Research Database

Claims and Evidence
Identify/Generate the principle
Time: 15 minutes (plus student prep work outside of class)

This exercise calls on students to do research (building skills for them, saving time for you); it makes sense only after the class visit to the library. In fact, it works well as an assignment due just after the library visit.

Generate a list of claims or sub-topics based on recent class discussion. Narrow the list down into the 3 or 4 most promising and interesting ones. Assign students to cover different claims/topics, and ask each student to find and read 3 pieces about their assigned claim/topic. (You might require 3 different sources: a newspaper article, a journal piece, and the introduction of a book.) They should write a summary of each source (listing claims and evidence), and post it on toolkit.

For the next homework assignment, ask students to review the database and choose the most interesting claims, or the best evidence, or the least persuasive evidence. Base future class discussions and writing assignments around the database. (Students can gather additional evidence on their own, or continue adding to the database.)