Author: Angela D. Stewart, Jackson, Mississippi
This activity introduces students in language arts, debate, economics, and history classrooms to argumentation. By the end of the lesson, students should have a better understanding of the terms controversial, pro, and con, and they should be better able to debate the merits of capitalism and communism found in Margaret Walker’s Journal 19, March-December 1941.
8 index cards with controversial topics written on them
Notebooks or folders
Students will work in groups to list and discuss the pros and cons of capitalism and communism in conjunction with the rest of the class. By the end, students should understand key terms in the study of argument; be able to see opposing viewpoints of an issue; and speak, read, write, and listen in an effort to make a cohesive argument.
The teacher should decide how to create incentives and opportunities for the students to write. For the most part, grading should be informally assessed based on participations.
Although teachers may wish to develop a grading rubric for this lesson, they should be wary of giving poor grades that might deter students from writing and contributing to class on their own.
One possible grading rubric for participation could include:
In order to account for students who are too reticent to talk in class, each student’s argument sheet can graded for detail and completion, including: