Reading, Reasoning Activity - Stewart Home & School

Reading, Reasoning Activity

Reasoning Activity Fun in Reading

In reading, we read You Be the Jury Courtroom III by Marvin Miller. The book contained cases with worksheets that helped our students work on their reasoning skills, or critical thinking.  Critical thinking enables our students to reason better. It helps them base conclusions on facts rather than emotions. From puzzles to activities that require analytical reasoning, there are a variety of ways to encourage our students to use and develop their problem-solving skills.

In class, we read the following cases:

Burning Barn

Jelly Bean Jubilee

Sports Superstar

Disappearing Shopper

Squished Tomatoes

Missing Talk-Show Host

Nosy Neighbor

Hotel Break-in

Barking Dog

Filbert Flub

Each case that we read started out with “Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury”. We were then given a brief outline of what the case was about and told we were to figure decide if they were guilty or not guilty.  We were given three pieces of evidence with each case to look over to help us decide if we thought the person was guilty or not. Sometimes the evidence would be a picture, or a list of items, or even a police report.  After reading the main part of the case to the class. they would take 20-25 minutes reasoning and looking over evidence. Sometimes the students would ask to go back and re-read parts of the case.  We would discuss what the students thought of the case and the evidence and why before the verdict was announced.

This caused lots of debate and reasoning for my classes.  They were able to say what they thought and then back it up with ideas and reasoning from the evidence that was provided in the activity. It took critical thinking skills to put the evidence together to come up with a conclusion and a verdict.

The burning barn was a case where the students had to decide if the farmer set the fire to his barn or if a stranger passing through the neighborhood did. The students decided the farmer was guilty based on the fact that his boots were laced up when the police got to the barn after they were called.  The farmer told the police that he had been sleeping and rushed and put clothes on to answer the door, so he would not have had time to put boots on and lace them up.  The students decided that he set the fire and hurried back and made the police wait a few minutes to act like he was asleep. The reasoning activity was great for the students. They used the evidence to figure out the answer to a problem.


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