Articulating the Models
Poverty Essay: Look at 2 models of poverty elimination (Microcredit vs. Millennium Project) and evaluate both models from various stakeholders’ point of view. Take the strengths of each model and create an alternative, superior model.
Politics or Civics
Model Parliament: Look at 2 bills and develop a superior bill that contains the best of each with fewer drawbacks. What does that look like? Narrow down the topics to one issue and develop the policy.
Give students two solutions to a problem (e.g. two foundations or bridges, two theories of change, two ways to represent time, etc.). Have them pick the best points of each and trace how each theory has influenced the history of scientific discovery
Ask students to explore some tensions they feel they are dealing with in their own lives. Some examples might include:
- What should I do after high school?
- Do I follow the advice of my parents or my friends?
- Should I prioritize fitting in or maintaining a unique identity?
Map out the logic behind two characters’ points of view from a novel (e.g. How Elinor and Marianne each see marriage/relationships in Austen’s Sense and Sensibility). What is the value behind each model? If you were creating a character from scratch, what traits of each would you give him or her and why?
.Download the Articulating the Models Cheat Sheet here.
Examining the Models
Analyze the two statements “value comes from scarcity” and “value comes from usefulness”. What are the underlying assumptions between each model? What would you use from each model if you were building your own definition of value?
Under what conditions will a rock and a feather actually fall at the same rate? What are the limitations of that model?
Ask students to subject their thesis to these model testing questions in the course of preparing to write an essay. This will help them add rigour to their argument in a concrete way and may also offer specific discussion points the student can use to challenge and develop their thesis.
Politics or Civics
Good topics to use for examining models include any issue or social challenge that is often portrayed as two polarizing sides, where students will gain insights by digging deeper. Examples include:
- Liberal vs. Conservative fiscal management
- Technology in our lives
- Causes of global warming
What caused the Second World War? What is the value and the limitation of an argument that claims it was a combination the fallout from the Treaty of Versailles, France and Britain’s policy of appeasement towards Germany, the failure of the League of Nations and the impact of the Great Depression? What might that view be missing?