A snippet on Writelike showing cause and effect phrasing in a paragraph about Tim Henson's mad guitar skills.

It's been a long time, but we're back with new Writelike lessons!

Our first priority is to create a set of persuasive writing lessons. Fortunately, we've already developed a conceptual model through Teaching Argument Writing with Frankenstories and Teaching Persuasive Writing with Frankenstories, so now it's just a matter of building student-facing lessons.

Our first lesson starts right at the bottom of the stack with two types of everyday reasoning: cause & effect and criteria & match.

Left: In a classroom, a boy stands knee deep in marshmallow wondering what happened. Right: A girl brandishes a knife at a shoe and wonders if it's cake.

Left: Cause and effect reasoning. Based on past events, A tends to cause B. Right: Criteria and match reasoning. Based on these criteria, B is a member of category A.

This lesson is more about thinking than writing

  • We examine snippets from books, articles, news items, and YouTube videos to tease out the features of each type of reasoning.
  • We look at the difference between explanations vs predictions, and linear vs factorial causal relationships.
  • We look at how we define & weight criteria and compare features when classifying things.
  • The checkpoint piece invites students to think about the nature of truth and consider the criteria by which they accept something to be "true".

Crazy hypothetical question. What if the earth stopped spinning but the atmosphere kept travelling? Randall Munroe uses cause & effect reasoning to answer.

Next stop: Argument types

This lesson is the foundation for argumentation, since all arguments use these two types of reasoning.

(It would be nice to say that argumentation is the foundation of persuasion but, in reality, that's not true: you don't need argument to be persuasive if you have power, credibility, and/or urgency. But we'll get to that over summer!)

The Thinking Man sits and ponders what electric scooter he should buy.