P981: Using the study of argument to learn about environmental regulation through analysis of scientific evidence within national environmental policy act records of decision

Author: Sylvia Esjornson, Southwestern Oklahoma State University, USA

Co-Author:

Date: 8/7/14

Time: 10:35 AM10:55 AM

Room: MAK A1165

Related Symposium: S68

By researching original documents published in the Federal Register by U.S. Government agencies, students examine the record of decision for proposals of major federal agency actions. The U.S. National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires an environmental assessment of all major federal agency actions. Students learn about warranted decisions to act as they study the intricacies of the NEPA process, from the notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement to the scoping process that identifies alternatives and impacts of the proposed action, especially details of hearings and public comments. When a finding of no significant impact (FONSI) is made, the supporting evidence for the rationale is made public. Conversely, when a proposal is not awarded a FONSI, draft environmental impact statements and final environmental impact statements are produced. Students uncover the physical, chemical, and biological evidence used to substantiate a finding of significant environmental impact. The records of decision will show the ultimate disposition of each proposal in light of the evidence, which may range from no action at all to full implementation despite the acknowledged environmental impacts. This presentation will provide examples of representative proposed agency actions as well as suggestions on the mechanics of executing the assignment.

P984: Using the study of argument to learn about industrial chemistry as students find claims and evidence in C&EN cover stories while Hillocks’ Teaching of Argument Writing advocates the supporting of generalizations with concrete evidence

Author: Sylvia Esjornson, Southwestern Oklahoma State University, USA

Co-Author:

Date: 8/7/14

Time: 11:50 AM12:10 PM

Room: MAK A1165

Related Symposium: S68

In the seminar course Industrial Chemistry and Environmental Regulation, the issues can be complex, so I have employed the military “situation mission execution command support” (SMECS) report scheme to help students analyze the course material followed by Professor Hillocks’ Teaching of Argument Writing which was written to teach teachers how to teach argument writing to students in grades 6-12. By studying the teaching of argument writing, my students are on the grownup side of the table and find the Hillocks’ book accessible. In an assignment early in the semester, students select an industrial chemistry topic from Chemical and Engineering News (C&EN) cover stories and prepare to present a SMECS report of it. The C&EN authors produce articles for a very demanding audience, and the articles they write are well-suited to my purpose because if data has been gathered on the topic it is usually included or referred to in the article. However, the presence of the data in the article does not necessarily mean the student will recognize it as the nugget of knowledge that answers the question “Why is this news?” After the students give their SMECS reports, we read the Hillocks. Then students revise their presentations to articulate “What was the claim?” and “What kind of evidence was presented?” This presentation will provide examples drawn from industrial chemistry content as well as suggestions on the mechanics of executing the assignment.