ANAKEN2012/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM (ORANGE BAG); RICH CAREY/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM (FISH)
Plastic Bags: Handy or Harmful?

They make carrying our stuff easy. But they’re bad for our planet. Should we stop using them?

By Lauren Magaziner
From the March / April 2019 Issue
Lexiles: 400L-500L, 500L-600L
Guided Reading Level: N
DRA Level: 28

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Activities (2)
Quizzes (2)
Quizzes (2)
Answer Key (1)
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Quizzes (2)
Quizzes (2)
Answer Key (1)
Header icon Can't Miss Teaching Extras
Read This

Boston banned plastic bags last November. Check out this Boston Globe article, in a helpful Q&A format, that explains how it works for its residents. 

Watch This

Your students will probably wonder how corn becomes plastic. Play this video from the 1:12 mark and watch the process unfold. 

From the Storyworks Jr. Archives

For a similar debate, don’t miss “Should Plastic Straws Be Banned?” from February 2018. 

Step-by-Step Lesson Plan

1. PREPARING TO READ

Have students preview the text features. Ask:

    What is the topic of the debate? (Prompt students to use the debate title and the     heading on the chart as clues.) 

    What are the two opinions people might have about this topic?

2. READING THE DEBATE

Depending on the reading level of your students, read the debate as a class or break the class into groups.

Have students read the debate a second time. Prompt them to highlight evidence supporting each side as they come across it. Using two different colors of highlighters would be useful here.

3. DISCUSSING

As a class or in groups, have students discuss:

Which opinion has the best evidence to support it?

Is one side stronger than the other? Why?

What is your opinion? What evidence helped you form your opinion?

For more advanced readers: Do you think the author has an opinion on this issue? What is your evidence?

4. WRITING

Have students complete the chart in the magazine or our full-page printable chart.

Guide students to write an essay on the debate topic, using the chart they filled out.

5. CHECK COMPREHENSION

Have students complete our comprehension quiz.