Tracing and Evaluating Arguments with a Smash, Boom, Best Podcast Study


Do your students struggle with tracing and evaluating arguments?  You’ll LOVE this engaging solution! Students will become pros at identifying and evaluating claims, evidence, and reasoning using the podcast Smash Boom — along with these paired listening sheets! Not only are the episodes incredibly engaging to kids, but they also offer the perfect opportunity to trace and analyze arguments.


This Smash, Boom, Best podcast study is best to use shortly after introducing your students to the basics of an argument. It provides scaffolded practice many of our students need when tracing and evaluating arguments – before they jump into a complex text!

What’s Included:

  • Doodle-Style Listening Booklet (5 different styles)
  • Single Page Recording Sheet
  • Google Slides Version
  • … templates that you can use again, and again, and again!

Here’s the Smash Boom scoop: Smash, Boom, Best is an engaging podcast series in which two cool things are smashed together and debated. Episodes range from 20-30 minutes, and opponents go head-to-head. Each side very clearly presents a claim and backs it with a wealth of reasons and evidence.

So how do you use it in your argument unit? By pairing it with standards-based questions!

This Smash, Boom podcast study companion requires students to stop and jot down each argument’s:

  • Main Claim
  • Reasons
  • Evidence

Once both sides have presented their arguments, students will determine a winner. Afterward, students are encouraged to reflect on each argument presented and evaluate the reasoning and evidence.

This lesson provides an excellent way of bridging the gap between introducing a claim, evidence, and reasoning and following it through an informational text.

Use this podcast study to give your students guided practice with tracing an argument in your regular ELA class, remedial reading class, or in small groups as a station activity! It also makes a great low-prep sub plan for both you and your substitute teacher!



⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Miss Fela said, “I had never heard of this podcast, but I absolutely LOVED this resource! We listened to dogs vs. cats, mainly because it was the shortest one I could find that would be interesting to my students. I look forward to using it more when we make it to our argumentative unit.”

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Larissa said, “This was an amazing resource. I used it to analyze the podcast (we did the pizza vs tacos episode), and then as we went, we spoke about how our opinions changed. Then I added a debate project where students emulated the podcast, picking an item or idea that meant a lot to them and presented why it was better than their partners. This covered my media literacy, oral communication, writing and a bunch of learning skills for their report card. It was PERFECT. Thank you.”

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ On the Hunt said, “A great resource for pairing with Smash Boom Best.  Love it!”


Supports Common Core Standards (CCSS):

RI.5.1, RI.5.8

RI.6.1, RI.6.8

RI.7.1, RI.7.8


You might also like these argument mini-lessons:

Elements of an Argument Introduction

Tracing & Evaluating Arguments – Passages & Question Sets

Author’s Argument Task Cards

Argument Quick Writes

OR, ⭐️ Bundle & save for a discount ⭐️

Purchase the Elements of an Argument Bundle to get this activity plus the mini-lessons listed above! 

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Thanks so much,

Natayle Brown


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