Advocacy: Going a Step Further--Convince Someone!

3, 4, 5

Students write a persuasive essay to describe their observations and become advocates of preserving and protecting the Earth. This essay may be published in the local or school newspaper or entered into a writing contest.

PrintOne 45-Minute Class Session

The learner will:

  • summarize the philanthropic experience in an essay.
  • convince the audience of the importance of giving of one's time, talents, and treasures for the sake of the common good.
  • give examples to support ideas and convince the reader of his or her responsibility to preserve and protect the environment (advocacy).

Persuasive Essay Rubric (Handout)

Home Connection 

Parents may help edit the students' rough copies of their essays using the criteria provided in the rubric handout.


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Show the Learning to Give video about advocacy.

    Talk about using your voice for something you care about to persuade others. Ask what they would like others to do because of their experience at the beach? It may be related to the clean up, learning about issues, problem-solving, or the experience of taking voluntary action. 

  2. As students brainstorm ideas to persuade other youth to do, write some of their ideas and important points or examples on the board or overhead.

  3. Tell students that they will write a persuasive essay encouraging others to protect the environment (or a related call to action). Students should write their rough copy following this form:

    • The introductory paragraph should state your opinion clearly. Be sure to include a definition of philanthropy. (This essay usually includes a statement like, "I believe…" or "I feel…")
    • The next three paragraphs should give specific examples from our cleanup, "We Are Plooters," and/or Just a Dream to support your opinion. This could include items found, how the beach looked when you arrived, dangerous items to people and/or wildlife, how you felt, how this environment should look, how and why we organized to meet a need, identify outcomes, and explain how other content areas were used as well.
    • The closing paragraph should clearly restate your position on this opinion and try to convince the reader to act or believe accordingly.
    • Core Democratic Values could be included as well.
  4. These rough copies should be peer-edited in small groups as well as edited by parents before the teacher looks them over for additional corrections.

  5. As homework, the students write their final copies (perhaps to be submitted to the local or school paper).


This persuasive essay is the assessment for the entire unit. It should be evaluated according to how well the student shows an understanding of philanthropy and gives examples from the cleanup and/or pieces of literature that were used. (You may choose to evaluate them on English mechanics as well.)

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Describe one reason why a person might give or volunteer.
      2. Benchmark E.4 Give an example of how citizens act for the common good.
  2. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 05. Integrating the Service Experience into Learning
      1. Benchmark E.2 Evaluate progress on the service-learning project before, during, and after the project.
      2. Benchmark E.3 Identify outcomes from the service.