Keywords: environment, current issues, newspapers, headlines; Lesson Plan Grade Level: sixth grade; Total Time Required for Lesson: five 45-minute class periods; Setting: classroom, outside, and library

Goals for the Lesson

  • Students will recognize water as a frequent subject in the news.
  • Students will utilize different sources to find information on current water issues.
  • Students will use writing skills to publish a paper on water issues.

Materials Needed

  • newspapers (local, state, and national)
  • pencils
  • markers, crayons, etc
  • composition paper
  • glue
  • scissors
  • computer
  • publishing software (optional)

State Standards Addressed: Science: Note: This lesson could include all or some of the standards depending on the topics students write about. Watersheds and Wetlands (4.1); Renewable and Nonrenewable Resources (4.2); Environmental Health (4.3); Agriculture and Society (4.4); Integrated Pest Management (4.5); Ecosystems and their Interactions (4.6); Threatened, Endangered, and Extinct Species (4.7); Humans and the Environment (4.7); Environmental Laws and Regulations (4.8); Language Arts: Types of Writing (1.4); Quality of Writing (1.5); Speaking and Listening (1.6)

Subjects Covered: language arts, environment, and social studies

Topics: current environmental issues, newspapers, writing skills


"Today's lesson is entitled 'Water: Read All about It!' Our objective is two fold: This lesson is designed (1) to learn about the parts of a newspaper and (2) to use our knowledge about water to create our own newspaper."


  1. Ask students why people read newspapers. Why are they important to our society? Discuss why water is a "newsworthy" subject. See if they can recall any water-related issues that have been in the news. Students can also clip out articles related to water from different newspapers (local, state, and national).
  2. Discuss the different parts of a newspaper and make a chart of them. Talk about what each section contains. The chart could include the following:
    • news/features
    • entertainment
    • weather
    • sports
    • editorials
    • advertising
    • classifieds
  3. Then give students different newspapers so the can see and discuss each part. Add to the chart if necessary.
  4. Tell students they are going to develop their own paper focusing on the theme of water.
  5. The topics could include such items as water rights issues, recreation, pollution, water uses, conservation, and so forth.
  6. Divide the class into groups. The groups should brainstorm topics of interest for them to report on. (Option: To get more detailed, groups could have editors, photographers, word processors, researchers, etc.)
  7. Students could either research the topic and/or interview people to get the information to put into their article.
  8. As in all newspapers there will be a deadline of 5 days to complete the paper.
  9. All work should be proofread and corrected before handing in a final product to be placed in the paper.
  10. The layout could be done one of two ways: either on the computer using a newsletter or other publishing software, or it could all be done by hand.


  1. As a class, have the students explain why water is a subject of interest in the news. Students would then evaluate the quality of the paper they produced.
  2. Also discuss the rewards and frustrations of producing a newspaper.
  3. As students are working circulate around the room to see if they are making progress.
  4. To grade their writings on the animal use the PA Writing Rubric.


  • The paper could be distributed to the school, another class, or even to the community. It could also be posted in the classroom or in the hallway.


Project WET: Curriculum & Activity Guide (1995). The Watercourse and The Council for Environmental Education.


Amy Mykut, Huntingdon Area Middle School