The New American Lecture: Natural Resources to Products
by Chase Young

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The New American Lecture is a strategy used in the Mastery teaching position. It is an attempt to break the 11th Century lecture style where reading of a book out loud to provide information was sufficient. Lectures can be used to teach students of all ages, but it must be delivered systematically to maximize the learning from any given lecture (Canter & Winberry, 2001).

The goal of this lesson will be to teach students about natural resources being made into products. It will be conducted using the New American Lecture in the Mastery style position. There are four phases of instruction. The first phase prepares students, the second organizes the information for optimum processing and retention, phase three helps students develop images, and the last allows for elaboration (Silver, Hanson, Strong, & Swartz, 2003).

Phase one begins with a hook. The hook that will be used for this lesson will be a piece of wood. The teacher will instruct random students to complete a DR-TA on the piece of wood. To kindle the hook, students will be posed to imagine what school would be like if we only used natural resources. Students may mention they would have to use the same piece of wood as a pencil as well. Students will then “jot down” products they use in class every day. Students will then be given time to share their answers with a neighbor.

Next, student responses will be recorded on the board. In order to bridge the hook and kindling to the learning objective, the teacher will elicit responses and guide students to determine what natural resources were used to create the products on the board.  Students will be redirected to the original natural resource, the wood, to begin phase three of the lecture where students will be encouraged to develop images (Canter & Winberry, 2001).

Images will be developed by telling the story of how trees become paper. The information will be collected on a flow chart graphic organizer. First, the trees must be harvested and brought to a plant. This will be the first chunk of the story. The teacher will be acting out the entire process. Once this chunk is complete, it will be recorded in the first box on the graphic organizer. Teachers should always say, and then tell (Canter & Winberry, 2001). The next chunk will consist of the processes in which the wood becomes paper. The teacher will discuss the cleaning, pulping, and drying processes. Students will subsequently record the information. The last chunk will discuss the final product—the paper (“How is Paper Made,” 2001). This will be the last item added to the flow chart. Through the story of paper and the deliberate use of the flow chart, the process will be made vivid for the students.

The final phase of the New American Lecture will consist of four questions, each in a different learning style (Canter & Winberry, 2001). The mastery question will be asking students to describe the processing of wood as a natural resource to become the product paper. The understanding question will be to compare and contrast this product with another that may be made similarly. The self-expressive question will ask students to imagine their classroom without paper. What would the implications be, and how would we work around the lack of paper? Finally, the interpersonal question will ask students how they would feel if natural resources were never made into products.  These questions will exercise their full range of styles.

The four principles of the Mastery model are evident in this lecture. The first phase is an anticipatory set fully loaded with a hook, kindling, and a bridge for students to connect to the outcome. The Advanced Visual Organizer is present as the information is collected and added to the flow chart. Students also use deep processing as the lesson is made vivid through the telling of a story and organizing of information. Finally, the questions were created in each of the four learning styles and will stimulate periodic thinking in order to review and reinforce the learning objective (Silver et al, 2003).


Canter, L., & Winberry, K. (Directors). (2001). Program 3: New American Lecture Strategy [Motion picture]. In C. Arnold (Producer), Instructional Models and Strategies. Los Angeles: Laureate Education, Inc.

How is Paper Made. (2001). TAPPI. Retrieved May 12, 2008, from

Silver, H. F., Hanson, J. R., Strong, R. W., & Schwartz, P. B. (2003). Teaching styles & strategies. Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ: The Thoughtful Education Press.

© 2011 Chase J. Young. All rights reserved.