpose of this WebQuest is to explore various factors that contribute to obesity in America. It will expose students to ideas that they may not have considered. This will allow them to develop an informed opinion before they write an essay on the topic.
More and more, students in English Language Arts classes are asked to read non-fiction and write expository essays. Schools in California that participate in the Early Assessment Program, or EAP, require students to write an expository essay in one class period to determine their readiness for college English. Students who pass this exam do not have to take placement tests in college and can automatically enroll English. Because it is crucial for students to have the basic skills they need to be successful in college, there needs to be an emphasis on expository reading and writing.
This WebQuest is designed for 11th grade English students who are participating in the Early Assessment Program.
Before students explore the links in this WebQuest, I recommend that they have access to the following articles, which are included in The California State University Expository Reading and Writing Course:
- Shannon Brownlee, "It's portion distortion that makes America fat"
- David Barboza, "If You Pitch It, They Will Eat"
- Daniel Weintraub, "The battle against fast food begins in the home"
- David Zinczenko, "Don't Blame the Eater"
- Letters to the Editor in response to Zinczenko
If it is not possible for students to read all of these articles, they must have access to Weintraub's article. This will ensure that they can adequately respond to the essay prompt.
As a result of participating in this unit students will:
- Read a variety of articles to help them determine the factors associated with America's obesity epidemic
- Analyze the arguments presented
- Recognize and evaluate rhetorical devices
- Write an expository essay
11th-12th California Content Standards for English Language Arts:
Reading Comprehension 2.1: Analyze both the features and the rhetorical devices of different types of public documents (e.g., policy statements, speeches, debates, platforms) and the way in which authors use those features and devices.
Reading Comprehension 2.2: Analyze the way in which clarity of meaning is affected by the patterns of organization, hierarchical structures, repetition of the main ideas, syntax, and word choice in the text.
Writing Strategies 1.1: Demonstrate an understanding of the elements of discourse (e.g., purpose, speaker, audience, form) when completing narrative, expository, persuasive, or descriptive writing assignments.
Writing Strategies 1.3: Structure ideas and arguments in a sustained, persuasive, and sophisticated way and support them with precise and relevant examples.
Writing Strategies 1.9: Revise text to highlight the individual voice, improve sentence variety and style, and enhance subtlety of meaning and tone in ways that are consistent with the purpose, audience, and genre.
Subject Matter Description
This WebQuest, which follows the model created by Bernie Dodge and Tom March, contains the following sections:
- Introduction: An overview of the topic is provided for students.
- Task: Each task to be completed is described for students.
- Process: This section contains a list of steps for students for students to follow. There are also links to articles and videos.
- Evaluation: A rubric is provided for students to evaluate their own work, as well as their peer's work. The same rubric will be for the final draft of the essay.
- Conclusion: This section is for learners to reflect on what they have learned, and to also think about what they can do with the knowledge they have gained.
Students will write an expository essay which explains Weintraub's argument and discusses the extent to which they agree. They may support their ideas with their own experience, observations, or readings. The will be scored using the rubric on the Evaluation page.