This lesson plan prompts students to write persuasive letters and lobby for issues they feel strongly about.
- Determine how they'd like to change a candy bar and write a persuasive argument for the change
- Use a checklist while revising their persuasive letter during peer review
- Variety of candy bars, one per student
- Transparencies and overhead projector or computer and projector
- Letter to the Mars Candy Company from Letters From a Nut by Ted L. Nancy
- Letter to the Mars Candy Company Exercise printable
- Persuasive Letter Checklist printable
- Persuasive Letter Writing Rubric printable
- Editing Marks Reproducible printable from Lesson Two: The Persuasive Letter
- Business Letter Exercise printable from Lesson Two: The Persuasive Letter
- Buy a variety of candy bars, enough so that each student gets one. Place a candy bar at each student's desk prior to the first class.
- Make transparencies for the Persuasive Letter Checklist, Letter to the Mars Candy Company Exercise Worksheet, and the Persuasive Letter Rubric, or set them up with the computer and projector.
- Copy the Letter to the Mars Candy Company from Letters From a Nut and make a class set of the copy, plus a transparency if you are using them.
- Make class sets of the Persuasive Letter Checklist, Letter to the Mars Candy Company Exercise Worksheet, and the Persuasive Letter Writing Rubric.
- Research various candy companies' addresses on the internet.
Step 1: Before the beginning of class, place a candy bar at each student's desk. When students settle in, tell them that they will begin today's lesson by enjoying their candy bar! Give students time to eat. When they finish, ask them what they liked or disliked about the candy. Is there anything they would change to make it even better? More appetizing? More appealing? Generate a brief discussion about their opinions.
Step 2: Share with students that today they will be writing their own persuasive business letter, asking the president of a candy company to change the candy bar they just ate to make it even more enjoyable! Display the Letter to the Mars Candy Corporation from Letters From a Nut for students to view. Distribute copies to the students and ask them to follow along as you read the letter aloud to them.
Step 3: Distribute the Letter to the Mars Candy Company Exercise Worksheet and display it for student viewing. Review the sheet with students, explaining that this exercise will serve as a prewriting activity for their persuasive business letter. They'll use this to brainstorm ideas for a persuasive argument about how the candy bar company could change the candy bar for the better. Allow time for students to brainstorm and complete the exercise.
Step 4: Begin this day by sharing the Persuasive Letter Checklist printable with students. Distribute copies to the class. Project the checklist and review each list item with the class. Tell them that this is the required information for their persuasive business letter to the president of the candy company. Instruct them to refer to it as they write their letter and during the peer review.
Step 5: Instruct students to transfer their brainstorming ideas to a rough draft of a persuasive letter, using the Persuasive Letter Checklist, the Business Letter Editing Exercise Worksheet from Lesson Two, the Letter to the Mars Candy Company, and the Letter to the Mars Candy Company Exercise Worksheet as references. Allow time for students to complete their rough drafts. Share the appropriate addresses so that students can complete the letter headings.
Step 6: Begin this day by having each student choose a partner for peer review. Ask each to read the other's letter, checking for correct grammar, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. Students should use the Persuasive Letter Checklist and Editing Marks Chart to review their partner's letter. Allow time for students to make revisions.
Step 7: After students edit and revise their letters, hand out the Persuasive Letter Writing Rubric printable and review with the class. Instruct students to write a final draft of their letter. If you wish, you may send in the letters to see if students will receive a response! Make copies of each letter before doing so.
Supporting All Learners
Allow students who may be having difficulty writing on their own to share their changes with you verbally.
- Students can ask their parents to try the same candy bar and make suggestions as to how they would want to change it.
- Students can bring items from home that they wish to change and write to the company president.
- Complete the Letter to the Mars Candy Company Exercise.
- Write a persuasive business letter to the president of a candy company.
- Did the Letter to the Mars Candy Company act as a good model to inspire the students to write their own persuasive business letters?
- Did the candy serve as a productive anticipatory set or not? What are some other ideas that can be used next time?
- Did the students have enough prewriting time?
Use the Persuasive Letter Rubric provided to evaluate each letter. Attach the rubric to the letter when returning it to the student.