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Lesson Plans

Use this Lesson Plan with the following health topics or with other relevant content from the textbook:
  • Safety
  • Risk Behaviors
  • Decision Making

Reading Skills 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 risks.
  • 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 in particular.

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.)

Teaching Strategies

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.

Follow Up

  1. 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 these facts?
  2. 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.
  3. 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?
  4. 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.
  5. 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?

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