The 5-2 Plastic Debate

By Finoula, Class 5-2

In March we found out that Ms. Miller wanted to ban plastic utensils from Parkside. It made some 5-2 students feel upset, surprised, happy, and even outraged! We realized that some students thought it was a good idea and some thought it was a bad idea. So, we decided to have a debate on the topic. It just so happens that we were also learning about persuasive writing in our classroom. The first step for organizing our debate was to get into two teams: a team for the ban, and a team against the ban. Next, in our two groups, we researched all about plastic and plastic utensils. We looked at magazines, books, the internet, invoices, we conducted interviews with teachers, kids and we even called 311! We discovered that we could make our arguments about three main points: finance, environment, and health and safety. We kept researching and then finally we got to write about all of the research we did. We tried to use emotion and humor in our writing, as well as bigger and stronger words to try to persuade the judges. We wrote three paragraphs for each of the main points. Getting ready for the debate took us about 3 months – that’s such a long time!

On Debate Day, we finally had everything set up. The two teams were finally going to share their opinions and learn what the other group felt. Our judges for the debate were experts in the three main areas: Ms. Miller (finance), Ms. Thorne (health and safety), Mr. Casey and Mr. Edwin (environment). Listening to the other team, someone from my team got persuaded to change his opinion! The result of the debate was that plastic utensils will be banned from Parkside starting in the summer. Ms. Miller wants parents to send in their own metal utensils but, for kids who forget, she wants to have bamboo utensils not plastic. Ms. Miller will contact families about this change – this is not the last you will hear of it! I had a lot of fun doing the debate. I liked researching, writing and arguing (because I’m good at arguing!) I even got to understand one of my friends better and we became closer to each other while working on this project. I’m still thinking about the debate and I think many other kids in 5-2 are too. I asked Ms. White if we can go on a field trip to a recycling plant in the summer. We found one in Brooklyn and I am helping to plan this trip.

Thank you to Ms. White, Ms. Kornblum, Ms. Ament and Mr. Carcamo for helping us to work so hard on this big project and to our judges for taking the time to come and hear our opinions.