Last updated on: 2/27/2015 | Author:

Rhetorical Analysis – Lesson Plan Idea


Rhetorical Analysis – Overview


Students analyze a micro site, looking specifically for the use of rhetorical devices.

Grades: 9-12

The Activity


Working individually, students should read through the pro and con arguments on a micro site and categorize each argument in terms of its rhetoric device/appeal (ethos, pathos, logos). Once the students have finished, instruct them to get into pairs and compare answers. They should attempt to come to consensus on the rhetorical analysis used in each statement, creating a single list to turn in for credit. At this point, bring the class back together and go over each argument individually. Call on pairs to share their answers and reasoning and correct misconceptions as necessary. This can be followed with a short class discussion on which side of the argument is now more compelling. If desired, end the class with a quiz on the three rhetorical devices, testing definitions and further unrelated examples.

——————————– Topics: Drinking Age, Right to Health Care, Felon Voting

Subjects: Communication, English / Language Arts, Composition, Philosophy

Common Core Anchor Standards: CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.6, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.SL.4

Common Core Content Standards: RI.1, RI.2, W.2, W.9, L.6, RH.2, RST.2, RST.4

Common Core Content Standards: RI.1, RI.4, RI.6, SL.1, SL.4


Make the lesson easier 

  • Begin the class with an explanation, refresher, or reading on the three rhetorical devices.
  • Instruct students to go through the list with only one device in mind. They can accept or reject each argument using this method and go through the list separately for each device.
  • Keep examples or definitions posted throughout the activity for reference.

Make the lesson harder 

  • Do not allow the students to get into pairs and instead grade their individual work as a quiz, providing each student with an appropriate set of pros and cons.
  • After completing the exercise above, have students group the arguments that used the same rhetorical devices. Ask them to put each of these groups in order of how effectively the device was used.
  • Ask students to write three additional arguments for each side of the debate, one using each rhetorical device.
Related Links


  1. Lesson Plan Ideas with Common Core Correlations
  2. Teachers’ Corner