Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Who Has the Power?

Missy Withers


Students write persuasive letters expressing opinions about the purchase of 25 acres adjacent to Wakulla Springs proposed to include a convenience store/gas station. They submit the letter to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection via email.


The student uses an organizational pattern appropriate to purpose and audience (including but not limited to topic sentences, supporting sentences, and sequence; develops new ideas in separate paragraphs; concludes with effectiveness).

The student writes for a variety of occasions, audiences, and purposes (for example, letters to persuade or request, humorous or suspenseful stories to entertain, instructions to inform).


-Pencil (one per student)
-Notebook paper for each student
-Business letter format and mechanics worksheet (one per student); See Rough Draft attachment
-Websites bookmarked on the computer. Websites are listed below


1. Connect an LCD panel or comparable unit to the computer with access to Internet for showing websites.
2. Bookmark Internet websites.
3. Copy worksheet (one per student).


1. Ask students:
Should you be able to do what you want with your property?
What if this is against what others wanted?
Who should make the final decision?

2. Show Website Discuss with students: In Wakulla County, Florida, a man named Kenneth Kirton owned 25 acres of land adjacent to Wakulla Springs State Park. He planned to build an RV Park and gas station on his property, but the State of Florida wouldn't allow him to build on the property. As this article says they eventually came to an agreement and the State of Florida acquired the property from Mr. Kirton.

3. Show the website:
and read the article to the students.

4. Show the website: and click on the button to access the camera to view Wakulla Springs. You can manipulate the camera to view various parts of the springs.

5. Brainstorm with the class, making a list on the board of the pros and cons of the situation presented. List the ideas as valid reasons or supporting details. Make sure that students know the difference. Point out the difference between valid reasons and opinions with no support.

6. Hand out Rough Draft worksheet (associated file) and review mechanics of persuasive writing together. Review the format of a letter with students.

7. Assign students the task of taking a side in this situation and completing the Rough Draft worksheet.

1. Review the Rough Draft worksheet from day one, reminding students of the format of a business letter and the mechanics of persuasive writing. Review punctuation conventions with students. Share the rubric in the attached file with students at this time.

2. Have students write their letters and peer edit for clarity, format, reasons, details, and conventions.

3. Type and submit letter via email to


Use the attached rubric to assess the student's letter. Students should peer edit each other's letters for errors in conventions. In order to avoid sending letters containing errors, have students type their letters in Word or a comparable typing software, correct the errors, then copy and paste into the email.


Student uses:
Conventions of capitalization and punctuation
Persuasive writing
Keyboarding skills

Web Links

Web supplement for Who Has the Power?
Web World Wonders at Wakulla

Web supplement for Who Has the Power?
Florida Wildlife

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