Lesson plan

It’s Okay to Argue

We don’t want arguments in the classroom, right? Actually arguments aren’t all bad! In this lesson, students learn to write argumentative essays.
Grade Subject View aligned standards

Students will be able to use evidence to support their arguments.

(10 minutes)
  • Have students turn to a partner and tell them about an argument they have had.
  • Ask for a few students to share about their arguments with the class.
  • Tell students that arguments between two people have two different sides. Ask students to turn to their partner and talk about the different sides in the arguments they reflected on.
(10 minutes)
  • Tell students that the strongest arguments are supported by evidence. Evidence are facts or information that help to prove a point.
  • Give the following example: A brother and sister are arguing about who had the remote first. The sister gave evidence that she had the remote first when she pointed out that she turned the TV to a show she wanted to watch. The brother didn’t have any evidence that he ever turned the TV to a show he wanted to watch.
  • Tell students that argumentative writing proves points by using evidence. In argumentative writing, just like in arguments, there can be two sides to a story.
  • Explain that students will be writing argumentative essays on one of the following topics: Why kids should/shouldn’t watch TV, why kids should/shouldn’t have homework, or why kids should/shouldn’t have more recess.
(10 minutes)
  • Say, “Let’s say I want to argue in favor of kids walking to school. People arguing against me might say that kids should be driven to school because it takes less time. But I want to think about evidence why I think kids should walk to school. I can think of three reasons: Walking cuts down on pollution, it’s good exercise, and it gives students a chance to wake up by moving their bodies.”
  • Model how to write an argumentative essay that includes these three points. Teach how to create an introduction that introduces your argument and a conclusion that restates it.
  • In older grades, students will learn how to write a five paragraph essay. The goal here is to write an argument and use evidence to support it, but if students are ready to include a more formal introduction or conclusion give them the information to do so.
(20 minutes)
  • Have students pick a topic and a stance to argue. Ask students to come up with two to three pieces of evidence to support their stance before they start writing their essays. They can jot the evidence down on a piece of scratch paper as a rough outline.
  • Hand out paper and have students work on drafting their essays. As students work, circulate around the room to help them.

Support: Have students write a paragraph instead of a full essay. Enrichment: Have students peer review each other’s essays.

(5 minutes)
  • Assess students’ understanding by noticing how they are stating their argument and using evidence to back up their claim.
(5 minutes)
  • Have students share their writing with a partner. If time permits, ask for a few students to share their work with the entire class.

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