This is a very fun and interactive way to teach argument, counter-argument, speaking and listening.
SCENARIO: The company, Amusement and Fun Incorporated has come to your city looking to add an amusement park near a residential neighborhood. A letter has gone out inviting community members to come to a town hall meeting to discuss the amusement park coming to town.
DIRECTIONS: Your goal is to work with a partner, and create arguments that are either for, or against the amusement park being built. You must read your character card and find your strongest reasons to either support or not support the amusement park being built in the your city. Strong inferences must be made from your character card, which is why it is very important for you to imagine that you are the person/people in the character card.
You will then share out your arguments in a town hall meeting where the town council will listen to each argument.
You will then listen to the other arguments during the town hall meeting, and use your response sheet to write down any responses you would like to make to other characters’ arguments. You will be given time to respond to other characters’ arguments during the second round of arguments.
After the second round, the city council will then vote and come to a decision on the building of the park. This is why it is important for you to come up with the best arguments for your card because you are helping your side’s argument.
Teacher Directions: This activity allows students to work on many important skills. Students must read their character cards and create arguments based upon the needs of their character. Students must analyze the text and find needs that are explicitly written as well as needs that are implicit/inferred. Students will write these ideas down on their character cards, and prepare their arguments. After enough time has been given for each of the character cards to be properly completed, a mock town hall meeting can be set up, where each character card will be shared and argued. Some students can be asked to serve on the town council to listen to the arguments and then come to a verdict for the amusement park. The teacher can be the head of the council to make of fairness, or this serves as a great lesson for fairness and favoritism that can play a key part in civics.
The character cards also list whether they are supportive or unsupportive of the amusement park. Students must find arguments that support the side of the argument their character cards say.
Students also have to learn about tone and when providing their argument must use this tone to deliver their argument.
There are two rounds of arguments. The first round you hear students initial arguments from their character cards. The second round they get a chance to respond to arguments from the other side. After the second round the town hall council gets to make a decision.