Write a Speech: Exploring Comprehension and Collaboration- Project-Based Learning Unit

Write a Speech- Exploring Comprehension and Collaboration: Project-Based Learning Unit
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Practice Reading Comprehension, Researching and Using Reliable Information, Collaboration, and Communication Skills with this CCSS-Aligned Lesson!

Develop rules for effective collaboration and communication, practice reading comprehension and research skills by learning about both sides of a topic, learn how to make sure the research you use is reliable and trustworthy, and prepare and deliver a debate speech as a group!

Your 3rd grade students will combine research, reading, writing, communication, and collaboration skills in this ELA project-based learning unit. They'll learn how to define rules for collaborating and communicating effectively, build skills in identifying both sides of an argument, learn how to do good research with reliable sources, research debate topics, and prepare and present a group debate speech. 

What's Inside

Packed with hands-on inquiry-based activities, extensions and enhancements, cross-curricular independent and group work, and engaging and interactive challenges, this 54-page project-based unit comes complete with:

  • For the Teacher: A complete Comprehension and Collaboration Lesson Plan with step-by-step instructions for all activities, teaching tips, assessment guidance, and inquiry questions.
  • For Students: A full-color Student Pack complete with all of the printables, slides, photos, and instructions students need for the research, writing, and activities - just print (or share) and teach!

A complete, ready-to-teach Teacher Pack that includes:

  1. Teacher versions of all the student printables with step-by-step annotations and notes for teaching collaboration and reading comprehension;
  2. Formative and summative assessments, answer keys, and a full project rubric;
  3. Instructions and guidance for the extension activities and project enhancements;
  4. Materials and resources lists, links to articles, videos, and research, plus additional resources for lecture and presentation.

What's Included

Lesson Plan - Step-by-Step Project Teaching Guide

  • Milestone 1: Creating Rules for Collaboration
  • Milestone 2: Looking at Both Sides of an Argument
  • Milestone 3: Researching Debate Topics
  • Milestone 4: Preparing for a Debate Speech
  • Milestone 5: Delivering Debate Speeches

Teacher and Student Resources

  • Materials List - Materials Needed for the Projects in this Unit
  • Articles About Debate Topics (optional)
  • Class Rules for Collaboration Activity
  • Getting Ready for Group Work Activity
  • Rules for Collaboration Activity
  • "Five Good Reasons" Topics Ideas
  • Sample Pros and Cons Issue: "Should animals be kept in zoos?"
  • Zoos or No Zoos Pros/Cons Graphic Organizer Activity
  • Milestone #1 Inquiry Question
  • Planning for a Debate Pros/Cons Graphic Organizer Activity
  • Topic Pros/Cons Graphic Organizer Activity
  • Milestone #2 Inquiry Question
  • How to Do Good Research Handout
  • Evaluating Websites for Reliable Information Activity
  • List of Debate Topics
  • Gathering Reliable Evidence Teacher Instructions
  • Reasons to Save the Tree Octopus Reliable Information Activity
  • Gathering Reliable Evidence Activity
  • Milestone #3 Inquiry Question
  • Exploring Comprehension and Collaboration Quick Quiz
  • Exploring Comprehension and Collaboration Quick Quiz Answer Key
  • Tips for a Good Debate Speech Handout
  • Sample Debate Speech Handout
  • Debate Speech Writing Prompt Handout
  • Milestone #4 Inquiry Question
  • Oral Presentations Guide Checklist Handout
  • Voting for the Most Persuasive Speech Handout
  • Milestone #5 Inquiry Question
  • Exploring Comprehension and Collaboration Summative Assessment
  • Exploring Comprehension and Collaboration Summative Assessment Answer Key
  • Exploring Comprehension and Collaboration Project Rubric
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Lesson Plan - Exploring Comprehension and Collaboration Project-Based Learning Lesson
Teacher Pack - Exploring Comprehension and Collaboration Project-Based Learning Lesson
Student Pack - Exploring Comprehension and Collaboration Project-Based Learning Lesson


This project-based learning lesson is designed to support and reinforce the concepts taught as part of an ELA lesson or unit on reading comprehension, effective collaboration, and communication of information. It is built around 5 inquiry-based milestones that incorporate cross-curricular hands-on projects, formative and summative assessments, independent and group activities, and extensions.


In the course of this project-based learning unit, students will:

  • Build a set of classroom rules for effective group collaboration;
  • Learn about how to research and present reliable information properly;
  • Develop an understanding of pros and cons and both sides of an argument;
  • Write a debate speech;
  • Present a debate speech as part of a group to the class, and score/critique others' debate speeches.


Students will acquire necessary background knowledge of comprehension and collaboration as part of this project, and instructional materials for providing that background are included in the Teacher Pack. 


This project-based unit is divided into 5 milestones. The minimum suggested duration for completing this project-based unit is 5 class periods. However, the unit is completely flexible can be lengthened or shortened as necessary or desired, based on available class time and interest level.


  • Internet access


These activities support the following Common Core State Standards for 3rd grade

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.3.6 - Distinguish their own point of view from that of the author of a text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.1 - Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.7 - Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.3.1 - Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.3.4 - Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

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