Common Core Spotlight

Use a Scope Debate to Launch an Awesome Earth Day
Research Project

One of the hallmarks of the Common Core State Standards is that texts should connect students with new areas of inquiry. The question students should ask is no longer simply “How does this text connect to my life?” but rather “How does this text connect to the world beyond me?” The standards require students to develop their research skills as well as their ability to present their findings effectively (check out the Anchor Standards for Writing 7-9).

We are here to help you meet these requirements! Scope articles, often packed with science and social studies topics, make an ideal springboard for research. For example, this month’s debate—“Is Bottled Water Really Better?” —introduces a great topic just in time for an Earth Day research project.

We suggest you divide students into groups to further investigate the pros and cons of bottled water. Each group might explore a different aspect of the issue, such as water quality, cost, plastic pollution, and alternatives to bottled water. The research should culminate in an argument-writing activity or a class debate. Students may be inspired to start a campaign to raise awareness and reduce bottled-water waste at your school.

Your students will:

  • read this issue’s debate, “Is Bottled Water Really Better?”
  • expand their understanding of environmental vocabulary using our Themed Vocabulary, an excellent small-group or whole-class activity
  • write an argument essay using the debate article and Scope’s guided argument-writing activity
  • instead of, or in addition to, using the Scope activity, students may begin an extended independent research project on the topic of bottled water

Common Core ELA Anchor Standards this activity supports:
R1, R2, R4, R5, R6, R8, W1, W4, W5, W7, W8, W9, SL1, L1

Find additional activity sheets supporting the paired texts on our Quizzes and Activities page.

More Common Core Resources:
To learn how the rest of the April 8, 2013, issue supports the Common Core State Standards, see pages T2–T3 of your Teacher’s Edition, or click here.

To learn more about how Scope helps with the Common Core and to explore our awesome collection of Common Core resources, click here.

Have a question or a comment about this activity? E-mail Editor Kristin Lewis at

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