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The Power of Persuasion

Grades 2 and 3
Language Arts, Social Studies, and Technology

Lesson Plan


After researching several national sites (such as parks, forests, seashores, and battlefields), students will produce two written products about a national site to demonstrate their learning.  One of these products will utilize expository nonfiction writing to describe features of the site.  The other product will use persuasive writing to explain why people should visit this particular site.


Students will research specific national sites using a variety of resources.  Students will explore and describe geographical, ecological, and historical features of a specific national site.  Students will use writing to inform and persuade others about a national site.


  • Two in-class sessions (30 to 45 minutes) for teacher-led lessons on national sites and genres of writing
  • Three or four independent or in-class sessions (30 to 45 minutes) for internet research and completing writing assignments

Materials List

  • Internet access
  • Text that provides basic information about national sites
  • Materials to create a brochure, poster, or other final product (construction paper, poster board, markers, colored pencils, etc.)
  • Writing materials


  • National site
  • National Park
  • National Forest
  • National Seashore
  • National Battlefield
  • National Park Service
  • Geography
  • Climate
  • Wildlife
  • Species
  • Tourist
  • Genre
  • Expository nonfiction writing
  • Persuasive writing


  • Describe the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program for background information.  The program is described at  Tell the students that the back of a coin is called the reverse, and "obverse" is another name for the front. 
  • With the students, examine each of the five 2010 quarter designs.  Locate each of the 2010 sites on a class map.  Answer any student questions.  Introduce the concept of national sites through a text read aloud or appropriate websites.
  • Have the students research a variety of national sites on the Internet.  If desired, focus on a small group of sites you select.  Students will choose one national site to research more extensively and note information on a guided note-taking worksheet.
  • Review different genres of writing, focusing on the characteristics of expository nonfiction and persuasive writing.  Have the students review and practice these types of writing through a worksheet.
  • Students will create two written products about their chosen national sites.  The first product utilizes expository nonfiction; students may choose to complete a brochure, poster, article, or other appropriate piece.  The second product will be a persuasive essay explaining why people should visit their chosen national site.  Students will share their work with peers.


  • Use the students' class participation, research work, and final products to evaluate whether they have met the lesson objectives.
  • Use the rubrics to evaluate their performance on the expository nonfiction and persuasive writing pieces.

Differentiated Learning

  • Allow students to work in pairs to research the national sites and/or create their written products.
  • Instead of creating the brochure from scratch, provide a template for students to fill in.
  • Allow students to dictate their written responses or use supportive software.

Connection to



National Council of Teachers of English ( and International Reading Association (

  • Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
  • Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
  • Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems.  They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and non-print texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.
  • Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.

Social Studies

National Council for the Social Studies (

  • Time, Continuity and Change
  • People, Places, and Environments


International Society for Technology in Education (

  • Research and Informational Fluency: Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.

United States Department of Education National Technology Plan

Helpful Hints

  • Limit the number of national sites from which students may choose.
  • Using another national site as an example, go through the process of researching the site through suggested websites and completing the note-taking guide.  Make sure to discuss vocabulary that is likely to be found on all the national site websites (geography, climate, species, etc.).
  • Provide some examples of brochures, posters, and articles for the final project.

Student Version


  • Research national sites in the United States.
  • Choose one national site to study carefully and record notes.
  • Create a brochure, poster, or article about the site using expository nonfiction writing.
  • Write an essay explaining why people should visit the site using persuasive writing.

Step-By-Step Directions

  1. IN CLASS:  Your teacher will introduce your class to national sites and the America the Beautiful Quarters™ Program.
  2. Study national sites using and the other links on this page.  Your teacher may tell you which sites to study.
  3. Choose ONE national site to research it carefully.  Print out the "National Site Notes" worksheet.  Gather information and record what you find on the worksheet.
  4. IN CLASS:  Your teacher will review two different genres of writing:  expository nonfiction writing and persuasive writing.
  5. Print out the "Writing with Style" worksheet.  Complete the worksheet to review expository nonfiction writing and persuasive writing.
  6. Review the research you recorded on the "National Site Notes" worksheet with your teacher.
  7. Print and read the "The Power of Persuasion" worksheet.  Make sure that you understand all the directions.  You will create a poster, brochure, or article about your chosen national site using expository nonfiction writing.  You will also write an essay about why people should visit the site using persuasive writing.
  8. Complete your project.  Use the rubric to make sure you do your best work.
  9. IN CLASS:  Share your work with the rest of your class.

Related Links


The Department of the Treasury Seal