Identify/Generate the principle
Time: 20+ minutes
Ask students to imagine that they will have to persuade an unreceptive
audience. (You can either supply the claim and audience from the
list below, or use claims/audiences relevant to your recent class
discussions, or ask students to use a claim they have developed
for a paper.)
Then, ask students to write down warrants (at least 3) that they
think they share with their skeptical audience. Then, ask students
to come up with reasons that draw on that warrant to support the
claim. Share the results.
Variations: This activity works well in small groups. If different
groups have the same claims/audiences, you might pause when everyone
has brainstormed warrants, and have groups share their results.
If different groups have the different claims/audiences, you might
pause when everyone has brainstormed warrants, then have groups
exchange claims/audiences/warrants, so that they have to generate
reasons for a new set of ideas.
Claim: The government should invest in better mass transit systems
and bike paths.
Audience: The United Auto Workers
Claim: The Internet is the key to world understanding and global
Audience: The Amish
Claim: The legal drinking age should be lowered to 16.
Audience: Mothers Against Driving Drunk
Claim: We should eliminate the single sanction.
Audience: The Honor Committee