Should Zoos Exist?

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SWBAT write summaries of arguments, identify claims and evidence, as well write arguments using claims and evidence.

Big Idea

Students look hard at the research and decide if zoos are harmful or helpful to endangered animals.

Advanced Organizer

10 minutes

To help the students prepare for the lesson, I will ask them to complete and Anticipation Guide. This will clue them in on what we are going to be learning about over the next few days and also help them understand where they are at currently with their abilities in argumentative writing.  

I will pass it out and give them a few minutes to complete it.   I will go over the information with the group, discussing their responses.  Advanced Organizer-Student Sample


30 minutes

To begin, I will display the Should there be zoos? power point and will go over the first few slides, discussing the project and layout of the work we will be doing.  I want the students to have an understanding for the objective of the project.  Yes, we are talking about zoos and it may seem like science class, but we are faced with a tough topic and really need to make a decision that must be based on evidence and research.  I want the students to feel a little weight with the project so they are prepared to do the work.  

Once I go through the expectations of the project with the students, I will first display the picture in the power point of the eagle and its natural habitat as well as the zoo habitat.  I want the students to begin to develop the critical eye when looking at research so I want them to gain an understanding for having two perspectives on a topic.  

I will ask the students to think of the pros and cons of each habitat.  How could the zoo habitat benefit the animal?  How could it be harmful?  I will model with just one example for each, as I want them to think of their own examples and to think critically with the pictures I give them.  


Guided Practice

40 minutes

Once I have quickly modeled the habitat and identifying the pros and cons of each habitat, I will have the students work with their shoulder partner to continue on this task.  I will provide each pair with a picture of a natural habitat and a zoo habitat.  I will first have the students work to identify the pros and cons of the natural habitat.  I will allow them about five minutes to work with their Shoulder Partners to discuss the pros and cons and complete the chart.  Then, I will ask a few partners to share out what they listed.  This will allow me to assess whether or not they are able to understand the task. 

Next, I will have the students work to do the same for the zoo habitat.  I will again allow them about five minutes to work.  I will circulate to listen to their discussions, prompt as needed, as well as encourage them.  Again, I will ask a few students to share out. 

Then, I will link this activity to the skill of arguing and how you need to evaluate both sides of a topic before really making your decision.  With research, our opinions can change. 


Independent Practice

40 minutes

Now it is time to get into the research.  I will use the Should there be zoos power point to pose the question "Are Zoos harmful or helpful to endangered Species?"  I want the students to be able to share their opinions before we start our research.  On the board, I have created a place for students to record their opinions as we go through our research.  I will have the students answer the question displayed on the power point slide ___ onto the post it note and place it on the board in the appropriate column for their first Claims.  The sections are "Starting Stance", "Article 1", and then "Video".  I will also create a t-chart and have the students place their post it note under "harmful" or "helpful".  This will allow us to visually see where most students stand after each piece of research is presented.

Once students make their initial claims, I will read a few post it notes that should have their reason listed. 

Next, I will pass out the first article titled Zoochosis.  This article addresses the negative effects zoos have on animals.  I will read this article aloud once.  Then, I will have the students work to annotate the article and complete the Zoochosis G.O. and Article Zoochosis Summary.  I will allow the students about 15 minutes to complete the task.  As they are working, I will circulate throughout the room and check for understanding.  It would also be a good idea to ask students how the article made them feel.  What are their reactions?  This will help when they go to make their claims. 

Then, the students will need to make their claims based off of the information they have now.  With the new research, did anyone change their minds?  I will, once again, ask the students to respond to the prompt "Are zoos harmful or helpful to endangered species?"  I will have them record their answers on a post it note and place it in the appropriate column under "Article 1".  I will ask a few students to defend their claims and share with the class what they wrote. 

We will do the same process with a short video.  I found the video on  It is titled "Endangered Species and the zoo"  I will pass out the Video Viewing Guide and read over the guide before we view the video.  Then, I will show the video once.  This is so the students can view it and really focus on what is being said.  Then, I will show it again and have the students take notes on the video viewing guide. 

Once they have their notes, I will ask the some students to share with the class.  Gathering information from video can be tricky.  The students don't have access to the author's words other than what they recalled. Having them share aloud can be really helpful for others. Last, I will have the students write they Video Summary.

Finally, I will have the students make their final claim for the day.  They can record it on the post it note and place it in the appropriate column under "Video" 


5 minutes

This lesson is heavy on main idea, summarizing, and drawing conclusions.  I want the students to reflect on the research process and why research causes us to change our minds.  I will ask the students to complete a Closure Slip.  

I can use this as an assessment and help me prepare for the next lesson.