Lesson plan

Argument Writing: Claim, Reasons, and Evidence

This lesson will help students map out their argument essay after they have identified a topic. Students will learn the three basic components of constructing an argument: stating a claim, listing reasons, and providing evidence.
Grade Subject View aligned standards
  • Students will be able to identify the three main parts of a written argument.
  • Students will be able to outline an argument essay by stating a claim, listing reasons, and providing evidence.
(10 minutes)
  • Ask students to think about the following statement and be prepared to state whether they agree or disagree, and list one reason: Dogs are better pets than cats.
  • Call on students to respond to the statement and to list their reasons. When they give a reason (for example, “Dogs are more fun”), press them to provide evidence (such as, “Dogs can be trained" or "Dogs can fetch”).
  • Do this several times, making up new statements that you think will inspire your students. (“Beyonce is the best performer,” or “Football is the best sport”).
(10 minutes)
  • Explain that this is how you need to think when you construct an argument essay. You need to make a claim, give reasons, and then provide at least two pieces of evidence for each reasons.
  • Go through one example as a class. Project the Argument Writing Template worksheet for the class to see, and construct the outline together using ideas from students.
(15 minutes)
  • Have students work in partners or small groups to identify a claim, three reasons, and two pieces of evidence for their claim. This can be done on scratch paper or using the argument writing template.
  • Have each group share what they have written with the class. Discuss and clarify as necessary.
(15 minutes)
  • Provide a new template for each student. Explain that they are going to select a topic of their own and map out their argument using the template. This can be done as a stand-alone exercise, or you could use this as the start to a full argument essay project.
  • Support: Provide struggling students with a claim and one reason with evidence pre-filled so they have an example to follow.
  • Enrichment: Ask students to write an argument essay about a piece of literature they are reading. Have them use evidence from the text to support their reasons. Require them to use at least two direct quotes as evidence, with citations.
(5 minutes)
  • Circulate the room while students are working to evaluate students’ templates to determine if they are able to complete the claim, reasons, and evidence correctly.
(10 minutes)
  • Have students share out their work in small groups or pairs. Ask a few students to nominate a peer’s work to be shared with the entire class.

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