Lesson Plans

What's the Impact of Finding Oil in Your Backyard?


Students will be able to evaluate how authors illustrate the impacts of finding oil in Kenya in two texts by distinguishing impacts on the country and its people

Essential question: How does discovering oil affect a community? How do journalists connect audiences issues in international communities?


1. Consider the following: If oil was discovered in your town, what would be the impact? Who would be happy and who wouldn’t? How would your town change?

2. Make a list of three positive impacts and three negative impacts.

Positive impacts

Negative impacts







3. To help you brainstorm, consider how discovering oil could affect the following. Write the potential impact in the blank. 

  • ​Your family ___________________________________________________________________
  • A local restaurant ______________________________________________________________
  • A local hotel __________________________________________________________________
  • City parks ____________________________________________________________________
  • Libraries _____________________________________________________________________
  • Schools ______________________________________________________________________

Introducing the Lesson:

​Today we will explore two articles analyzing the impacts of discovering oil in Turkana, a county in Kenya. 

Both articles being explored today come from the Pulitzer Center, a center that funds international journalists. Today we will analyze how the journalists distinguish connections between oil and its effects on Turkana to determine how we feel about drilling. 

Introducing Resource 1: "Kenya: The People of Turkana County"

This resource uses text and images to compare life pre-oil and life post-oil in Turkana, Kenya.

Review the following article and slideshow and then use the questions to analyze how the author uses text and images to illustrate who is affected by the discovery of oil, and how they are affected.

Introducing Resource 2: "From Gushers to Glue: Should Kenya's Oil be Coming Out of the Ground at All?"

This resource explores oil drilling in Turkana County. As you read, write down words you're unfamiliar with and answer the comprehension questions. 

Use the questions to identify how this his author makes different connections to explore the impacts of oil drilling in Kenya. 

When answering the questions, consider how does the author use comparison differently in this article? Rather than comparing the impacts on people, the author compares drilling now to drilling in the past. What is the impact of that? 


1. Imagine your town has announced that oil has been discovered. Which details from the articles you read today would you use to make the case for whether or not to drill? Make a list of three examples. 

2. Write a short email outlining your position to your local government that uses three examples from today's articles to distinguish connections between oil drilling in Turkana County and oil drilling in your community. Use the examples to express your position on whether or not oil should be drilled in your community. 

Educator Notes: 

In the following lesson, students evaluate how authors illustrate the impacts of finding oil in Kenya in two texts. Students then apply what they learned from the articles to a presentation either advocating for, or protesting against, the hypothetical drilling for oil in their own communities.


Analyze how a text makes connections among and distinctions between individuals, ideas, or events (e.g., through comparisons, analogies, or categories).

Note: In addition to independent investigation of the attached resources, this lesson includes warm up and reflection exercises that are designed to be facilitated in small groups or by the instructor. However, the student instructions for this lesson can be adapted if students will be exploring these resources independently.

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