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Curriculum Unit: Learning Via the Virtual Field Trip

Learning Via the Virtual Field Trip 
by Julie Vitulano, New York City Public Schools 

Lesson Two: Preparing Arguments

Aim: How can we prepare arguments to support our persuasive essay?

Materials: Computers with Internet access and word processing program, notebook.

Instructional Objectives: Students will be able to prepare a variety of arguments to support their request to have a class trip to Wild Safari at Six Flags Great Adventure; students will be able to foresee counterarguments and negate them.

Do Now: Students copy the following:

  • Academic benefits
  • Social benefits
  • The negative results of not going to Wild Safari
  • Avoiding foreseeable problems: preparation, planning
  • Expenses
  • Follow up activities
  • Benefits to teachers
  • Students' responsibilities

Motivation: Students are asked to number the items in their lists from the "Do Now" in the order in which they might appear in a persuasive essay. Then they are asked to star those items on the list that may be called counterarguments.

Homework Review:

The class is surveyed and a list of reasons why going to Wild Safari at Great Adventure is not a good idea, according to a hypothetical school official. These are listed on the board.


  1. Students are grouped in pairs. They are instructed to write a dialogue in the form of a debate between a representative of the student council and a school official opposed to the trip. The debate is a joint effort so that both students may contribute to the arguments for and against the trip.
  2. After 15 minutes, pairs of students are asked to act out their debates.
  3. The class is asked to name a winner for each debate.

Homework: Students are given copies of the "Animal Tour" from the Six Flags web site (http://sixflags.com/wildsafari/animal/)

They are to scan the entire tour; however the eight sections of the tour are individually assigned to specific students. Each student is asked to write a two-paragraph summary of his part of the safari.


Lesson One: The Art of Persuasion
Lesson Two: Preparing Arguments
Lesson Three: Services For The Disabled At Wild Safari
Lesson Four: Drafting an Essay
Lesson Five: Assessment Rubric


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