ELA 5: Claims and Counterclaims

If a counter shoots down your claim, does that mean they made a counter counter claim...or is that just a regular claim again? This sort of stuff keeps us up at night. But enough about that. Today's lesson is on claims and counterclaims.

5th GradeLanguage Arts
Elementary and Middle School5th Grade
LanguageEnglish Language

Transcript

00:24

When we make a claim, we're saying something's true.

00:26

We’re planting a flag, saying, "Hey, this thing I'm saying? It’s totally the truth. [Astronaut planting a flag on the moon]

00:31

Also, don’t ask why I carry this flag around with me everywhere. We all have our quirks.”

00:36

A counterclaim is a way to weaken that claim, or to block it. We can imagine that a claim

00:40

and a counterclaim are kind of like a conversation between two people who disagree. [Man and woman at a debate on stage]

00:44

If you’re not sure what that looks like, think back to last Thanksgiving. We’ll just

00:48

see if grandma ever gets invited back.

00:51

Claims and counterclaims can be found in oral arguments… or in writing.

00:55

Since counterclaims are all about weakening claims, it's not too surprising that they [Woman has pie thrown at her face]

00:59

come up in arguments.

01:01

In fact, if you ever find yourself in the thick of an argument, one effective trick

01:04

is to figure out what your opponent's counterclaims might be

01:07

and counter those counterclaims before they even come up. [Man counters a karate move]

01:09

It’s like a chess match being played by your brain.

01:12

Look, ma. No hands. When arguing, there are even some handy formulas [Coop discussing formulas]

01:16

you can use, like:

01:17

"While it is true that X, actually Y…" or "P doesn't, in fact, disprove Q…"

01:22

Pretty much anything that sounds like “Yeah, yeah, whatever you say, but what I say is

01:26

more important.”

01:28

Or how your big sister talks to you… all the time. [Big sister walks out of room]

01:31

We can see how this might work in the hotly contested mayoral race

01:34

between Mary's little lamb and Mayor Watkins.

01:37

Mary knows that Watkins will probably bring up the fact that no lamb has ever been mayor.

01:41

Which is true, as far as we know.

01:43

So it'd be smart if she treats that as a claim, and comes up with a counterclaim to block

01:47

the mayor's claim. Something like…

01:49

"While it’s true that a lamb has never been the mayor of our town, we need to recognize [Example of a claim in writing]

01:54

that just because something's new doesn't mean that it's baaaad. Ahem. There weren't

01:59

any airplanes in 1900, but today, they're flying all over the place, and we can get

02:03

from New York to California while taking a nap.

02:05

And that’s pretty cool…just like it would be pretty dang cool to have a lamb for a mayor.

02:10

Peace out.” If you can master counterclaims…you just

02:13

might make history. [Picture of lamb hung on wall]

02:14

Sorry, Ex-Mayor Watkins. Not everybody’s fleece can be as white as snow.