Lesson Plan: Drawing Conclusions
Student Resource: "Taxpayers
Pay Millions for Rescues," by Jonathan D. Salant,
Media Type: Article
After completing this lesson, students will be able to:
- Identify factors that prompt teens to take unnecessary
- Recognize the high costs of health care in this country
and discuss ways of reducing that burden.
- Apply the reading skill of drawing conclusions to an article
on risk taking in order to understand its message for teens
Introducing the Lesson
Download from the Internet and print out articles or images
of stunts that involve overt risk taking. Examples might include
balloonists attempting to set a new world's record for circumnavigating
the globe, individuals attempting to cross the ocean in a
small sailboat, and the exploits of daredevils such as Robbie
Knievel, son of the legendary Evel Knievel.
Explain to students that they will read another article about
costs associated with risk taking. Add that, as students will
see, these costs come not out of the pockets of individuals
seeking treatment, but out of the pockets of taxpayers. Explain
that it costs a lot of money to rescue people who take unnecessary
risks. Spend a moment discussing the distinction between necessary
and unnecessary risks and ask for examples of each. (Examples:
A necessary risk is the kind taken by firefighters putting
their lives on the line to save innocent victims. An unnecessary
risk is the kind taken by daredevils and thrill-seekers.)
Tell students to imagine that someone just entered the classroom
carrying a dripping umbrella. Ask: What conclusion would you
draw from this? (It is raining outside.) Note that the ability
to draw conclusions based on evidence or facts is an
important skill when reading.
Have students point their Web browsers to the site containing
the article, or hand out printed copies of the resource. Ask:
What type of resource is this, and how can you tell? (A newspaper
article; the byline reveals this fact.) Allow a moment for
students to skim the article. Point out that the author never
comes right out and states his own views on this topic, which
is open to debate. Rather, as a good journalist, he simply
reports the facts and allows readers to draw their own conclusions.
Urge students to take notes as they read so that they will
be able to reach an informed conclusion afterward.
After students have completed the reading, you may either
use the following as class discussion questions or assign
them as individual or group work.
- Drawing Conclusions. What was the U.S. Coast Guard's
annual budget in 1997? How much did they spend on rescue
missions? How much did the National Park Service spend during
the same time period? What conclusion can you draw from
- Comparing and Contrasting. Compare the official
position of the Coast Guard with that of the National Taxpayers
Union with respect to charging risk takers for their own
rescues. Which of these positions do you come closest to
agreeing with? Explain.
- Synthesizing. What are some factors that prompt
people to take unnecessary risks that place their lives
in danger? Which of these factors do you think play the
biggest role in risks taken by teens as a group?
- Extending. Imagine that Congress passed a compromise
law forcing only thrill-seekers to pay for their rescues
and not people who had exercised poor judgment. Do you think
this compromise would be fair? Explain your answer.
- Analyzing. Critics of daredevils such as Robbie
Knievel have attacked the media for publicizing and even
giving TV airtime to their death-defying feats. What is
your reaction to this attack? Do you think the conclusion
these critics have drawn is reasonable? If so, do you think
the media should be held accountable for the money spent
on rescue efforts? Why or why not?
Drawing Conclusions About a Health Topic
The article you read provided you with information and points
of view about the issue of taxpayers paying for rescues. You
can draw conclusions about any health topic you read about
by making note of the clues describing the issue, the setting,
or particular events surrounding a particular topic.
Find another article about a health issue in a magazine,
newspaper, or online source. As you read the article, look
for clues and make notes recording the facts and specific
information you find in the article. Then list the conclusions
you can draw based on available evidence and facts. What decisions
can you make regarding this health issue based on those conclusions?