Video Session: Use an appropriate taped CT-N session of the
Connecticut House of Representatives or Senate discussing a bill with
clearly defined party arguments. Check our
Hot Topics page for ideas.
Common Core State Standards:
W1: Write arguments focused on
Introduce claim(s) about a topic or issue, acknowledge and distinguish
the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons
and evidence logically.
claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant, accurate data and evidence
that demonstrate an understanding of the topic or text, using credible
c. Use words, phrases
and clauses o create cohesion and clarify the relationships among
claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
Establish and maintain a formal style.
Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports
the argument presented.
W7: Conduct short research projects to answer
a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several
sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow
for multiple avenues of exploration.
will choose a topic presented in the CT-N sessions, conduct a short
research project on that topic and write a thesis-driven paper
presenting their argument on that topic.
Useful Classroom Resources:
Research Process Video
How To Annotate
How To Write a
Thesis Statement 1
How To Write a Thesis Statement 2
How To Write a Thesis Statement 3
Class Time: 7-10 days.
Objectives: Students will: conduct a short research project on a
topic discussed in one of the CT-N bill discussions, generate a thesis
based on an argument for or against that topic, and write about their
argument clearly, coherently and formally in the form of a thesis-driven
- (Day One) Students should be introduced to
the short research project. Explain that they will be presented with
topics to choose from found on the CT-N Hot
Topics Page which they may conduct their research on. They may want
to think about this and decide on their topic the night before for
- Once students have decided on a topic that interests them,
provide the students with access to view the particular legislative
session debate that focuses on their topic. While they watch, students
should be taking notes on arguments both for and against this topic.
Full versions of these debates are available from the CT-N website.
Explain to the students that ultimately they will be taking a side and
generating a thesis on that topic which will be supported by evidence
found in their research. However, they do need to acknowledge and
address alternate arguments on that topic which may be presented during
the debate they watch. For homework, students should generate their own
research questions and come prepared with them to class the next day.
- (Day Two-Four) Students will be given access to computers and the
internet to begin their research. Students will be provided with some
starting points for their research such as
Bill of Rights Institute,
First Amendment Center,
Annenberg Classroom. As students find useful articles and sources,
they should annotate and highlight them, take notes on them and write
down all of their citation information.
- (Day Five) Once students
have an adequate amount of sources with notes, they should spend this
day generating their thesis and organizing their ideas. Their thesis
needs to be supported by evidence, and therefore the research needs to
happen prior to generating the thesis. This thesis should be checked and
approved by the teacher and revised if necessary.
- (Day Six) Once
their thesis is approved, students should start to organize their
information and create a rough outline for their paper. Within their
paper, students will introduce their topic or issue, make their
claim/thesis, acknowledge and distinguish the claim from alternate or
opposing claims, support their claim with logical reasoning and
relevant, accurate data and evidence that demonstrate an understanding
of the topic or text, using credible sources, and finally provide a
concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the
- (Day Seven-Ten) Students should be given time to
write their thesis-driven papers using their outlines during class. If
you prefer to have students write their papers outside of class, class
time can be used to conference with students, peer-edit and/or revise
Debrief/Closure: Students should be required to present
their arguments and the research they found to support their argument in
some form, such as an oral presentation or power-point.
If you have
any comments or suggestions about this activity or would like to submit
your own activity, please
contact me and share your ideas.