Identify/Generate the principle
Time: 20 minutes
This claim rank focuses on the three characteristics of claims
(they must be debatable, supportable, and rich/surprising/thoughtful)
and - in the variations - on claims within the
First review the characteristics of claims and their definitions.
Distribute the list of claims. Divide students into three groups,
and assign each group a different claim characteristic. Then ask
groups to cross out any claims that don't fulfill their assigned
Share rankings; ask groups to explain their choices. See which
claims are left (and thus fulfill all three characteristics); any
of these will make the foundations of a good essay.
See below for a list of claims and a key to how they are typically
Variation A (better): Compile a list of claims based on your own
theme and recent class discussion.
Variation B (best): Ask students to e-mail you one or two claims
(in response to reading/viewing/discussion or as possible essay
claims). Compile the claims, then distribute and workshop them
as above. (You may want to compile two lists, and divide the class
into 6 groups.)
Here is a list of claims about the millennium. Put a line through
any claim that doesn't fulfill your assigned characteristic.
1. The shift from 2099 to 2100, or even the change from 2999 to
3000, won't attract nearly as much attention as the leap from 1999
2. What made the millennium attractive was not the opportunity
for world connection or technological advancement, but the opportunity
for financial profit.
3. Panic about the "Y2K" bug dominated the news in the
weeks and days ahead of January 1, 2000.
4. From the millennium celebrations in Europe, the U.S., and elsewhere,
it was clear that people increasingly think of themselves as citizens
of the world, and of multi-culturalism as an important value.
5. "Y2K" was most likely part of a larger CIA strategy
to distract Americans from bigger political injustices at home
6. Though most people in 1999 felt that they were in a unique situation,
people face a similar sense of uncertainty and change every 100
7. The impending millennium caused politicians, writers, and others
to think not only about the future, but about the past.
8. The millennium garnered lots of media hype, but most ordinary
people weren't that interested.
9. As they stated in an official Department of Defense document,
the U.S. government believes that the lesson from Y2K is that hard
work pays off.
10. Debates over the importance of Y2K boiled down to debates not
just over science vs. human error, but to debates about self-protection
vs. community connection.
to Millennium Claims
Not debatable: 3, 6, 8?, 9
Not provable: 1, 5
Not rich/surprising/thoughtful: 3, 6, 8?
Meet all characteristics: 2, 4, 8?, 10