Argumentative Essays

Argumentative Essays
Part 1: The structure of a good argument
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This lesson contains 34 slides, with interactive quizzes, text slides and 1 video.

time-iconLesson duration is: 120 min

Items in this lesson

Argumentative Essays
Part 1: The structure of a good argument

Slide 1 - Slide

Lesson goals
- To know the difference between a deductive and inductive argument.
- To know the different levels of counterarguments, from least convincing to most convincing.
-To be able to formulate a good argument.

So first, let's look at some examples. In the next video, whose arguments are more persuasive for you?

Slide 2 - Slide

Slide 3 - Video

Whose arguments were more persuasive?
Donald Trump's arguments
Joe Biden's arguments

Slide 4 - Quiz

What made the person, whose arguments (or structure of the arguments) you preferred, persuasive?

Slide 5 - Open question

Deductive vs. Inductive Arguments
The premises of an inductive argument, by comparison, simply present the conclusion as probable, rather than logically necessary:

1st Premise: My dog is furry.
2nd Premise: My neighbour’s dog is furry.
3rd Premise: Every dog I’ve seen so far has been furry.
Conclusion: The next dog I see will be furry.

Slide 6 - Slide

Deductive vs. Inductive Arguments
The stronger of these are deductive arguments, as the conclusion of a deductive argument follows necessarily from the truth of its premises:
-> An argument is valid if the truth of all its premises forces the conclusion to be true.

1st Premise:   All human beings are mortal.
2nd Premise: Sam is a human being.
Conclusion:   Thus, Sam is mortal.

Slide 7 - Slide

Deductive vs. Inductive Arguments
Come up with a finite set of premises that illustrate the line of reasoning for the argument. These premises and conclusions constitute your main points, which should act as the main topic for each of your paragraphs.
Normally you would need to include evidence/sources, but for this practice exercise you do no thave to, which means your reasoning has to be sound.

Slide 8 - Slide

Slide 9 - Link

How to

Slide 10 - Slide

Choose 3 of these statements.
Abortion should be banned.
Animal testing should be stopped.
The #metoo movement is a good thing.
Illegal immigrants should be granted residency.
There is a fake news problem. (What is the source?)
 "Big pharma" has people’s best interests at heart.
The death penalty is a just punishment.
Are there moral concerns that should make genetic cloning illegal?
What should people do to stop human trafficking?

Slide 11 - Slide

Now it is time to formulate your own arguments!
Write down: I agree/ disagree, because....

Slide 12 - Slide

Argumentative Essays
Part 2: The structure of a good argumentative essay

Slide 13 - Slide

Lesson goals
- I know what the structure of a good argumentative essay is.
 - I can describe what makes an essay strong/weak, good/bad.

Last week, we reviewed how to formulate a strong argument and today we we will discuss what else can help you convince someone (in writing).

Slide 14 - Slide

Just to be clear: What is the purpose of an argumentative essay?
to compare and contrast two different or similar things.
to convince the reader by using logic and evidence
to answer a question through research of the relevant literature
to analyze a piece of literature from different angles

Slide 15 - Quiz

Argumentative Essay Structure
- Title
- Introduction
- Main argument 1
- Main argument 2
- Counterargument 1
- Conclusion

Slide 16 - Slide

Suggestions on how to create a hook
  • Start with an interesting fact
  • Share an anecdote
  • Write about a common misconception about your essay topic
  • Start with a rhetorical question

Slide 17 - Slide

The Title
- Avoid boring titles (or having no title at all!):
          -> Repeating the statement or only stating the topic.
          -> "Guns are good." "Guns in the Netherlands." "Guns."
- Try to come up with an exciting / interesting/clever title 
          -> "The controlling nature of gun control laws."
          -> "Gun control laws are bulletproof."

Slide 18 - Slide

The Introduction 
  • Hook =  a catchy sentence or paragraph in the introduction which serves as an attention-grabbing element.
  • Background information (if necessary)
  • Thesis statement including the three arguments to be expanded on. 

Slide 19 - Slide

Introduction - Match
Kids with black eyes. Kids crying themselves to sleep. Kids afraid to go to school these are just some of the things that happen when kids are bullied. 
Millions of kids are bullied every month. They are bullied every month. They are bullied physically and emotionally, and made fun of and intimidated in person, online over phones, and almost everywhere. Not enough is being done. 
Bullying should be punished by a fine or jail time because it is too prevalent, it leaves long-lasting emotional and academic scars, and it can lead to suicide. In addition, fines and jail time will prevent further bullying. 
Background info
Thesis statement

Slide 20 - Drag question

Why is (or isn't) this a good thesis statement:

Grades should be eliminated because they cause anxiety and put unnecessary pressure on students.

Slide 21 - Open question

The Body
  • Each paragraph is focused on one (counter)argument
  • Structure for each paragraph:   
 - Introduction by means of a topic sentence (one 
sentence that shows what the main argument
is that you're going to make) 
- Sub-arguments, evidence, examples 
- Conclusion

Slide 22 - Slide

  • Thesis and arguments restated in a different, interesting manner. 
  • Call to some sort of action or response. 
  • Thought -provoking ending. 

Slide 23 - Slide

So now you know how to build an argument and use the structure of an argumentative essay to your advantage, but what else is important?
1. Choose and study 1 of the three examples given in the following slide
2. Write down the strengths and weaknesses of each essay in note form.

Slide 24 - Slide

Slide 25 - Link

Self assessment Rubric
Create a clea set of S-E criteria.
See the suggestions on the website and in this lesson up


Slide 26 - Slide

How to structure your body paragraphs using the PEEL method? 
Point: start your sentence with a clear topic sentence that establishes what your paragraph is about. 
Evidence/ Example: here you should use a piece of evidence that helps to reaffirm your iniitial point and develop the argument. 
Explain: next you need to explain exactly how your evidence supports your point. 
Link: you need to link the point you have just made back to your thesis or the following paragraph using a linking word

Slide 27 - Slide

Do not ...
...simply repeat your introduction or thesis.

...introduce any new or significant evidence or example for your main argument. 

Slide 28 - Slide

Essay 1
Essay 2
Essay 3

Slide 29 - Drag question

What was the main point made while deciding how to rank the essays?

Slide 30 - Open question

Argumentative Essays
Part 3: (Actually,) Writing a good argumentative Essay

Slide 31 - Slide

Lesson goals
- I can write an argumentative essay.
- I know how to reflect on my own argumentative essay.

The last two lessons were focussed on the structures of arguments and the argumentative essay as a whole. Today, it is time to start writing your own.

Slide 32 - Slide

What did you pay attention to last time?
- Structure of the essay.
- Content
- Cohesion
- Persuasiveness
- Grammar
- Vocabulary / Register

Slide 33 - Slide

1.  Write an argumentative essay about the protection of endangered species.
2. Try to pay attention to all the previously discussed elements that can make your essay stronger.
3. Check your work using the self-evaluation rubric and hand in your work when you are done.

Slide 34 - Slide