Lesson Plan: For Teachers: The Lighter Side of Fluoride
Provide students with satirical essays, editorials, and editorial cartoons to examine and, if possible, have them view video clips of political rants performed by Rick Mercer on "The Rick Mercer Report." Have students make point-form notes to identify the main idea or message conveyed, the bias of the creator, the emotions evoked, the purpose and effect of words used in an editorial cartoon, how the characters and clothing in an editorial cartoon are rendered, and what techniques are used to focus on the issue in a rant.
Outline the Opportunity
Divide the class into groups of three or four students. Have each group view the clips "Lighter side of fluoride" and "Gordon Sinclair's rant" on the topic The Fluoride Debate on the CBC Digital Archives website and consider:
What does the headline tell you?
Is the opinion of the author obvious?
What points did the author raise that caught your attention? When were these points presented? Do you think their placement in the article was deliberate?
Did the author use sarcasm? If so, what effect did it have?
Was the article too long? Did it maintain
Students then view the clips "Myths about fluoride", "No happy medium", "Fluoride fight grips Vancouver", "No to fluoride" and "How much is too much?" to gather information on the positive and negative effects of fluoridation and the opinions of those on both sides. Using their information, they create their editorial.
Revisit and Reflect
Students present their editorials to
the class. Have students analyze each editorial using the same questions they
considered when examining the clips "Lighter side of fluoride" and "Gordon
Assess students' work for clarity of message, accuracy of the information, and amount of information. You might consider developing a rubric based on the points discussed in Before Exploring.
Students can search for editorials about the fluoride debate from cities mentioned in the clips. They can analyze the editorials using the criteria they used for their own work.