Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Evaluating websites in the Abortion Debate
There are few issues as divisive as abortion. Whatever side you are on, chances are your feelings are strong. Some people are willing to risk jail and even death to defend their views. Because abortion is a political issue as well as a personal one, proponents on both sides would like to convince society that their view is not only the right view, but the only view. With the advent of new technology, they are taking their arguments to the Internet.
Students will prepare a presentation
analyzing how proponents on each side of the abortion debate use the internet
to spread their message. Students will visit both pro-abortion and
anti-abortion sites. In their research, students will view the sites critically
and focus on understanding what each site is trying to convey. Their research
may uncover "fringe" or controversial sites, and the students should view these
as well to understand how the internet can be used to educate and convince or
to inflame and deceive.
Students will create a presentation focusing on two sites from each side of the debate. Their presentation should analyze the techniques that the sponsors of the site use to bring people to their side of the abortion issue. Students should display the pages from the sites and should highlight specific elements that are particularly effective, intriguing, or inflammatory.
Students will work in groups. They should begin their research on the topic Dr. Henry Morgentaler: Fighting Canada's Abortion Laws on the CBC Digital Archives website. On the site, students will find some pro-abortion and anti-abortion sites. They can begin with these sites as well as using search engines. All the research should be performed online and students should note all sites consulted and cited.
Over the course of several days, have each group deliver its presentation to the class. Students should explain why they chose their four sites. After each presentation, ask: Were the sites effective or ineffective in conveying their views and convincing the public. Why? After all the presentations, lead a class discussion on which sites were the most effective, the most educational, the most inflammatory, and why.
Projection unit that can display web pages