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Lessons in Nature from Ralph Waldo Emerson – Discussion Materials

Make the words of Transcendental philosopher and writer Ralph Waldo Emerson come alive for your students with breath-taking photography in this two-day class discussion activity with optional independent writing activity.

This packet includes 12 visually arresting images from nature coupled with quotations from Nature and Self-Reliance, two of Emerson’s most-noted works. Images are in both PDF and PowerPoint slide format for ease of use. Also included are detailed directions on how to run the activity along with 10 distinct reproducible student handouts for teams to use as they work through the activity.

The class discussion, in which you’ll break students into 10 small teams, works well as both an “into” or “after” activity for studying any of Emerson or Thoreau’s works. Students do not have to have read Nature or Self-Reliance for this stand-alone activity to work smoothly.

I also like the real-world component of the activity, which encourages critical thinking skills as students debate the merits of Emerson’s words and relate the ideas to their own lives. Excellent preparation on how to extract body paragraph subject matter from a high-level quote, a skill students will need to demonstrate on S.A.T. and E.A.P. expository essays.

If you use all components, this activity will take two 50-minute class periods. You can edit/alter the procedures, however, to fit this into one 50-minute class period, if needed.

Click the “Preview” above to take a closer look.

Want to use pop culture to pull students into their study of Transcendentalism? Click HERE to see how Duck Dynasty echoes the teachings of Emerson and Thoreau

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