Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Argument Is Everywhere

Introduction to Argument

K20 Center, Lara Searcy | Published: September 18th, 2020 by K20 Center

  • Grade Level Grade Level 11th, 12th
  • Subject Subject English/Language Arts
  • Course Course A.P. Language and Composition, Composition, Creative Writing
  • Time Frame Time Frame 90 minutes
  • Duration More 1-2 class period(s)


This lesson introduces the importance of argument in everyday life. Students will identify arguments in order to build an initial understanding of claims, evidence, and reasoning, and the rhetorical situation: author’s purpose, audience, and context. While this lesson is currently aligned only to 11th-grade standards, it would be appropriate to teach in grades 11 through 12, adjusting standards as needed.

Essential Question(s)

How is argument prevalent everywhere?



Students identify examples of argument in everyday occurrences.


Students explore multiple examples of argument.


Students explain the essentials of argument: claim, purpose, audience, and context.


Students extend their learning by looking at print examples of argument and identify the claim, purpose, audience, and context of each.


Students evaluate multimedia arguments that demonstrate a specific claim, purpose, audience, and context.


  • Lesson Slides (attached)

  • Claim Cards (print out slides 6–10)

  • Computer, projector, and internet access (with access to YouTube)

  • Student devices with internet access (school computers, tablets, phones, etc.)

  • Paper

  • Pencils/pens

  • Tape

  • Sticky notes


As students walk into class, have slide 1 from the attached Lesson Slides displayed. In their journals or on an index paper, students will answer the Bell Ringer question: "Argument is everywhere. Do you agree or disagree? Why?"

After students have had a chance to answer the Bell Ringer, ask students to stand up and create a Line of Agreement. Students who answered "Yes, argument is everywhere" will stand in a line and those who answered "No, argument is NOT everywhere" will stand in a line. Those lines will then face each other and students will share their "why" with the person standing across from them. (*Teacher's Note: If the lines are uneven, or if everyone answers one way, break the line in half and still have students pair up with someone across from them.)

After students have shared their reasons, have them sit down.

Ask the class if anyone knows the name of the font used in the Bell Ringer graphic? (Comic Sans). Discuss any thoughts (prior knowledge) they have about the font: Do they personally use it? Is it professional? etc.

Read statement from "Why You Hate Comic Sans:" Everyone loves to hate Comic Sans. The child-like handwriting font is so infamous, there is a movement to try to ban it. Mention its name to the common layman (aside from a preschool teacher), and you will likely get a chuckle, mention it to a trained designer, and you’ll get a look of disgust. But what exactly makes Comic Sans so horrible?

Show YouTube video: "The Comic Sans Song | gunnarolla ft. Andrew Huang" (4:04)

Discuss the Bell Ringer question again: “Is argument everywhere?” Have students revise their answers as needed.


Show slide 2. Discuss with students that arguments are persuasive if there are C.E.R. (Claims, Evidence, and Reasoning) incorporated. Discuss with students that many arguments address the rhetorical situation (audience, purpose, and context). These will be the frameworks they will use to analyze and discuss argument.

Show slide 3 to go more in depth about the rhetorical situation. Analyze and discuss the graphic. You may want students to copy the graphic into their own notebook, or you can print out the slide ahead of time.

Watch the YouTube video: "A Smart Move: Responding to the Rhetorical Situation." (1:51)

Show slide 4 as a guided practice example. Discuss with students how the Oxford comma is an on-going argument in the field of composition. Share your own experiences learning/using it: Do you have a preference? Have students share their own experiences using it: Do they have a preference?

Discuss how the memes on the slide approach the argument about the Oxford comma.

  • What is their CLAIM? (The Oxford comma is necessary to understanding sentence meanings. )

  • What are their EXAMPLES? (The sample memes provide examples of sentences that include or do not include the comma.)

  • What is their REASONING? (Sentences that do not include the Oxford comma are often prone to misunderstandings.)

  • Who is their AUDIENCE? (People who do not use the Oxford comma.)

  • What is the PURPOSE? (To stress the importance of using the Oxford comma to clarify meaning.)

  • What is the CONTEXT surrounding the argument? (The Oxford (or serial) comma is the final comma in a list of things. Use of the Oxford comma is stylistic, meaning that some style guides demand its use while others don’t. Unless you’re writing for a particular publication or drafting an essay for school, whether or not you use the Oxford comma is generally up to you.)

Review slide 5 to show how the argument about the Oxford comma fits into the C.E.R. and rhetorical situation framework. This is the framework example of what students will do with their own argument examples.


Have students work in small groups (or whole group discussion) to explain their own understanding of arguments.

Divide the class into small groups according to the number of Claim Cards/slide printouts (five cards provided, so five total groups).

Once the class is divided into groups, select a "scribe" for each group (the person who woke up the earliest) and a "spokesperson" (the person who woke up the latest).

Distribute a Claim Card/slide printout to each group. Groups should look at the argument and discuss any prior knowledge or experience they have had with the argument. Groups should discuss and identify the Claim-Evidence-Reason in each card. Groups should discuss and identify the rhetorical situation of the argument: author’s purpose, audience, and context. The "scribe" will record the group's explanations on the card in the provided text box.

Once all groups are finished filling in their argument boxes, facilitate a whole-class discussion with the groups. Each group's "spokesperson" will share their argument and explain the C.E.R. and Rhetorical Situation. As each group presents, project that group's Claim Card/slide so that class can visually see the argument.

  1. Slide 6:

  2. Slide 7: and

  3. Slide 8:

  4. Slide 9:

  5. Slide 10:,h_274,w_430/t_mp_quality/c19yayhhyansoow0pc1p/my-7-reasons-why-harry-potter- is-better-than-twilight-620611.jpg


Students will transfer knowledge of C.E.R. and the Rhetorical Situation that they conducted with visual argumentative examples to print arguments.

Show slide 11. Have students go to the following website (in a computer lab, on their phones, or whole class as you display the website) and select an Argumentative Prompt based on a topic that interests them.

When students have selected a prompt/question link, they will use slide 12 to aid them in filling out the corresponding article and citation information. Students will read the article and also fill out the C.E.R. and Rhetorical Situation framework over the article's argument.

After students have read, cited, and filled out the C.E.R. and Rhetorical Situation over their article, they will pass their paper around the room as part of a Chain Note. As papers are passed, other students should write (on the back of the paper) a sentence, statement, or question about the topic. These can be passed as many times as time allows. Papers are then returned to the owner and the owner can continue to extend their learning about the topic based on classmates' feedback.


For homework (or as a class computer lab day), students will independently research examples of "argument is everywhere" to present to the class (they can either use one from experience or search Google Images for "Argument Is Everywhere examples").

  • Students should create their own Claim Cards by printing out an example of a visual argument.

  • Students should label the C.E.R. and rhetorical situation on the BACK of their argument (this way classmates will have a chance to identify the Claim and Rhetorical Situation without seeing the "answer").

  • Have each student post Claim Cards around the room. Students will conduct a Gallery Walk to view all of the arguments. Using sticky notes (3 per student), students should identify the C.E.R. and Rhetorical Situation of at least 2 arguments.

  • Owners of the arguments will then evaluate the sticky notes and report to the class about their arguments and peer feedback.