Arguments & Evidence
Average Duration
60+ Minutes
Difficulty Level
3
Lesson Host
Kimberley Strassel
of The Wall Street Journal
About

You experience the information aftermath of a fictional event as it unfolds on social media, learn about five common logical fallacies, then evaluate the evidence in several arguments.

News literacy topics

Bias; Evaluating evidence; Opinion; Social media

Learning objectives

  • I can differentiate between claims supported by actual evidence and sound reasoning and those which rely on faulty or inauthentic “evidence” and logical fallacies.
  • I can determine the overall strength of an argument.

Essential questions

  • What is the role of evidence in opinion and editorial writing?
  • In what ways can logical fallacies mislead an audience or distort a position?

Excerpt

“Are you following this? This story is blowing up on social. Students across the country have had their tests invalidated because someone shared a photo of one of the questions. Now students are afraid their schools will adopt stricter phone policies, and maybe even ban phones altogether.

As an editorial writer, when a hot topic like this one takes off, I pay attention. I find that stories catch fire because they touch a nerve, they have significance or they connect to an ongoing debate, and that’s exactly the kind of thing I look for when I’m searching for a subject for a new editorial piece. The goal of an opinion piece is to persuade people of a position. When I write an opinion piece, I start by evaluating all the evidence before I form my own view. Then I build an argument for my position. But if the evidence is faulty — if it is inaccurate or faked or manipulated — then my whole argument is shot. So I need to be really careful, especially these days, when there’s more fake stuff out there than ever.”