Parts of Argument (esp.
claims, reasons, evidence)
Identify/Generate the principle
Time: 30+ minutes
(Activity and arguments designed by Robin Field)
1. Come up with a list of 5 or 6 topics related to your theme or
the sub-topic you've been discussing.
2. Put students into groups of 3. Tell them that for the next half
hour or so, the classroom will become the Senate, and each of them
are senators working on sub-committees. Each sub-committee will
receive a topic about which they must create a law. They will propose
their law to the entire Senate, then the Senate will vote. In order
to persuade their esteemed colleagues, each sub-committee should
come up with at least three reasons to support their claim, and
at least two pieces of evidence to support each reason. The sub-committees
will have 10-15 minutes to come up with a law they think they can
pass, and the reasons and evidence to support it.
3. Distribute topics.
4. Visit the sub-committees as they work.
5. Call the Senate to session, and ask the senators to propose
their laws. Discuss and vote on them one at a time; encourage the
rest of the Senate to ask questions and raise objections. If a
law fails, ask the senators why they didn't pass it and what they
needed to hear from the sub-committee in order to support the law.