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The One-Paragraph ThinkCERCA Essay

Sometimes it's easier to start ThinkCERCA

by writing one-paragraph responses

and here's how to do it.

Outline for a One-Paragraph Response

1. Claim (Topic Sentence - Subject and Opinion)

2. Reason

3. Explain your claim using...

4. Evidence

5. Counter-Argument Explained

6. Rebuttal

7. Concluding Sentence

Let it be your goal to increase the length of your essay.

A minimum level answer in ThinkCERCA is very similar to an SAR.

IF you're aiming for a one-paragraph answer, it would look like this:

  • claim

  • reason

  • evidence

  • explanation

  • counter-argument / explanation (explanation of the other side's opinion)

  • rebuttal (you explaining why their argument is wrong)

  • conclusion

A sufficient one-paragraph answer is possible in ThinkCERCA,

but it's not as short as the body paragraph of a full essay.

Look at the examples below.

What was the bigger threat to the Everglades: draining the swamp or the Burmese python? 

Support your claim with evidence from the text. 

One-Paragraph Response

Notice the SEVEN parts.

     (claim) Draining the swamp is definitely a bigger threat to the Everglades than the Burmese python. (reason) Though the Burmese Python does kill and eat a lot of animals, draining the swamp will endanger ALL of the animals.  (evidence) Not only has draining the Everglades for agricultural use decreased the animal habitat by 50%, the run-off of phosphorus from the farms has polluted much of the rest of the area. (explanation) Animals were forced to crowd into a smaller habitat area which increases their struggle for food as more animals are fighting for less resources. Add to that the problem of pollution, and it's clear that draining the Everglades was an environmental disaster. (counter-argument) Some people may argue that the Burmese Python is the bigger threat because they eat so many other animals and disrupt the food chain. (rebuttal) It's true that the Python spread rapidly and began to take over, but it was much easier to capture/ kill the Pythons than it is to rebuild over 5,000 acres of wetlands. (conclusion) Clearly destroying a natural habitat for man's use is a mistake that future (and current) generations should not make.

One-Paragraph Introduction

Notice the introduction only has THREE parts.

     (lead)The Florida Everglades are a beautiful part of Florida that springs with life left and right. (bridge) Though still a beautiful wetland, the Everglades have faced many dangers in the past two- to three-hundred years. Two of the most significant challenges it has faced are the decision to attempt to drain the Everglades and the introduction of the invasive species of the Burmese Python. (claim) Though both were very destructive, the draining of the everglades has led to more destruction and its effects have been much much harder to reverse.

Here you can see a FULL ThinkCERCA Essay

(introduction)     The Florida Everglades are a beautiful part of Florida that springs with life left and right. Though still a beautiful wetland, the Everglades have faced many dangers in the past two- to three-hundred years. Two of the most significant challenges it has faced are the decision to attempt to drain the Everglades and the introduction of the invasive species of the Burmese Python. Though both were very destructive, the draining of the everglades has led to more destruction and its effects have been much much harder to reverse.

(first body paragraph - supports claim)     After the draining of the Everglades, people began to "reclaim" the land as if it were ever theirs to begin with. The land was then sold to farmers who knew they could take advantage of the very fertile soil that was all over the everglades. As these farms got bigger and more widespread across the Everglades, the Northern half of the wetlands became polluted with phosphorus, a dangerous chemical used in war to make incendiary rounds and skin-burning gas which now been banned. Fortunately, the people of Florida took notice of the destruction caused by the state's legislature and took action. They supported saving the Everglades and their efforts succeeded because Congress heard their voices and in 1947, created The Everglades National Park. A few decades later, starting in the late 1970s, people from across the globe decided to turn their attention to the Everglades and it was classified as one of the most important wetland environments in the world. Though the conservation efforts of people around the globe caused great improvement and kickstarted the healing process, the Everglades will still never be the same as it once was.

(second body paragraph - present opposing opinion)     Others view the Burmese Python as the main threat to the Everglades. The Burmese Python was never native to the area or to North America. It is believed that pet owners released Burmese Pythons into the Everglades. People usually purchase the snake when it is small but they grow very large leading to owners getting rid of the snake and deciding that a good place to do that was the Everglades. The Pythons flourished in their new habitats. The Burmese Python has been know to eat anything in its path from mice to raccoons to deer to bobcats and they will not stop. It didn't help when Hurricane Andrew hit, destroying pet stores and releasing even more pythons into a food paradise. Realizing what had begun to happen, Floridians once again banded together to save their home state wetlands. Studies have shown that places where the Burmese Python had not yet conquered had much less population loss. Hunters were given permission by the state been to hunt the deadly snake. Today hunters have reported catching over 5000 pythons. This goes to show that though the Burmese Pythons haven’t been in the Everglades for long, conservation efforts have already managed to wrangle up quite a bit of them. 

(conclusion - rebuts opposition and wraps up essay)     Though the python impact on animal life in the Everglades was significant, it was quickly controlled and was never as big as the draining and destruction of over 5,000 acres of wetland. The Florida Everglades have been hit hard many times before and always people have come to its defense. They have truly stood the test of time and have gone to show people all over the world to respect their environment and protect it because without it we would be nowhere at all.

I made these videos in the early days of remote Covid instruction and the audio is pretty bad.