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Monday, January 14, 2013

5 Great Resources that ask: Should Students Give Up their (Video) guns?

5 Great Resources that ask:  Should students give up their (video) guns? 
In response to the violence in his hometown, twelve year old Max Goldstein, urged his classmates to toss out their violent video games.  He started a movement called “played out” and urged his peers to “put down their guns” or turn the games in for store credit, similar to the real gun buyback programs that were going on in his town.  This brings the debate right to our students’ level. 
If, in fact, as Annie Murphy Paul states “arguing is the best way to learn,” this debate is sure to get kids thinking and engaged in a relevant topic that directly affects them.
Do you think that violent video games have influenced teens to become more violent?  What should be done about violent video games?
Common Core Standards come alive
There are some great resources that point out the pros and cons of this debate and will enable your students to “make a claim and support it with evidence, as well as evaluate the arguments of others” hitting right on Core Content Standards.  Give them the opportunity to read these informational texts to develop arguments of their own.
You can start with this youtube news video of Max Goldstein and his campaign to get his friends to throw out their games. 
Researching the Pros and Cons
Video games ProCon gives students great statistics and facts that can support arguments for and against on whether video games promote teen violence. 
The International Debate Education Association also provides arguments on whether video games should be outlawed or controlled. 
At you will find five basic facts that can be used to support arguments on whether violent video games really cause violent behavior.

A more scholarly approach can be found in the article by the American Psychological Association “Violent Video Games: Myths, Facts, and Unanswered Questions”.

All of these resources can be used to help your students think critically about a topic and develop their own arguments.  To help students see other perspectives to develop and deepen their argument, you can assign them one of the built in perspectives- student, parent, game maker or lawmaker- in the free SCAN lesson “Video Games and Youth Violence.”  The SCAN tool will help them develop their arguments by listing issues, clarifying, assessing, and collaborating to come up with a plan of what should be done. 
Gun control is a hot topic that many teachers will avoid.  Focusing on the guns that most students have held in their hands via video games gives them a change to think critically and write argumentatively.