Penn Arts & Sciences Logo


I designed this exercise to help students construct interesting evidence paragraphs which both support and depart from the thesis statement as it appears in the introduction. Part of the task of this exercise is recognizing and evaluating evidence that is not, so to speak, "self-evident"; students can deduce from the textual excerpts I've provided that multiple and even contradictory interpretations are possible from a given set of textual details. In introducing this in-class assignment, I stress that two elements are central in completing it: one, that a transitional/topic sentence introduce the paragraph and that it not simply repeat the thesis but specify what aspect of the thesis it will address; and, two, that it make sense of the evidence to be offered up in its support.