Contrasting Evidence: “Games Can Make a Better World” and “Video games Benefit Children, Study Finds” | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G7:M4A:U2:L6

Contrasting Evidence: “Games Can Make a Better World” and “Video games Benefit Children, Study Finds”

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can contrast how multiple authors emphasize evidence or interpret facts differently when presenting information on the same topic. (RI.7.9)

Supporting Targets

  • I can contrast how a video and an article use different evidence to prove similar claims.


Ongoing Assessment

  • Researcher's notebook, section 3 (from homework)
  • Venn diagram and Venn diagram reflection questions


AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. Entry Task: Defining Contrast (2 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Introducing/Reviewing Venn Diagram and Common Claim (1 minute)

B. Contrasting Researcher's Notebook Sections 2 and 3 Using Venn Diagram (8 minutes)

C. Analyzing Evidence on the Venn Diagram and Reflection Questions (27 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A. Homework Read-aloud and Reviewing Learning Target (7 minutes)

4. Homework

A. Read "Why Facebook Could Actually Be Good for Your Mental Health" and fill in Section 4 of your researcher's notebook.

  • The purpose of this lesson is to give students a sense of how differing arguments can support the same claim. In categorizing the types of evidence the researchers use, the students will begin to see how authors choose both the quantity and the quality of their evidence carefully, with attention to the differing effects that certain types of evidence have upon the audience.
  • Bear in mind that there is a subtle distinction between the video, which is a pure argument piece, and the article, which is an informative text reporting on an argument that researchers are making.
  • Engaging students in a discussion about what types of evidence are the most powerful, and under which circumstances, can be a compelling corollary to the academic work of this lesson. Consider discussing, for example, that the video is being filmed and performed for a live audience, versus the article. How might this affect their use of evidence?
  • Also bear in mind that evidence from both materials may also overlap categorization. An anecdote, for example, may or may not necessarily include facts.
  • This lesson requires using several organizers and note sheets simultaneously. Preview the lesson carefully in advance to envision the logistics. As the lesson proceeds, consider modeling how to set up these papers physically in the student workspace for the most efficient use.
  • Encourage students to return to the original materials at any point for any clarification they require. Returning to the source consistently is a "habit of mind" that should be emphasized.
  • Venn diagrams are used in this lesson and in previous modules; here, they are used as a tool for students to examine the evidence in both the video and the article. However, students may not have used one or may not have participated in previous modules. The lesson is written specifically to address those who may not have used this type of graphic organizer before; as always, use your professional judgment to determine whether any part of the lesson needs to be modified for students who may not be familiar with certain classroom materials, protocols, or routines.
  • It is assumed that students will have noted evidence on the Venn diagram in order of appearance in both materials; it may be beneficial to remind them to order their notes in this fashion before they begin.
  • Note that the Venn diagram is for the purposes of comparing and contrasting types of evidence only. If it is useful, it is possible to expand the conversation around the diagram to include claims, reasons, and reasoning, but it is not required at this point.
  • Expert testimony may include both facts and anecdotes. As long as students are categorizing their evidence accurately, their interpretations are acceptable, even if they differ from one another. It might be useful to point this out to students.
  • The lesson hinges on the accurate and full completion of two note-catchers: one for "Gaming Can Make a Better World" (Section 2 of the researcher's notebook), and one for "Video Games Benefit Children, Study Finds" (Section 3 of the researcher's notebook). Think ahead to whether any previous modifications to these materials for students with special needs will require related modifications in this lesson. Also, if students have had challenges in gathering information on note-catchers, consider pairing them with a proficient partner or offering examples from the text on sticky notes.
  • In advance: Familiarize yourself with the types of evidence used and the reasons that ground the use of these examples.
  • Post: Learning target.




  • Entry task, Lesson 6 (one per student)
  • Domain-Specific Vocabulary anchor chart (from Unit 1, Lesson 1)
  • Venn diagram (one per student and one to display)
  • Document camera
  • Researcher's notebook (from Lesson 4)
  • Venn diagram (answers, for teacher reference)
  • Four Types of Evidence/Identify the Evidence note-catcher (one per student and one to display)
  • Four Types of Evidence/Identify the Evidence note-catcher (Side B; answers, for teacher reference)
  • Colored pencils (four per student, each of the four a different color)
  • Venn diagram reflection questions (one per student and one to display)
  • Venn diagram reflection questions (answers, for teacher reference)
  • "Why Facebook Could Actually Be Good for Your Mental Health" (one per student)


OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Entry Task: Defining Contrast 2 minutes)

  • As students enter the room, have them fill in the entry task, Lesson 6:

*    "Complete the following statement in your own words: When you contrast two things, it means that you are ..."

  • Cold call three or four students for their answers. Based on their wording, create a class definition for the word contrast and place this word and the definition on the Domain-Specific Vocabulary anchor chart. The class definition of contrast will necessarily change depending on how students respond on their entry task slip. As a baseline, however, the definition should include the idea that to contrast means "to compare two people or items as to show the differences between them."
  • When possible, have students who need physical activity take on the active roles of managing and writing on the anchor chart or handing out the materials.
  • Consider selecting students ahead of time to respond to cold calls. Students who need practice in oral response or extended processing time can be told the prompt before class begins to prepare for their participation. This also allows for a public experience of academic success for those who may struggle with on-demand questioning, or for struggling students in general.

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Introducing/Reviewing Venn Diagram and Common Claim (1 minute)

  • Hand out the Venn diagram and ask students to raise their hand if they have seen or worked with a Venn diagram before. Make note of those who are not familiar with a Venn diagram so you can check to see whether they need additional support as they work.
  • Using the document camera, quickly review how a Venn diagram works (items common to both texts go in the overlapping middle space; differences go in the appropriately labeled circles on the left and right).
  • Explain that today students will use their homework and past classwork to compare the arguments of the video and the article they read for homework, both of which argue that video games have positive aspects. Note that both authors are making a similar claim, which is written above the Venn diagram. Have a volunteer read the common claim aloud:

*    "Playing video games has benefits for the players and their world."

  • Keep in mind that this lesson requires visual comparison and written transferral of information. If students are visually or physically challenged, this process might be modified for them ahead of time so they are not unnecessarily impeded in categorizing and analyzing the evidence. Possible modifications include partially completed Venn diagrams, creating a Venn diagram on chart paper and/or lined paper instead of 8.5- by 11-inch paper, or giving them items from the readings on sticky notes to physically sort on the Venn diagram.

B. Contrasting Researcher's Notebook Sections 2 and 3 Using Venn Diagram (8 minutes)

  • Ask students to set aside (but not put away) the Venn diagram and take out their homework: researcher's notebook Section 3. With an elbow partner have students discuss the supporting evidence they recorded on Section 3. Ask:

*    "What evidence did you find? Was it relevant to the claim? Why or why not?"

  • Point out how these questions correlate to the elements of the note-catcher (each question is exactly the same as those listed in the second row of boxes on the note-catcher).
  • Tell students to make sure they have easy access to both Section 3 and Section 2 of their researcher's notebook, which are both Tracing an Argument note-catchers. Remind them that the authors are making a similar claim, noted at the top of the Venn diagram. Explain that now students will contrast the evidence the authors use to support the common claim.
  • Ask them to predict how a Venn diagram would look if someone is focusing on contrasting evidence. Listen for: "The circles to the right and left should be filled out."
  • Reassure students that if they find evidence that is the same in both texts, they can record it in the middle overlapping section; however, they should be most mindful today of the contrasting, different evidence the authors use. Students should feel free to talk through any points of confusion with an elbow partner.
  • Circulate as students complete the Venn diagram, giving individual assistance where needed and referring to the Venn diagram (answers, for teacher reference) as needed. Check in with those who are unfamiliar with the Venn diagram first to make sure they understand how to use one. Remind students to record evidence in the same order as it is found in the sources.
  • When finished, have the students put away both note-catchers. From this point on in the lesson, they will work primarily with the Venn diagram.
  • About halfway through Work Time C, if needed, you are strongly encouraged to conduct a brief "mop-up model" using the document camera for the benefit of students who need more support. Ask volunteers to provide you with an example of contrasting evidence from both texts. Discuss how each piece supports the claim and model recording it on the Venn diagram. Also consider doing this for a piece of evidence that is shared between the texts.


C. Analyzing Evidence on the Venn Diagram and Reflection Questions (27 minutes)

  • Distribute and display the Four Types of Evidence/Identify the Evidence note-catcher. Focus students on Side A. Ask for volunteers to read each type aloud. Follow along, using the document camera. As each of the types is defined, include each word (anecdote, testimony, analogy/metaphor, statistic/fact) on the Domain-Specific Vocabulary anchor chart. Point out that the most powerful arguments ground themselves in multiple types of evidence.
  • Have students individually complete the fill-in-the-blank Identify the Evidence mini gameon Side B of the note-catcher.
  • Go over the answers as a class and have students correct their papers as you reveal the correct answers via the document camera using the Four Types of Evidence/Identify the Evidence note-catcher (Side B; answers, for teacher reference).
  • Distribute four different colored pencils to each student.
  • As a class, decide which of the four colors of pencils will correspond to each of the four types of evidence. Using the blank version of the Venn diagram under the document camera, briefly model using the colored pencils to code one or two pieces of evidence.
  • Next, ask students to use the colored pencils to code the types of evidence they have recorded on the Venn diagram. They may consult with an elbow partner if they have a question.
  • Circulate as they complete the color coding, giving individual assistance where needed.
  • When students are finished, distribute the Venn diagram reflection questions. Give them 3 minutes to complete these silently and individually.
  • Ask for volunteers to share their answers to each question. After each shared answer, ask students to raise their hand if they wrote a similar answer. Discuss any patterns that emerge.
  • Follow up each shared answer with the questions on the Venn diagram:

*    "Why do you think the author chose to arrange the evidence this way? Does it strengthen or weaken the author's argument? Why?"

  • Note all correct answers on the blank version under the document camera, referring to the Venn diagram reflection questions (answers, for teacher reference) as needed.
  • The Venn diagrams will not be assessed. However, they may be collected at your discretion for review to determine whether students have achieved the learning targets.
  • Should a student work more efficiently without color coding for some reason, or should colored pencils not be available, an alternative is labeling each piece of evidence with a letter or brief code indicating its type.


Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Homework Read-aloud and Reviewing Learning Target (7 minutes)

  • Distribute "Why Facebook Could Actually Be Good for Your Mental Health." Explain that students will read this text independently for homework, and that you will read it aloud now to help their comprehension. Encourage them to annotate the text as they read during this time: circling unknown words, underlining key ideas, and so on.
  • Read the article aloud while students read along silently in their heads.
  • Note for students that for this article, they will be filling in Section 4 of their researcher's notebook.
  • Direct students' attention to the learning target

*     "I can contrast how a text and a video use different evidence to prove similar claims."

  • Have students give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down, depending on how well they think they achieved the learning target today.


  • The homework is a short and generally accessible article and should be manageable as independent homework reading, along with the scaffolding of reading it aloud. Consider other methods of scaffolding the homework for students with emergent literacy: providing a glossary, assigning smaller or less complex parts of the text, or filling in the researcher's notebook.


  • Read "Why Facebook Could Actually Be Good for Your Mental Health" and fill in Section 4 of your researcher's notebook.


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