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Monday, 12 October 2009 01:17

Lesson 3: Persuasive essay: Child labor and the Industrial Revolution

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  1. Students will practice developing a thesis statement
  2. Students will learn to distinguish between evidence and opinion
  3. Students will practice writing a persuasive essay to discuss the impact of urban growth and industrialization on the people of the Industrial Revolution.

Procedures: (This lesson will take approximately 2 – 3 class periods)

Step 1:

  1. Introduction to Persuasive Essay Writing: Writing a thesis: Using an overhead projector, project Teacher Resource 5.3.1
  2. Discuss the definition of a thesis statement, explaining that it is a main idea or a
    central proposition. Ask students to respond to the statement provided and mark
    the column under which their response would fall.
  3. After some discussion, discuss the four terms: evidence, examples, reasoning,
    and opinion.  Ask for different responses to the thesis statement now that the
    students are more aware of the expected responses to a thesis statement.
  4. To practice what they have just learned, require an exit slip from each student – a five-minute write on the importance of providing more than just personal opinion when supporting a thesis statement.

Step 2:

  1. Introduce persuasive essay writing using the topic of child labor during the
    Industrial Revolution.
  2. Give students the thesis statement “Child labor was or was not a necessary part
    of the Industrial Revolution.”
  3. Using what they have learned from the Debate Project; their notes and readings have the students analyze the varying viewpoints of a child laborer, a parent, and a factory owner during the time of the Industrial Revolution.  
    Develop a thesis statement regarding these viewpoints.
  4. Explain that the students will be writing a persuasive essay from the viewpoint of
    either: a child laborer, a parent, or a factory owner during the time of the
    Industrial Revolution.  Ask for possible thesis sentences regarding this topic,
    attempting to formulate one close to “Child labor was (or was not) a necessary part
    of the Industrial Revolution.”
  5. Review the key points of writing a persuasive essay: strong thesis, evidence,
    factual examples, and reasoning.  Remind them to anticipate counter-arguments
    while writing.
  6. Then have students begin to write a 5 paragraph essay starting with an introductory paragraph with the their thesis statement as the last sentence. Then have them work on three supporting paragraphs; each paragraph should focus on one piece of evidence with factual examples using their notes, readings or speeches from the debate. The final paragraph will be their concluding paragraph in which they restate their thesis and show how they have proven it.
  7. Pacing on this depends on the level of the students; have them finish for homework or have it be an in class assignment.


Assess each student’s essay by looking for the key components taught on persuasive  essay writing.

Last modified on Tuesday, 13 October 2009 06:20

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