Lessons

Pumped Dry: Making Powerful and Persuasive Presentations

pumpeddry2-california.jpg

Image by Steve Elfers. United States, 2015.

Objective:

You will be able to identify how language contributes to how we care about and understand issues. Students will create a powerful presentation to persuade an audience about a particular topic.

Warm-up:

According to www.groundwater.org, “Groundwater is the water found underground in the cracks and spaces in soil, sand and rock. It is stored in and moves slowly through geologic formations of soil, sand and rocks called aquifers.”

Consider the following and be prepared to share with a partner, or the class:

  1. Where does groundwater come from?
  2. How might groundwater be used around the world?
  3. Explore www.groundwater.org for support.
  4. Consider the following and discuss:
  • What are potential impacts of depleting groundwater?
  • For example, imagine that the water pipes in your school were aquifers. What could happen if water stopped flowing through those pipes? How could that affect the students? How could that affect the building itself?
  • How could you encourage your fellow classmates to care about this issue?

Introducing the Lesson:

In today’s lesson, you will analyze the project "Pumped Dry: The Global Crisis of Vanishing Groundwater" by journalists Ian James of the Desert Sun and Steve Elfers of USA Today. The project analyzes the impact of depleting groundwater on four continents using interviews, research, video and interactive maps. It is broken up into five chapters.

In this lesson, you will also practice identifying how the subjects of Pumped Dry influenced your opinion to care about the subject and how journalists make reporting choices.

Consider the following and be prepared to discuss with the class:

  1. How do you get someone to care about a subject? How does a journalist create a sense of empathy?
  2. Read the following title and description below for the project Pumped Dry: “In places around the world, supplies of groundwater are rapidly vanishing. As aquifers decline and wells begin to go dry, people are being forced to confront a growing crisis.”
  3. Discuss the following:
  • What do you think the project will be about based on this description?
  • Why do you think the authors chose this language to introduce the project?

Introducing Resource 1: "Pumped beyond limits, many U.S. aquifers decline"

Go to the “United States” chapter at the resource page.

Watch the introductory video and answer the accompanying questions.

As you watch, consider the following:

  1. What, specifically, is the problem in this region? How do you know this? What is your evidence?
  2. As you watch, which things do you hear that make you care about this issue? (List the specific quotes and subjects who said them.) How does it make you feel?
  3. Which solutions to this problem exist? Explain.

Firsthand account from the reporter, Steve Elfers, Guest Speaker

Students will have a Q&A with Mr. Elfers who will discuss the project and focus on the idea of empathy in the reporting and presentation process. Open conversation with Q&A.

Questions for Mr. Elfers to possibly consider or touch on:

  1. What role does empathy play for you as a reporter?
  2. You identify a problem (depleting groundwater in aquifers) and you’re faced with many challenges as a reporter including how to effectively tell this story in a compelling way.
  • How do you decide to tell the story?
  • What do you hope happens as a result?

Exploring "Pumped Dry" reporting on another continent individually, or in small groups:

Go to the resource page and explore the text/media for another continent.

Answer the accompanying questions in the graphic organizer.

As you explore, consider the following:

  1. What, specifically, is the problem in this region? How do you know this? What is your evidence?
  2. As you watch, which things do you hear that made you care about this issue? (List the specific quotes and subjects who said them) How does it make you feel?
  3. Which solutions to this problem exist? Explain.

 

Extension Project:

Create a short visual presentation of the continent you explored

You and your group members just analyzed one of the videos from the "Pumped Dry" project. Your task now is to create a 1-3 minute powerful visual presentation of your section that raises awareness about the issue and tries to move people to action. Your presentation should include some of the persuasive language from your group’s analysis that made you care about the issue.

Consider the following as you prepare your presentation:

  • How do you get people to care about this topic?
  • What is the purpose of your presentation? What would you like the class to leave thinking about?
  • Which factual and anecdotal evidence would you like to use?
  • How do you plan to incorporate photo/videos/interactive maps into your presentation?

Possible things to include in your visual presentation:

  • A summary of the problem
  • Quotes from people affected
  • Images/screen shots from the video
  • A design for a billboard that informs the public about your solution.

1. What image do you want to use?

2. What will be your tagline?

 

Educator Notes: 

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.2

Determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to provide a complex analysis; provide an objective summary of the text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.6

Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text in which the rhetoric is particularly effective, analyzing how style and content contribute to the power, persuasiveness or beauty of the text.

Objective:

Students will be able to identify how language contributes to how we care about and understand issues. Students will create a powerful presentation to persuade an audience about a particular topic.

Warm-up:

According to www.groundwater.org, “Groundwater is the water found underground in the cracks and spaces in soil, sand and rock. It is stored in and moves slowly through geologic formations of soil, sand and rocks called aquifers.”

Consider the following and be prepared to share with a partner, or the class:

  1. Where does groundwater come from?
  2. How might groundwater be used around the world?
  3. Explore www.groundwater.org for support.
  4. Consider the following and discuss:
  • What are potential impacts of depleting groundwater?
  • For example, imagine that the water pipes in your school were aquifers. What could happen if water stopped flowing through those pipes? How could that affect the students? How could that affect the building itself?
  • How could you encourage your fellow classmates to care about this issue?

Introducing the Lesson:

In today’s lesson, you will analyze the project Pumped Dry: The Global Crisis of Vanishing Groundwater by journalists Ian James of The Desert Sun and Steve Elfers of USA Today. The project analyzes the impact of depleting groundwater on four continents using interviews, research, video and interactive maps. It is broken up into five chapters.

In this lesson, you will also practice identifying how the subjects of Pumped Dry influenced your opinion to care about the subject and how journalists make reporting choices.

Consider the following and be prepared to discuss with the class:

  1. How do you get someone to care about a subject? How does a journalist create a sense of empathy?
  2. Read the following title and description below for the project Pumped Dry: “In places around the world, supplies of groundwater are rapidly vanishing. As aquifers decline and wells begin to go dry, people are being forced to confront a growing crisis.”
  3. Discuss the following:
  • What do you think the project will be about based on this description?
  • Why do you think the authors chose this language to introduce the project?

Introducing Resource 1: "Pumped beyond limits, many U.S. aquifers decline"

1. Go to the “United States” chapter on the resource page.

2. Watch the introductory video and answer the accompanying questions.

3. As you watch, consider the following:

  1. What, specifically, is the problem in this region? How do you know this? What is your evidence?
  2. As you watch, which things do you hear that made you care about this issue? (List the specific quotes and subjects who said them) How does it make you feel?
  3. Which solutions to this problem exist? Explain.

Firsthand account from the reporter, Steve Elfers, Guest Speaker

1. Students will have a Q&A with Mr. Elfers who will discuss the project and focus on the idea of empathy in the reporting and presentation process. Open conversation with Q&A.

2. Questions for Mr. Elfers to possibly consider or touch on:

  1. What role does empathy play for you as a reporter?
  2. You identify a problem (depleting groundwater in aquifers) and you’re faced with many challenges as a reporter including how to effectively tell this story in a compelling way.
  • How do you decide to tell the story?
  • What do you hope happens as a result?

Exploring Pumped Dry reporting on another continent individually, or in small groups:

1. Go to the resource page and explore the text/media for another continent.

2. Answer the accompanying questions in the graphic organizer.

As you explore, consider the following:

  1. What, specifically, is the problem in this region? How do you know this? What is your evidence?
  2. As you watch, which things do you hear that made you care about this issue? (List the specific quotes and subjects who said them) How does it make you feel?
  3. Which solutions to this problem exist? Explain.

Extension Project 1:

Create a short visual presentation of the continent you explored

You and your group members just analyzed one of the videos from the Pumped Dry Project. Your task now is to create a 1-3 minute powerful visual presentation of your section that raises awareness about the issue and tries to move people to action. Your presentation should include some of the persuasive language from your group’s analysis that made you care about the issue.

Consider the following as you prepare your presentation:

  • How do you get people to care about this topic?
  • What is the purpose of your presentation? What would you like the class to leave thinking about?
  • Which factual and anecdotal evidence would you like to use?
  • How do you plan to incorporate photo/videos/interactive maps into your presentation?

Possible things to include in your visual presentation:

  • A summary of the problem
  • Quotes from people affected
  • Images/screen shots from the video
  • A design for a billboard that informs the public about your solution.

1. What image do you want to use?

2. What will be your tagline?

 

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