3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.

How are fourth and fifth grade teachers helping their students construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others?

How can students be helped to:

  • understand and use stated assumptions, definitions, and previously established results in constructing arguments
  • make conjectures and build a logical progression of statements to explore the truth of their conjectures
  • analyze situations by breaking them into cases
  • recognize and use counterexamples
  • justify their conclusions, communicate them to others, and respond to the arguments of others
  • reason inductively about data
  • make plausible arguments that take into account the context from which the data arose
  • compare the effectiveness of two plausible arguments
  • distinguish correct logic or reasoning from that which is flawed, and—if there is a flaw in an argument—explain what it is

The CCSS states:
Elementary students can construct arguments using concrete referents such as objects, drawings, diagrams, and actions. Students at all grades can listen or read the arguments of others, decide whether they make sense, and ask useful questions to clarify or improve the arguments.

What are you doing to help students develop this practice? What makes it hard? What challenges are you encountering?