Purpose: What kind of thinking
does this routine encourage?
It encourages students to reason carefully about the "pull"
of various factors that are relevant to a question of truth. It
also helps them appreciate the deeper complexity of matters of truth
that can appear black and white on the surface.
Application: When and Where can
it be used?
It can be used in any situation in which questions of truth come
up, and there is evidence to be considered, evidence from common
knowledge or from information resources like newspapers or encyclopedias
or the Internet. Questions of truth can come from school subjects
or everyday life. Newspaper headlines are full of claims from politicians
and others that can be evaluated. Science brings many issues like
whether genetically engineered foods are dangerous or how old the
universe is. History comes with endless controversies, for instance
about who really started a particular war or what everyday life
was like at various times in the past. Many works of literature
create suspense by offering only bits and pieces of information
until the end: Before the end, can you the reader figure out who
the culprit really is or what secret from the past the heroine is
Launch: What are some tips for starting
and using this routine?
This is a routine that builds on children's familiarity with
the game of Tug of War to help them understand the complex forces
that "tug" at either side of a question of truth (there
is also a Tug of War for fairness dilemmas with the same basic structure).
The routine uses a rope or a diagram to represent pulls toward true
or false in evaluating a claim. The tug of war is between True and
False. Help students think about the various factors that tug at
one side of the rope orthe other, as well as other considerations
related to the issue. A natural follow- up to the activity is to
have students investigate facts related to the questions written
above the Tug of War.