Should Fracking be Banned?

Ages: 15-18
Suggested length: 2-3 class periods (45-55 minutes each)
Device accessibility: 1 device per 1-2 students

Lesson Information

At a glance

In this lesson, students will be split into groups and asked to complete a partly developed Kialo discussion on the question, “should fracking be banned?” The discussion explores both the benefits and harms of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.”

Each group will be given a clone of a partially developed Kialo discussion: either a “pro-fracking” discussion or an “anti-fracking” discussion. Students will spend one class period conducting research and a second class period developing their discussion clone so that it represents both sides of the question.

Student groups will be assessed on the quality of the claims they add to their debates.

Learning objective(s)

In this lesson, students will:

  • Practice research skills to locate credible information about the benefits and harms of fracking.
  • Formulate arguments for or against fracking using reason and evidence.

Prior knowledge

Students should be familiar with different energy sources, including fossil fuels, renewable energy, and nuclear power. Students should also have a basic understanding of environmental pollution, energy independence, and the role of fossil fuels in climate change.

Teacher preparation

  • Make enough clones of the “pro-fracking” and “anti-fracking” discussions for every group (only 1 clone of either discussion per group).
    • We recommend about 4-6 students per group.
    • In the provided Kialo discussion, there is a default discussion task for students to each add 5 claims below existing claims. You can alter discussion task settings in your own clone and then use it as a template for any subsequent clones you wish to make.
      • You can also edit the student instructions to reflect any changes.
  • When inviting students to their clones of the discussion, give them Writer permissions.

Provided materials

Lesson Plan

Suggested length: 2 class periods (45-55 minutes each)

Lesson components:
– Opener (10 minutes)
– Activity
– Part A: Exploring Kialo discussions (focus of 1 class period)
– Part B: Developing the Kialo discussion (focus of 1 class period)
– Optional closer (remaining class time)

Student groups will be assessed on their contributions to the Kialo discussion. (see suggested rubric in provided materials)

Opener (10 minutes)

  1. Write the word “fracking” on the board. Ask students to work with a partner to write down everything they know or have heard about fracking.
  2. Show students a video of the Associated Press report, “Communities Divided Over Natural Gas Drilling.”
  3. Ask students to compare their brainstormed notes with the report. Did the report confirm or contradict anything the students had written?
  4. Inform students that they will be put in groups and assigned a partly developed Kialo discussion: either a “pro-fracking” or an “anti-fracking” discussion. Explain that students will develop their assigned discussion to represent both sides of the question.


Part A: Exploring Kialo Discussions (1 class period)

  1. Distribute and go over the student instructions and assignment rubric.
  2. Split the class into groups of 4-6 students and assign each group either a “pro-fracking” or an “anti-fracking” discussion. If possible, there should be an equal number of “pro” and “anti” groups.
  3. Go over Part A of student instructions and direct student groups to explore their assigned discussion.

Part B: Developing Kialo Discussions (focus of 1 class period)

  1. Go over Part B of student instructions.
  2. Direct student groups to begin developing their assigned discussion clones, adding 5 claims per student. Encourage students to collaborate so that they do not duplicate ideas.

Tip: You can keep track of how many claims each student has added by pressing the button in the top-left of the discussion and looking at the “Tasks” tab.

Optional closer (remaining class time) 

  1. Show students the fully developed Kialo discussion.
  2. Using the topology diagram (this can be found by clicking the 220519-062106_firefox_jtQltzoTJ7.png button in the top-left corner of the discussion), browse the fully developed discussion. Conduct a class discussion around these questions:
    • Did students include similar points in their own discussions, or did they approach similar topics differently?
    • Do students see any points in the fully developed discussion that they did not cover on their own?
    • Did students cover points not present in the fully developed discussion?

Related Kialo Discussion

Was this article helpful?

Back to top