Building a Better Argument. Author: Joe Miller.

This lesson plan helps students identify whether or not a conclusion is part of an argument as well as identify premises (both explicit and implied) within an argument. This lesson utilizes media, students handouts of quoted arguments, and a teacher handout that includes answers and explanations of arguments' validity or invalidity. This lesson provides in-depth explanation and examples regarding an argument's validity. Using a video as well as student handouts, this lesson allows students to explore an argument by first questioning IF it is an argument, then if it is, upon what logic the argument is based. This lesson may be more useful for advanced students in tenth grade as well as eleventh and twelfth grade students.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.5
Analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of the structure an author uses in his or her exposition or argument, including whether the structure...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.8
Delineate and evaluate the reasoning in seminal U.S. texts, including the application of constitutional principles and use of legal reasoning...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.1
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text,...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.1
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.2
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.9
Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
CCSS.Math.Content.4.MD.A.1
Know relative sizes of measurement units within one system of units including km, m, cm; kg, g; lb, oz.; l, ml; hr, min, sec. Within a single...
CCSS.Math.Content.4.MD.A.2
Use the four operations to solve word problems involving distances, intervals of time, liquid volumes, masses of objects, and money, including...
CCSS.Math.Content.4.MD.A.3
Apply the area and perimeter formulas for rectangles in real world and mathematical problems. For example, find the width of a rectangular room...
CCSS.Math.Content.4.MD.B.4
Make a line plot to display a data set of measurements in fractions of a unit (1/2, 1/4, 1/8). Solve problems involving addition and subtraction of...
CCSS.Math.Content.4.NF.A.2
Compare two fractions with different numerators and different denominators, e.g., by creating common denominators or numerators, or by comparing to...
CCSS.Math.Content.4.NF.B.3
Understand a fraction a/b with a > 1 as a sum of fractions 1/b.
CCSS.Math.Content.4.NF.B.4
Apply and extend previous understandings of multiplication to multiply a fraction by a whole number.
CCSS.Math.Content.4.OA.A.3
Solve multistep word problems posed with whole numbers and having whole-number answers using the four operations, including problems in which...
CCSS.Math.Content.5.MD.A.1
Convert among different-sized standard measurement units within a given measurement system (e.g., convert 5 cm to 0.05 m), and use these...
CCSS.Math.Content.5.MD.B.2
Make a line plot to display a data set of measurements in fractions of a unit (1/2, 1/4, 1/8). Use operations on fractions for this grade to solve...
CCSS.Math.Content.5.NBT.B.5
Fluently multiply multi-digit whole numbers using the standard algorithm.
CCSS.Math.Content.5.NF.B.3
Interpret a fraction as division of the numerator by the denominator (a/b = a / b). Solve word problems involving division of whole numbers leading...
CCSS.Math.Content.5.NF.B.4
Apply and extend previous understandings of multiplication to multiply a fraction or whole number by a fraction.
CCSS.Math.Content.5.NF.B.7
Apply and extend previous understandings of division to divide unit fractions by whole numbers and whole numbers by unit fractions.1
CLE 3001.5.1
Use logic to make inferences and draw conclusions in a variety of challenging oral and written contexts.
CLE 3001.5.2
Analyze text for fact and opinion, cause/effect, inferences, evidence, and conclusions.
CLE 3001.5.3
Evaluate an argument, considering false premises, logical fallacies, and the quality of evidence presented.
CLE 3001.5.4
Analyze the logical features of an argument
CLE 3001.8.4
Analyze works of literature for what is suggested about the historical period in which they were written.
CLE 3002.5.1
Use logic to make inferences and draw conclusions in a variety of challenging oral and written contexts.
CLE 3002.5.2
Analyze text for fact and opinion, cause-effect, inferences, evidence, and conclusions.
CLE 3002.5.3
Evaluate an argument, considering false premises, logical fallacies, and the quality of evidence presented.
CLE 3002.5.4
Analyze the logical features of an argument.
CLE 3002.5.6
Analyze deductive and inductive arguments.
CLE 3002.8.4
Analyze works of literature for what is suggested about the historical period in which they were written.
CLE 3003.3.1
Write in a variety of modes, with particular emphasis on persuasion, for different purposes and audiences.
CLE 3003.3.3
Organize ideas into an essay with a thesis statement in the introduction, well-constructed paragraphs, a conclusion, and transition sentences that connect...
CLE 3003.5.2
Analyze text for fact and opinion, cause/effect, inferences, evidence, and conclusions.
CLE 3003.5.3
Evaluate an argument, considering false premises, logical fallacies, and quality of evidence presented.
CLE 3003.5.4
Analyze the logical features of an argument.
CLE 3003.5.6
Analyze deductive and inductive arguments.
CLE 3005.3.3
Organize ideas into an essay with a thesis statement in the introduction, well-constructed paragraphs, a conclusion, and transition sentences that connect...
CLE 3005.5.1
Use logic to make inferences and draw conclusions in a variety of complex oral and written contexts.
CLE 3005.5.2
Analyze text for fact and opinion, cause/effect, inferences, evidence, and conclusions.
CLE 3005.5.3
Evaluate an argument, considering false premises, logical fallacies, and quality of evidence presented.
CLE 3005.5.4
Analyze the logical features of an argument.
CLE 3005.5.6
Analyze deductive and inductive arguments.
GLE 0406.1.2
Apply and adapt a variety of appropriate strategies to problem solving, including estimation, and reasonableness of the solution.
GLE 0406.2.2
Develop fluency with multiplication and single-digit division.
GLE 0406.2.5
Add and subtract fractions with like and unlike denominators.
GLE 0406.2.6
Solve problems involving whole numbers, fractions, and/or decimals using all four arithmetic operations.
GLE 0406.4.2
Understand and use measures of length, area, capacity, and weight.
GLE 0406.4.3
Solve problems that involve estimating and measuring length, area, capacity and weight.
GLE 0406.5.1
Collect, record, arrange, present, and interpret data using tables and various representations.
GLE 0506.2.4
Develop fluency with addition and subtraction of proper and improper fractions and mixed numbers; explain and model the algorithm.
GLE 0506.5.1
Make, record, display and interpret data and graphs that include whole numbers, decimals, and fractions.
SPI 0406.2.10
Solve contextual problems using whole numbers, fractions, and decimals.
SPI 0406.2.11
Solve problems using whole number multi-digit multiplication.
SPI 0406.2.5
Generate equivalent forms of common fractions and decimals and use them to compare size.
SPI 0406.2.6
Use the symbols and = to compare common fractions and decimals in both increasing and decreasing order.
SPI 0406.2.8
Add and subtract proper fractions with like and unlike denominators and simplify the answer.
SPI 0406.3.1
Use letters and symbols to represent an unknown quantity and write a simple mathematical expression
SPI 0406.4.7
Determine appropriate size of unit of measurement in problem situations involving length, capacity or weight.
SPI 0406.4.8
Convert measurements within a single system that are common in daily life (e.g., hours and minutes, inches and feet, centimeters and meters, quarts and gallons,...
SPI 0406.4.9
Solve problems involving area and/or perimeter of rectangular figures.
SPI 0406.5.1
Depict data using various representations (e.g., tables, pictographs, line graphs, bar graphs).
SPI 0406.5.2
Solve problems using estimation and comparison within a single set of data.
SPI 0606.2.1
Solve problems involving the multiplication and division of fractions.
SPI 3001.5.1
Make inferences and draw conclusions based on evidence in text.
SPI 3002.5.1
Make inferences and draw conclusions based on evidence in text.
SPI 3003.3.13
Identify the targeted audience for a selected passage.
SPI 3003.3.8
Choose the transitional device that appropriately connects sentences or paragraphs within a writing sample.
SPI 3003.4.3
Evaluate the reliability and credibility of sources for use in research.
SPI 3003.5.11
Identify the main claim, premise(s), evidence, or conclusion of a given argument.
SPI 3003.5.8
Determine whether a given argument employs deductive or inductive reasoning. (NOTE: NO Check for Understanding)
TSS.ELA.11-12.RI.KID.1
Analyze what a text says explicitly and draw inferences; support an interpretation of a text by citing and synthesizing relevant textual evidence from...
TSS.ELA.11-12.RL.KID.1
Analyze what a text says explicitly and draw inferences; support an interpretation of a text by citing and synthesizing relevant textual evidence from...
TSS.ELA.11-12.W.TTP.1
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning supported by relevant and sufficient evidence.
TSS.ELA.11-12.W.TTP.2
Write informative/explanatory texts to analyze, synthesize, and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the...
TSS.ELA.9-10.RI.KID.1
Analyze what a text says explicitly and draw inferences; cite the strongest, most compelling textual evidence to support conclusions.
TSS.ELA.9-10.RL.KID.1
Analyze what a text says explicitly and draw inferences; cite the strongest, most compelling textual evidence to support conclusions.
TSS.ELA.9-10.W.RBPK.9
Support and defend interpretations, analyses, reflections, or research with evidence found in literature or informational texts, applying grade band...
TSS.ELA.9-10.W.TTP.1
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning supported by relevant and sufficient evidence.
TSS.Math.4.MD.A.1
Measure and estimate to determine relative sizes of measurement units within a single system of measurement involving length, liquid volume, and mass/weight...
TSS.Math.4.MD.A.2
Solve one- or two-step real-world problems involving whole number measurements with all four operations within a single system of measurement including...
TSS.Math.4.MD.A.3
Know and apply the area and perimeter formulas for rectangles in realworld and mathematical problems.
TSS.Math.4.MD.B.4
Make a line plot to display a data set of measurements in fractions of a unit (1/2, 1/4, 1/8). Use operations on fractions for this grade to solve problems...
TSS.Math.4.NF.A.2
Compare two fractions with different numerators and different denominators by creating common denominators or common numerators or by comparing to a...
TSS.Math.4.NF.B.3
Understand a fraction a/b with a > 1 as a sum of fractions 1/b. For example, 4/5 = 1/5 + 1/5 + 1/5 + 1/5.
TSS.Math.4.NF.B.4
Apply and extend previous understandings of multiplication as repeated addition to multiply a whole number by a fraction.
TSS.Math.4.OA.A.3
Solve multi-step contextual problems posed with whole numbers and having whole-number answers using the four operations, including problems in which...
TSS.Math.5.MD.A.1
Convert customary and metric measurement units within a single system by expressing measurements of a larger unit in terms of a smaller unit. Use these...
TSS.Math.5.MD.B.2
Make a line plot to display a data set of measurements in fractions of a unit (1/2, 1/4, 1/8). Use operations on fractions for this grade to solve problems...
TSS.Math.5.NBT.B.5
Fluently multiply multi-digit whole numbers (up to three-digit by four-digit factors) using appropriate strategies and algorithms.
TSS.Math.5.NF.B.3
Interpret a fraction as division of the numerator by the denominator (a/b = a ÷ b). For example, 3/4 = 3 ÷ 4 so when 3 wholes are shared equally...
TSS.Math.5.NF.B.4
Apply and extend previous understandings of multiplication to multiply a fraction by a whole number or a fraction by a fraction.
TSS.Math.5.NF.B.7
Apply and extend previous understandings of division to divide unit fractions by whole numbers and whole numbers by unit fractions.
 
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
 
Learning objectives: 

In this lesson students will:

  • Discover the basic terminology of arguments.
  • Learn strategies for reliably distinguishing between premises and conclusions.
  • Explore the differences between arguments and explanations.

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Understanding

Helpful Hints

Materials:

  • Monty Python, “The Argument Clinic”
  • Student handout #1, Finding Premises and Conclusions
  • Student handout #2, Argument Examples
  • Teacher handout #1, Argument Examples

References

Contributors: