Argumentative Text Activities for Middle School


I teach my middle school students a 3 step process for analyzing an argumentative text.

The last time I introduced the students to our “Analyzing Arguments” unit, the students were excited.  They love to argue and debate.  However, when it came to focusing on arguments found in a text, some of that enthusiasm waned.  Why?  I believe that although students know what arguments are, they don’t know how to break down a text.  When I realized this, I deconstructed the skill into steps so that I could teach students the thinking that should go on during analysis.  

First, however, we needed to go over critical vocabulary.  I needed to make sure we were all speaking the same language!  We went over words like evaluate, argument, claim, assess, reasoning, valid, relevant, sufficient, position and support.

The first step in teaching middle school students to analyze argumentative text is learning the key vocabulary.

We studied these words with a worksheet and a game or two.  Now we were ready to look at the steps for analyzing argumentative text.  First we read a text - "Should College Athletes be Paid?" and then we went through the following 3 steps with the text:

1.  Determine the focus of the argument

2.  Determine how the key points support the argument to test the reliability of the evidence

3.  Evaluate the argument.  Is it fact or opinion?

I use these notes to deconstruct the standard for analyzing argumentative text with my middle school students.

These steps were all in our notes so we could record examples and have a something to refer back to when we use other texts. 

Next, it was time to process that information by practicing the steps with a new article called "Pay College Athletes".  Students received a menu with two choices.  Students could choose to use a graphic organizer to analyze the new text with the steps or they could choose to write a letter to the author summarizing the steps.

To process argumentative text analysis, I use a menu with two options to get better buy-in from my middle school students.

In the digital classroom, I converted my vocabulary and notes to digital and instead of the menu, I introduced a digital game.

Digital Vocabulary and Practice Activities for Analyzing Argumentative Text with Middle School Students

Then it’s time for a quiz.  I have a paper version that I converted to digital this year.  Students that score 80% or better are ready for enrichment while the students that scored below 80% need some remediation.  In the physical classroom, I give the students menus.  There is a specific menu for enrichment and a different one for remediation.  They look identical but give the students different options relative to their needs.  These projects could be completed in a digital environment if the teacher is willing to accept picture uploads of assignments or to just have a sharing day where students share their projects on their webcams.  

Remediation and Enrichment are a big part of learning how to analyze argumentative text in middle school.


Once this process was complete, students had a firm foundation for analyzing arguments in ANY text.  Now they were able to examine a text step-by-step and answer questions about the arguments presented. 


Ready to try this with your own students?  The notes, projects, games, quiz and menus are all ready to go in printable and digital format.


This printable bundle contains vocabulary, notes, practice activities, a quiz, and even remediation and enrichment activities!  PLUS it comes with editable lesson plans!

Digital resources to analyze argumentative text with middle school students.  This includes vocabulary, notes, practice and an assessment!

Both come with EDITABLE lesson plans!

I hope this helps you teach your middle school students how to analyze argumentative texts!

Thanks for stopping by!

1 comment

Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope to hear from you and will reply via e-mail. :)