Grade 8: Building Evidence-Based Arguments – “E pluribus Unum”


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Reading Informational Text

RI.8.1 Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

RI.8.2 Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to supporting ideas; provide an objective summary of the text.

RI.8.3 Analyze how a text makes connections among and distinctions between individuals, ideas, or events (e.g., through comparisons, analogies, or categories).

RI.8.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.

RI.8.5 Analyze in detail the structure of a specific paragraph in a text, including the role of particular sentences in developing and refining a key concept.

RI.8.6 Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author acknowledges and responds to conflicting evidence or viewpoints.

RI.8.7 Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using different mediums (e.g., print or digital text, video, multimedia) to present a particular topic or idea.

RI.8.8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; recognize when irrelevant evidence is introduced.

RI.8.9 Analyze a case in which two or more texts provide conflicting information on the same topic and identify where the texts disagree on matters of fact or interpretation.


W.8.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.

W.8.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

W.8.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

W.8.5 With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed.

W.8.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Speaking and Listening

SL.8.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.


This Grade 8 unit titled “Building Evidence-Based Arguments – E pluribus Unum” from is part of a developing core proficiencies program. This unit helps students to develop, practice, and apply the skills of argumentation as they examine the issues surrounding immigration. Through reading and research, students learn to understand and compare the various perspectives and positions of this challenging issue and begin to form an evidence-based position. They then develop, sequence and link claims as premises in an evidence-based argument and gather support for these premises with logical reasoning and relevant evidence. The unit culminates with students working with their peers to develop and strengthen an argumentative essay that each student has written on immigration.


Connecticut teachers should be aware that teacher notes and preparation materials will require familiarity to be used effectively, especially in regard to pacing of instruction. Due to the rigor required for student success, additional supports for students who are ELL, have disabilities, or read well below the grade level text band may be required. The articles included in the text sets are somewhat dated for this timely topic and could be updated. If this unit is used in a social studies classroom, standards for Grades 6-12 Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, & Technical Subjects Standards should be substituted for the standards listed above. It is also suggested that social studies teachers add standards from the Connecticut Elementary and Secondary Social Studies Frameworks. For direct links to these sources see below.

Grades 6-12 Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, & Technical Subjects Standards

CT Elementary and Secondary Social Studies Frameworks


The design of this unit is exemplary. In addition to reading and writing, it incorporates many structured collaborative activities to develop key speaking and listening proficiencies. Files, including detailed daily lesson plans, are organized so that teachers can easily browse through the materials. Instruction in this unit links to a sequence of text sets. Each text set provides multiple entry points into the issue, giving teachers and students flexibility with respect to the time and depth with which they wish to explore the topic. The unit includes a progression of learning where concepts and skills advance and deepen over time; it gradually removes supports and requires students to demonstrate their independent capacities. Varied modes of assessment provide guidance for interpreting student performance.