Lesson Plan: Locating the Main Idea
Student Resource: "Be
a Winner in Sports"
Media Type: Article
After completing this lesson, students will be able to:
- Explain the importance of cooperation, responsibility,
and a sense of fair play in competitive activities.
- Identify physical, mental, and social health benefits
of team sports.
- Apply the reading skill of locating the main idea to an
article on winning in sports.
Introducing the Lesson
Download and print pictures of star athletes from different
sports, and distribute these among the class. Ask students
what these individuals have in common. Elicit that all are
great athletes. Have the class form several groups, and challenge
each to develop a "star diagram" that lists attributes
of a great athlete. To make such a diagram, groups are to
write the phrase great athlete at the center of a sheet
of paper, then draw lines radiating outward, each terminating
in a descriptive word or phrase. Each group member should
make a copy of the completed star diagram in his or her health
Reconvene the class, and invite groups to share their star
diagrams. List repeated phrases and words on the chalkboard.
Most will probably refer to some aspect of physical prowess
(e.g., speed, strength) or name a specific skill (e.g., fielding,
running, jumping, throwing, etc.).
Have students think about a TV show or film they recently
saw. Challenge them to tell in one sentence what the
show or film was about. Allow two or three volunteers to speak.
Observe that these one-sentence capsule descriptions contain
the main idea, or central point, of the film. Add that,
without a main idea, a show or movie would make no sense.
Explain that reading passages, like shows, also revolve around
a main idea, sometimes called a thesis statement. Note
that locating the main idea as quickly as possible is a skill
that can improve both reading speed and comprehension, which
means understanding what is written.
Reveal that the main idea usually appears near the beginning
of a piece of reading. Although it often appears in the first
paragraph and/or title, that is not always the case. Illustrate
this by handing out copies of the article, and having students
silently read the opening paragraph. Instruct them to write
a prediction of the article's main idea. Tell them to be prepared
to revise their assumption as they continue to read.
After students have completed the reading, you may either
use the following as class discussion questions or assign
them as individual or group work.
- Analyzing. In your own words, summarize the main
idea of this article. Where in the article did you find
information that helped you first identify the main idea?
- Evaluating. What is the Vince Lombardi ethic? Review
the definition of the term ethic. What is odd about calling
this attitude an ethic?
- Extending. The article mentions some physical and
mental benefits of sports. What other physical and mental
benefits can you name? Tell under what circumstances sports
can also provide social health benefits. Identify specific
sports that do this.
- Synthesizing. The article contains a philosophy
of winning that consists of three statements. Select one
of the three statements. Explain in your own words how this
is a recipe for success in any competitive activity.
- Critical Thinking. Review the star diagram you
copied into your health journal. Is the diagram complete?
If not, in what way could it be made complete?
- Extending. Imagine overhearing a reader of the
article make the following capsule assessment of its main
point: "Its main idea is that winning is altogether
unimportant." Would you agree with this comment? If
not, what might you say in response to this view?
A Winning Collage
With a group, visit sports sites on the Internet or gather
sports magazines or newspaper sports sections. Clip images
that support the theme "Being a Good Winner," and
use these to make a collage. (To use images from the Internet
in your collage, right-click on them and use the copy and
paste commands to add them to a blank document. Print the
Paste your images onto a sheet of poster board. Display the
collage. Challenge students from other classes to examine
your work and identify its main idea.