Hannah Martin delivered a great Thursday Morning Thriller session on 1st October. Over to her to explain the hand of argument…
The hand of argument is a simple and visual way of helping your pupils to structure a formal argument. As a trial, I used this method with my Year 7 classes and feel that it is a structure that could benefit a multitude of year groups and be used in a variety of subjects.
The Thumb: What is your argument? Are you thumbs up or down? What is your stand point in the argument? Your thumb is shorter than your other fingers it only needs to be a short, brief introduction to your argument.
Forefinger: Support your argument. What is your first argument to support your thumb?
Middle finger: Your strongest argument to support your thumb. As it is your biggest finger, use your most persuasive argument.
Ring finger: Give the opposing side of your argument. We know that couples can argue, this is the chance to illustrate that you have considered the other side of your argument.
Little finger: Wrap up your argument. Conclude in a shorter and more concise paragraph.
All the fingers represent a paragraph and a section of your argument. As all your fingers are connected to your hand it is important to note that the paragraphs should be linked. This provides an opportunity to teach and extend knowledge of connectives.
This method was presented to my classes, using a current and random topic so that students were able to loosely relate. We began with a discussion of the topic which was the Facebook dislike button. The pupils found the activity manageable as they were able to use this visual as a support to organise their many ideas. Another positive of using this visual representation is that it minimises the reluctance to plan. Many pupils do not see the benefits of planning. They often see it as extra work or a copying exercise, rather than an organisation tool. This gives them a clear layout to plan within (which they thoroughly enjoy creating, by drawing around their hand) as well as, giving all students a minimum expectation for the ideas they should consider before they start writing.
I have since used this resource to help teach year 8 pupils how to structure a polemic. I asked the pupils to feedback their thoughts on the resource. Many pupils said they found it easier as they often did not know when to start a new paragraph. The hand of argument is an excellent visual tool in assisting students with organising and structuring their ideas.
You can download Hannah’s presentation here: