Friday, February 12, 2010


OBJECTIVE: This activity promotes basic description and argumentation.

Alien Report

You are a delegate from an alien planet, Xyxm, and your mission is to travel the galaxy and explore other planets. After visiting the planet Earth, you must report on one custom/behavior or item (e.g., baseball, shopping malls, or vacuum cleaners) that Earth has and Xyxm lacks. You must inform your superiors as to why it exists, what purpose it serves, and why (or why not) Xyxm should adopt or import the custom/behavior or item. Be specific, and explain fully the need for and the benefits or drawbacks of you chosen topic.


· List five things that are characteristic of American culture and five things characteristic of non-American culture (e.g., hot dogs and sushi)
· List five holidays, celebrations, etc. characteristic of some Earth culture (you may chose from various cultures)
· List five places that one can visit and that might have significant meaning to someone (anywhere in the world)
· Chose at least two of these things from your list, make two columns: Pro's and Con's. Then, briefly list points for each.
· Chose one the one that you feel has the most potential, and begin your first draft.


First draft

Your first draft needs to be three to four pages long, double-spaced, in 12 pt Times New Roman with standard one-inch margins. Be sure to clearly outline your reasoning and give enough background on the aspect you are discussing. Remember, your audience (your superiors on Xyxm) have never been to Earth and know only vaguely of its inhabitants and customs. Explain why Earthlings have this item and what adopting it might mean for Xyxmians. Be sure to keep the tone formal, informative, and direct.
Have fun. Be creative. And, as always, ask if you have any questions about your topic.

Second draft

You will be put into small groups and will read through one another's' papers, making comments and sharing ideas. After doing this, you will need to work on your second draft. This draft needs to be five to seven pages long, and should follow the same formatting guidelines as mentioned above.

Note to teacher:

Other options for group/class work:
(1) Have them present to the class, as though some were delegates sent to Earth and others were their commanding officers on Xyxm. Have the 'Commanders' ask the 'Explorers' questions and vote on whether or not they will accept the new custom/item or whether they will not. Make sure they explain their decision.

(2) Using the web board, have them "report" to their commanders, describing some of the things they have seen on Earth, where they have been, what they have experienced. Then, have them respond to at least two of their classmates, pretending that they are the commanding, Xyxmian-based officer. They should ask question about the report and point out aspects of it that seem interesting and that could use further explanation.

(3) Have them send an e-mail to you, reporting as they might in (2). You will be the commanding officer and will try to guide them to picking out an interesting topic.

Sara Dutcher

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