Claim Rank III (This Time It's Personal)

Identify/Generate the principle
Time: 20 minutes
Related handouts

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 course theme.

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 characteristic.

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 ranked.

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.)

List of Claims
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 to 2000.
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 and abroad.
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 years.
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.

Key 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