Do We Really Need the Penny?

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SWBAT identify claims and evidence used to make an argument.

Big Idea

Imagine a world where your two sense...err...cents don't count for anything! Students look at the evidence and decide, do we really need the penny?

Advanced Organizer

5 minutes

To help generate thoughts and ideas for today's lesson, I will have the students respond to the prompt "What can you buy with a penny?"  I will have the students write down their responses in their notebooks.  I will give them about a minute of solo time to think and respond. Then, I will have them do a Stand Up, Hand Up, Pair Up to share out their responses. 

I am expecting the students to not have much written down.  This will help them prepare their thoughts for the article we are going to read and discuss. 



Guided/Independent Practice

25 minutes

When it comes to arguing, students usually are pretty good at it.  Today, I want the students to see how arguments are used to create debates.  I think this will help stress the importance of counterclaims and how important it is to be prepared for the opposition's counterclaims when we are writing our arguments. 

I have already asked the students to write down what they purchase with a penny.  Now, I want the students to share out their responses.  I want to begin the class with the discussion.  This will be a good opportunity and format for the students to practice their discussion skills. 

After a little discussion, I will tell the students that we are going to read an article that presents both sides of the issue.  We will practice identifying the claims and counterclaims, as well as the evidence. 

Then, once we have read the article, the students are going to pick a side and write their piece based off the information in the article as well as their own thoughts. 

First, I will pass out the article Should America get Rid of the Penny found on I will preview the text with them.  I like to reinforce our nonfiction reading strategies every time we are presented with non fiction text.  We will read the title, subheadings, captions, etc.  Often times, I will discuss the text structure and what I believe to be the author's purpose for writing. 

Next, we will read the article aloud, stopping to check for comprehension and understanding.  I will also give the students opportunities to annotate the text. 

Once we read the first section, I will have the students share with the class what the claim was, as well as the evidence.  This will reinforce the skills taught yesterday. 

We will do the same after the the second section. I will have the students engage in a Discussion with their peers about the section. 

Finally, we will discuss both sides.  Was there one side that had a better argument?  What made it better?  What was the evidence presented in both sides?  (data, surveys, testimonials) 

It is important for the students to see how the argument was built. 

Last, I will have the students to a quick response to the question as well.  What do they believe about the purpose of penny, based off the information we read today. 

This will allow them an opportunity to practice writing an argument, but with a lot of support. 


5 minutes

To help the students process their learning and to provide me with an assessment, I will ask the students to complete a Closure Slip .   This will ask the students to think about argumentative writing and how it is constructed.  I want them to realize that the stronger the evidence, the stronger the argument.