Before I started my logic unit in geometry, I told my students that in their lives lots of people are going to try to sell them things: products, ideas, candidates, positions/views.... and they can choose to be passive receivers of information or they can be critical thinkers with the information and make their own decisions.
Recently, there was a newspaper article that lit a fire under my students, and I thought this would be a good opportunity to put this into action. I copied the article and put line numbers on it, and gave them this sheet:
After our discussion on all things logic, I gave them some quiet time in class to start the article and highlight and think for a bit, and then discuss with each other, and then toss around some thoughts on what the author was trying to sell them. Then they had the rest for homework.
Today, when they got back to class, I took them out into the hall and paired them off facing each other with directions on what to discuss. Then we rotated around (like a rubber band I told them) and got a new partner and discussed the next question and so on. LOVED IT. They were on fire and got a chance to interact with different people than they usually work with and they got to defend their choices and such.
The actual article is not that important to y'all, but I think it helps if it's a wee bit controversial. Before they handed it in, I had them jot down some of their comments about the actual homework:
"long" ..... (I may shorten it to only 4 "conditionals" or so if I did it again)
"I don't see how it relates to geometry" ... so I guess I have to reiterate why we did this and how it's an application of logic
"it made logic have more sense to me"
"it makes the conditionals make sense because we had something to apply it to"
"it helped me actually have to think deeply about the article"
"I think it took too long, but helped with conditionals" (again, I do think 6 is too many)