Time: 15-40 minutes
(Activity and arguments developed by Justin Scott Van Kleeck)
This activity gives students the chance to build arguments; it's
a bit more fun because it asks students to make slightly wacky arguments.
Put students into groups of four or five. Give them each a claim
(give everyone the same claim), and ask them to generate at least
three reasons, at least two pieces of evidence for each reason, acknowledgment
and response, and warrants. After 10 minutes or so, compare arguments.
You might ask students to work through two or three claims altogether.
Variations: Supply other parts of the argument, and ask students
to generate the rest.
Listed below are some sample arguments (it's not a bad idea to sketch
out the pieces for yourself in case you need to help students brainstorm);
of course, you might use outlandish claims about the class theme.
The 1969 Apollo moon landing was
|*The photo and video footage of NASA on the
moon are obviously staged.
*The astronauts are really defensive and protest too much
*After Kennedy's challenge, there was a lot of political pressure
andnational pride at stake in a successful moon landing by
the end of the 60s
|*Lots of things are on tape that never could
have happened: the waving flag, lights and shadows, the moon
*Buzz Aldrin punched a guy who asked him to swear on the Bible
that the moon landing was real
*Kennedy's speech, newspaper articles of the decade
|*Certain things possible on earth are impossible
on the moon
*People who resort to physical violence do so because they
know they're wrong
*The government will do anything to (appear to) fulfill a president's
goal (at least in the 60s, at least if the president was the
|*Actually, you can drive on the moon, in a special
*Buzz Aldrin is just a hot-head; he was offended.
*Other presidential goals—even JFK's—went
unrealized, and the government had bigger things to worry about
in 1969 (race, Vietnam).
People should not have to learn
|*In our high-tech world, reading is unnecessary;
everything can be made visual or oral.
*Reading is boring and time-consuming.
*Reading is unhealthy.
|*Television, radio, PowerPoint, etc.
*Most people prefer film adaptations or books on tape to books
*People go blind from reading too much. And don't get me started
on paper cuts!
|*Ideas and language begin as oral or visual
concepts, only written down after they've been imagined.
*Things that are difficult or time-consuming are not worth
the effort. Easier is always better.
*Possible infirmities and accidents are reason to avoid an
|*Reading makes technology possible.
Reading and writing help people learn and think.
*Sometimes harder is better; anything worth having is worth
*The risk of blindness is minimal and paper cuts are not a
big deal; these sacrifices are worth it.