Distinguishing Fact from Opinion - Lesson Plan Idea

Distinguishing Fact from Opinion - Overview

Use the point-by-point arguments on ProCon.org to help students develop higher order thinking skills by learning to distinguish fact from opinion.

Grades: 6-9

The Activity

To start, each student will need a print-out of the "Pro & Con Arguments" portion of the ProCon.org topic that you (or they) choose and two different colored writing implements. Students should read through each argument and mark all facts with one color and all opinions in the other. Once they are done, they should look at the visual distributions of color on both sides of the debate and write a short statement about why one side might lean more toward fact or opinion and which side they believe has the stronger argument. Have students upload their papers to a class wiki so everyone can see them. Assign them to find a paper that was color coded differently than theirs and have a conversation with the author in which each explains their reasoning. Have them write or videotape a summary of the conversation in which they explain both their own and their partner's reasoning, who they think was correct, and why.


ProCon.org Topics: Violent Video Games, School Uniforms, Minimum Legal Drinking Age or any site with arguments that include an ethical or religious aspect, e.g., Euthanasia, Right to Health Care, Vegetarianism, Death Penalty, Gay Marriage, Prostitution, Drones. See all the available debate topics.

Subjects: English / ELA / Language Arts, Social Studies, Composition, History, Social Studies

Common Core Anchor Standards: CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.6, CCRA.R.8, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.4, CCRA.W.10

Common Core Content Standards: RI.1, RI.6, RI.8, W.2, W.10, RH.8


Make the lesson easier (click to expand)

Make the lesson harder (click to expand)

  • Try the Climate Change, Concealed Guns, or Obesity sites.

  • Give students three colors, one for opinion, one for fact, and one for unclear. Ask them to annotate the page to explain their reasoning.

Related Links

  1. Lesson Plan Ideas with Common Core Correlations

  2. ProCon.org Teachers' Corner