In this assignment, you will write an article that persuades readers to support your opinion about an astronomy-related issue. For example, you might argue that Pluto should be considered a planet or that we should send a human mission to Mars. Your arguments must be based on scientific knowledge and cite sources as evidence. For example, an argument for sending humans to Mars might include data about how long a mission would take to reach Mars and the leading theories for how to terraform Mars.
After completing this assignment, you will have gained the following skills :
- How to write a persuasive article
- How to write about a scientific topic for the general public
- How to research scientific facts that support a thesis
- How to write a compelling introduction that grabs your audience's attention
- How to cite your sources
Assignment Due Dates
This Canvas page is the overview for this assignment. You do not turn in anything on this Canvas page. Listed below are the due dates and links for this assignment.
- Oct 29: Proposal due. Turn in via Canvas.
- Oct 31: First draft due. Turn in via Canvas. Turn in on Canvas and bring three hardcopies with you to class.
- Nov 4-6: Second draft and 1:1 Conference questions due by 4:00pm the night before your conference. Turn in on Canvas and bring two hardcopies with you to the conference.
- Nov 7: Final draft due by 4:00 pm. Turn in via Canvas.
- Nov 8: Reflection on the second assignment is due by 4:00 pm. Turn in via Canvas.
You are free to choose any astronomy-related topic for this assignment. You are encouraged to choose a topic related to a lecture or assignment from ASTR 150.
The audience for this assignment is members of the general public who have an interest in astronomy topics. Think of readers of Popular Science, Astronomy magazine, or the Science or Op-Ed pages of the New York Times.
Your persuasive science writing assignment should be about 1200-1500 words and include the following elements:
- A descriptive title
- A compelling "hook" to engage your reader in the issue
- Appropriate context to help your reader understand the issue
- A thesis statement that clearly states your opinion
- At least three key arguments for your opinion, supported by scientific facts or theories
- A discussion of counterarguments, if appropriate
- A conclusion that summarizes your case and calls the reader to take action
- A works cited list with at least four sources
Make sure that these elements are structured in a way that helps your audience follow your argument and that you effectively use transitions to help your audience move from one element to the next.
Consider the student paper Greening the Red Planet and the op-ed Earth, the Final Frontier as examples for this assignment.