Student View
Should Plastic Straws Be Banned?

They make drinking easy and fun (slurp!). But they’re also harming animals around the world.

By Lauren Tarshis
From the February 2018 Issue

Learning Objective: Students will take a side on an engaging topic while practicing opinion writing.

Lexiles: 480L, 580L
Guided Reading Level: N
DRA Level: 30
Topic: Science,
Activities (2)
Quizzes (1)
Answer Key (1)
Activities (2) Download All Activities
Quizzes (1)
Answer Key (1)
Can’t-Miss Teaching Extras
Kid Crusader

There are several anti-straw campaigns, and we were happy to find one started by a kid! Milo Cress started Be Straw Free when he was 9 years old. Check out the website for some great tips on how to reduce straw use!

Mr. Trash Wheel!

The city of Baltimore has come up with a unique way to clean up plastic in their harbor: Meet Mr. Trash Wheel! Mr. Trash Wheel uses water and solar power to collect litter from the water!

Google Classroom Tips

Check out our Ideabook post about using Google Classroom to teach our debates. The post uses a Storyworks article as an example, but all of the advice applies! 

More About the Article

Key Skills

main idea and supporting details, opinion writing

Step-by-Step Lesson Plan


• Have students preview the text features. Ask:

• What is the topic of the debate? (Prompt students to use the debate title and the heading on the chart as clues.)

• What are the two opinions people might have about this topic?


• Depending on the reading level of your students, read the debate as a class or break the class into groups.

• Have students read the debate a second time. Prompt them to highlight evidence supporting each side as they come across it. Using two different colors of highlighters would be useful here.


• As a class or in groups, have students discuss:

• Which opinion has the best evidence to support it?

• Is one side stronger than the other? Why?

• What is your opinion? What evidence helped you form your opinion?

• For more advanced readers: Do you think the author has an opinion on this issue? What is your evidence?


• Have students complete the chart in the magazine or our full-page printable chart.

• Guide students to write an essay on the debate topic, using the chart they filled out.


• Have students complete our comprehension quiz.

Differentiate and Customize
For On Level Readers

What do you think?

Should we ban plastic straws? Go back to the article and find reasons to support each side. Write down the information, then study the points on both sides of the argument. State your opinion in one sentence, which can be the introduction to an opinion paragraph on this subject.