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Fifth Grade Content Connection Sample: Reasoned Argument

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Reasoned argument is the chain of credible evidence that supports an assertion or claim. Fifth graders use evidence and tools to gather and assess reliable and credible information. They then sequence evidence to articulate a well-reasoned and logical position. Reasoned argument is a skill that uses both verbal and written communication and is a fundamental skill for participation in civic and professional life.

Reasoned Argument can connect 9 of 10 content areas as detailed below.

Comprehensive Health and Physical Education

In comprehensive health and physical education, reasoned argument underpins the study of disease transmission and prevention. Health information can often be confusing or misleading and therefore requires reasoning to discern fact from fiction and opinion. Making reasoned arguments is also a key part of taking credible positions in regards to health and healthy decision-making.

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Comprehensive Health


In dance, reasoned argument is needed when analyzing and evaluating dance works using specific criteria and vocabulary. For example, by arguing that a dance reflects a choreographer’s intent or aesthetic principles, students increase their artistic clarity through the use of critical thinking and reasoning skills.

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Drama and Theatre Arts

In drama and theatre arts, reasoned argument includes applying constructive and supportive feedback. Performers, directors and set designers use reasoning when conceiving a production, and audience members apply reasoning through critique. Reasoning and strong decision making abilities enable learners to become an informed performer, audience, and consumer.

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In mathematics, reasoned argument is used to explain and justify patterns formulas, and strategies. Constructing viable arguments and critiquing the reasoning of others is the foundation of doing mathematics. For example, fifth graders use reasoned arguments to justify the formula for the volume of any rectangular prism by studying patterns they find when creating models.

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In music, reasoned argument is the ability to make a claim and defend a personal musical preference based on knowledge of musical and nonmusical criteria. For example, making a claim that classical music is more complex than popular music requires strong reasoning ability.

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Reading, Writing, and Communicating

In reading, writing and communicating, reasoned argument is used to develop strong writing. Fifth graders use evidence and integrate information from a variety of sources to support particular points of view.

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In science, reasoned argument involves the use of data and evidence to make valid points and conclusions. Students should be able to use evidence from data to draw conclusions and support their ideas in a discussion or debate.

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Social Studies

In social studies, reasoned argument is using evidence to articulate a view. Historians, political scientists, economists, and geographers all make reasoned arguments to support a theory by relying on proven facts. Thus a goal of learning history, geography, and civics is to help students not only learn information but also make reasoned arguments based on analysis and synthesis of information.

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Visual Arts

In visual arts, reasoned argument means using relationships, contextual clues, and visual information to identify and interpret how art exists in one’s world. Arguing that the stained glass designs used in medieval churches were the literary history of that time for an illiterate society would be an example of using many supporting elements for an argument. Using visual supporting evidence when examining, explaining or critiquing art involves critical thinking and reasoning skills that can be transferred to other content areas.

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Summary Document: All standards pages for reasoned argument