Persuasive writing

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Part of:

Google Expeditions
Lesson overview

In this lesson students will use Google Expeditions to explore the stories of Syrian refugees and consider what life is like for two example students. They then go on to use persuasive writing to encourage a local leader to help child refugees.

Learning outcomes
  • To consider the role of politicians in international affairs
  • To examine / isolate key aspects of the lives of Syrian child refugees
  • To imagine the feelings / emotions of a child refugee
  • To develop the use of superlative and hyperbolic phrases
  • To create a formal letter to a government official

Expedition Prep Checklist

Download the Google Expeditions App on all devices and select the expedition Out of Syria: Back into school.

Explore the expedition and locate points of interest.

Review the video content in the Lesson resources section to update your knowledge and develop some teaching ideas.

Lesson steps
  1. Introduction (15 mins)
    Students answer the following questions: What is a refugee? Why are refugees fleeing Syria? Why contact your local politician? How could your local politician help?
  2. Activity one (15 mins)
    Students work in groups to build background knowledge for the expedition. In groups of 4, each student should take a different task:
    Student 1: Create a word cloud / mind-map of their associations with the words ‘refugee’.
    Student 2: What is the job of a politician?
    Student 3: Read the Out of Syria: Back into School resource and summarise.
    Student 4: Define both the terms ‘superlative’ and ‘hyperbole’ and give examples.

    Depending on ability, teachers may support with multiple choice options. Students share back to each other, explaining what their task was and what their thoughts were. Group members can then add to / challenge ideas. Nominate students to share back to class to consolidate group understanding.
  3. Expedition (15 mins)
    Lead a discussion around the following questions: What challenges do you think the refugees have? What would you find difficult if you were in this situation? What feelings or emotions would you associate with the situation?
    Students record at least one detail per scene and document it with a statement of how they think Mustafa / Sarah might feel.
  4. Activity two (15 mins)
    Lead a class discussion around the following questions: Why is it useful to see the situation at the level of the individual? What do the children need and how could we help them? How can we use superlatives or hyperbole to make our writing more persuasive?

    Students write an email to their local politician (or appropriate government official) explaining why and how we must help the child refugees, including either Sarah or Mustafa as an example. Students should include at least three specific images or details from the expedition in their writing to highlight the difficulties the children face, e.g. Mustafa lives in the most awful conditions with his little brother; the emptiest, most uncomfortable room imaginable. There are dangerous electrical wires hanging out of the walls and he hasn’t even got a proper bed to sleep in.
    Students should then make suggestions to their local politicians about how to help.
  5. Extension
    Deliver a class presentation about the experiences of child refugees.
    Write comparative piece of between students’ own lives and Mustafa and Sarah. 10 years on – what does the future hold for Mustafa or Sarah?
    Write a newspaper article in which we learn about how their lives have changed. Can students create headlines using superlatives / hyperbolic vocabulary, e.g. ‘Worst refugee crisis in history’ or ‘Impossible odds for Syrian children’.
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