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Writing an Argument: Should We Reduce Our Use of Technology?

Writing a formal argument.

Lesson length: 1 session or 2 sessions

Lesson from Greenling teaching sequence

Text potential

  • Writing opportunities: Argument

Strategies

  • Thinking Maps
  • Discussion and Dialogue

Purpose

This writing lesson follows the session ‘Is technology a source of or solution to our environmental issues?’ Children use a branching map to construct an argument.

Preparation

  • Download and print copies of the Branching Map for constructing an argument
  • An enlarged version for modelling.
  • Prepare the question on the board.
  • ‘Yes’ No’ signs displayed at opposite ends of the classroom.

Process

Reveal the question:

  • Should we reduce our use of technology?

Use the Think Pair Share strategy for children to share initial ideas. They will already have thought about this in relation to the story.

Invite some feedback and discuss briefly.

Now pose the question a second time and ask the children to move to one of the areas of the classroom displaying the ‘Yes’ ‘No’ signs.

Invite children to express their points of view and to challenge and extend each other’s ideas.

Some prompts to deepen the discussion:

  • What is technology? (Children may not think of printed books or simple eating implements being a kind of technology.)
  • Should we develop technology for things like space exploration, or motorsports, even though we don’t need them for survival?
  • Should we develop expensive life-saving equipment, if it only helps a few people?
  • Are there technological solutions to modern problems?

After discussion, show the Argument Branching Map and show how to structure an argument. Start with the contention which is either. ‘Yes, ee should reduce our use of technology.’ or ‘No, we should not reduce our use of technology’. Then include the ideas that support the argument and the evidence—followed by the objections to the argument and evidence. Finally, write a summary statement supporting your contention.

Final reflection

Share the work and take feedback.

  • What was the most convincing element in the argument?
  • Did you change your mind about anything when you were writing?

Vocabulary

Key vocabulary

evidence, opinion, argument, contention

 
Subject-specific and technical vocabulary 
Academic process words 
Advanced vocabulary 
Morphological investigation 
Etymological investigation 
Idioms 

Resources

Branching Map

Branching diagram

Contributors

Nikki Gamble

Nikki Gamble
Director, Just Imagine
Nikki has worked extensively in schools across the UK and internationally. She is the author of Exploring Children’s Literature (4th edit) (2019) and co-author of Guiding Readers (2016) which was awarded the UKLA Academic Book of the Year Award 2017. Nikki is KS2 reading advisor and series consultant for Oxford University Press and content creator for the Oxford School Improvement and Oxford Owl websites. Nikki is Associate Consultant at the University of London, Institute of Education and Honorary Fellow at the University of Winchester

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