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Year 6 literacy - Arguments

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Ilovemarmite, Oct 13, 2010.

  1. I am hoping for my arguments topic after half term to focus on two questions: Do aliens exist? and Were the moon landings a hoax?
    Are there any better space related questions?
    Do you think these are ok? Any ideas for making it exciting or for resources - books/video clips I could use?
    I know I have got at least 3 observations and a high chance of ofsted during the unit
  2. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    What about debating skills and real issues? Not as instantly exciting as whether aliens exist or not but more worthwhile in the long run. How can you develop real arguing skills when you're dealing with conjecture and conspiracy theories?
    Take a topic of real [perhaps local] interest. Have a class discussion. Ask for a show of hands re opinions. Then hand out scrunched-up bits of paper with either aye or no written on them. You can't imagine the surprise on the face of children when they discoever that they have to argue on what is for them the 'wrong' side.
    Even without formal debates, the whole process of figuring what the opposition will say and how best to rebut it is fascinating for children.
  3. you could go into the markings (canals) on mars and that people thought this was evidence of aliens.
    What about an arguement about space travel and whether we should spend money on it?
  4. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    An argument about that seems more worthwhile than a a load of conjecture about the possible meaning of markings on Mars.
    For many children, the word argument is synomymous with row. Just learning that it doesn't is a great ete-opener.

    See if you can get your HT to involve your class in local school debating competitions.
  5. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Whoops. Just learning that it isn't is a great eye-opener. Sorry.
  6. Carolyne740

    Carolyne740 New commenter

    Doesn't relate to space but one argument question I am dying to try out is ... What is better X-Boxes or Wii's?
    Think the children would really get into the debate as they are so familiar with them (and those that aren't - perhaps use some time in Golden Time to let them have a play with each before the topic in literacy).
  7. I agree that local issues are perhaps more worthwhile. (But really can;t face the age old - should we have school uniform?) However our topic is space and these are questions that the children have become interested in. I feel it would be a shame not to encourage that enthusiasm.

    I will certainly be debating and the children will learn that it not an argument - a term I used as that is the name of the unit in the primary framework. I do enjoy telling the children which side they will be on - it makes them think about other opinions and prepare counter arguments.

    I also thought about the benefits of space travel maybe interesting. Also, whether animals should be sent into space. the children were captivated when researching the space race and finding out about animals such as Laika - that might be a starting point.
  8. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    I agree.

    I also think there are more mundane issues that are of equal interest [and more lasting worth] to children. School uniforms? Boring, yes.
  9. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Sorry, I don't understand. Why won't it be an argument?
  10. Carolyne740

    Carolyne740 New commenter

    How about creation vs the big bang theroy?
    Virgin Galactic - would you want to be one of the first space tourists?
    Space Exploration - necessary or a waste of money?

  11. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Sorry but I thought the object of the topic was argument. Why is the idea of argument so debased?
  12. Milgod

    Milgod Established commenter

    If your topic is space then I would go for something along the lines of what has been suggested - should we spend money on space exploration?

    I would certainly not even bring up a crackpot idea about the moon landings being faked. There are too many crazy people in the World, we don't want to encourage new ones.
  13. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    That was in reply to something else. I apologise. however, whether or not your wanted to be one of the first space tourists doesn't strike me as a useful subject for debate. There's too much scope for preference.

  14. flickaz

    flickaz New commenter

    I like the idea of using "should we send animals into space?" as a topic. Links into a lot more areas and will be a lot more fact based than some ideas.
  15. There is a free online library which can be used by Year 5 and Year 6 children including those with significant reading deficits because the programme helps with auditory support for any unfamiliar words. A wide range of subjects is covered. The site is www.schoolwork.com and the entry code is ure132ty Fuller instructions are at http://literacydeficits.blogspot.com

  16. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Long live the argument!
  17. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Sorry - incomplete previous post.
    Argument is not a dirty word synonymous with row!
    Use it - let the children discover that arguing is a rational, sane and enlightening process.
  18. Maybe things have changed over the past few years, but with the original six genres of non-fiction writing, there were two genres which were similar but differentiated-balanced argument, similar to discussion, giving equal weight to different points of view, the intention to inform about the choices before maybe making a decision, (not pre-determined), and persuasion, where the writer's view was foremost and the intention being to change other's points of view.
    They sometimes got muddled in practice.
    Whichever way, I think quality of writing comes from quality of thinking, and that comes from having as deep a background knowledge as possible. I personally would have loved some of the topics proposed, so too some Sky documentary viewing kids who might refer to the SETI work or "Universe" series and so on. I would wonder whether the majority of the class would have enough to go on unless you provided very good background materials.The issues are very deep and would engage undergraduates in the field.
    I think it sad that if in the endeavour to be cross-curricular, the quality of work was compromised by being cross-curricular.
    A couple of year's back I had a very engaging discussion of whether children should have to wear body armour (it came up in the London stabbings news that it was available), delivered the balanced argument very effectively.
    If I were going with space for balanced argument, I think I'd prefer something like whether it justifies the cost, had that debate in school in the 60s, but still applies-Obama has scaled things back, but relanding on the moon, landing on mars will come up in this generation's lifetime. Also a nasty close call asteroid is flying by around 2028, and maybe again 2035, deep impact and all that.
    Historically, humankind has had "debates" about whether the world was flat or not, and whether it was centre of the universe. Science pioneered understanding and breaking away from sensory intuitive observation through scientific rigour and evidencing theories.
    If I were doing this, I'd like to find an issue arising from current genuine misconceptions in the pupils and then do the scientific work to resolve. Many of my past classes thought the phases of the moon were caused by "clouds" or the moon being "eclipsed" by the earth.
    I think science links really well with report, (informational writing), or explanation. I think balanced argument is a harder ask to do well, with this age.
    Good luck.

  19. On further thought, I think I'd go with a theme along the lines of whether to accept an offer of the chance to be an astronaut-either on an individual basis, or whole class invite. "Should I become an astronaut?" or "Should the class accept an offer to go for a space residential?"

  20. tiffster

    tiffster New commenter

    I like this a lot. Opportunities to research but still personal enough so they don't get bogged down.
    I did a drama and role play lesson with my more able kids based on the "balloon debate" which might be fun at some point in the unit - each child is given a character (I think we used book characters) and we have to choose two people to throw out of the spaceship. Each child has to present the case for why we shouldn't throw them out. Some of the reasons they thought up were hilarious.


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