Paired Texts: The Alaska Purchase



Classroom Application

1. Assign your class PRO/CON: Should the U.S. buy Alaska from Russia? with these instructions:

  • What predictions or assumptions do the authors make about Alaska? Highlight at least one prediction or assumption made in the PRO article and one in the CON article.

2. Next, assign your class Headed for Alaska, Obama renames North America's tallest peak. Include this Write prompt:

  • Imagine that the authors of PRO/CON: Should the U.S. buy Alaska from Russia? could read this article about Obama visiting Alaska. Would it change their opinions? Does it support or contradict the predictions you highlighted? Then highlight one piece of evidence in the Obama article that supports the PRO side, and one that supports the CON side. Explain your reasoning in annotations.

3. Extensions:

  • Image Analysis: Compare the images and captions for PRO/CON: Should the U.S. buy Alaska from Russia? and Headed for Alaska, Obama renames North America's tallest peak. What is similar about the images? What is different? How do they reflect how our understanding of Alaska has changed? 
  • Creative Writing: Assign your class another Newsela PRO/CON article. Instruct students to imagine that they are writing a newspaper article about the topic 150 years from now. Encourage students to use the predictions and assumptions made by the PRO/CON authors to guide their writing. What will the world be like if these predictions are correct?