Where Do You Stand?


Students explore the contents {definitionbot=disable}of untreated water, using a microscope to find organisms. They then create their own filtering system to clean the water. Finally, students research water-borne pathogens that may be increasing in number due to effects of global warming.

Materials Needed
Extension Activities
Relevant Curriculum Standards


Students will determine and analyze the positions of different informational sources on an issue found both on this website and in the news by filling out and discussing a “Positions Charts” comparing different authors’ views.

Estimated class time:
1-2 class periods


Students will:

  • Identify the position of different authors on issues debated in the news. (Naturally, not all topics are debated or have a clearly-expressed opposing point. Often a story will simply contain quotes from experts with opposing views.)
  • Articulate their own position on these issues in relation to others’ views.
  • Relate information learned in EcoHealth chapters to real world examples in the news.


  • Paper
  • Pencil/pen
  • A copy for each student of two news articles stating different views on an issue discussed in an EcoHealth chapter. You can begin with the EcoHealth News Page.
  • A chart of “Position Statements” for each student to fill out. See Procedures for an example:


You after reading EcoHealth

Article/Author 1

Article/Author 2

You after reading EcoHealth and articles







It’s okay to change the genetic make-up of a plant in order to feed more people.







Just because we can change the genetic make-up of plants doesn’t mean we should.






I would have no problem eating fruits or vegetables from genetically altered plants.

  1. After the students have read through the EcoHealth chapter you have chosen, give each student a copy of a “Positions Chart,” such as in the example below. Ask each student to fill out column A with “agree” or “disagree” with the statements.
  2. Next, give each student a copy of two news articles discussing the issue with different views.
  3. Have students read each article and fill in columns B and C for each of the articles, writing in “agree” if they think the author would agree, and “disagree” if the author would disagree.
  4. Now, after reading EcoHealth and the articles, ask each student to fill out column D for themselves. Have they changed their opinion after studying the topic from different vantage points?
  5. Break the class into groups of 4-5 students. Have each group discuss the answers they put, and why they chose those answers. Is it possible to both agree and disagree with a position? Why or why not?
  6. Ask each student to write a one-page summary of what they discussed in their group and how that discussion compares to the answers they gave on their chart.


  • Completed “Positions Chart”
  • Participation in groups and in final discussion
  • One-page summary paper


  • Ask students to each find another article (Web or print) on the same topic outside of class and analyze where it would fit in with the articles discussed in class. Where do the authors agree? Where do they disagree?


This lesson correlates to the following: Standards for the English Language Arts of the National Council of Teachers of English.

English Language Arts, K-12, from the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English)

  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.

Where Do You Stand? | Get the Scoop

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