Justification Activity

Reading with a Purpose – Finding Justifications

When asked to respond to a reading, it is important to justify the responses.  Making/Finding justifications is an important skill for readers and writers.

Justify – to defend or show that a statement is correct

It is not enough when writing or responding to a piece of literature to share an opinion.  Writers and speakers need to justify why the opinion is a valid opinion. 

In the writings submitted in class, many students have not been providing justifications or reasons that support the statements made.  A good way to find justifications is to look back through what was read for specific details to support the point to be made.  Finding information from the text to support the points being made strengthens the argument and is what those that write well do.  Strive to improve – use justifications in your writing responses!

The activity -Plane Crash

The Scenario

A small aircraft crashes in the shark infested waters of the Pacific Ocean. There is damage to the aircraft on impact with the water which causes the electronic systems within to be damaged. The resulting radio failure means that no may-day message can be sent.

Of the sixteen passengers on the plane there are nine survivors. The location of the crash is approximately one and a half days from the nearest land. The life raft on one side of the airplane can be used; however, there is only room for four persons in it.

The Task

Your group must reach a decision as to which four persons can enter the life raft. You have approximately 30 minutes to reach this decision before the aircraft sinks.


Your group will need to present which four people your group is saving along with a JUSTIFICATION for each person saved.

The Nine Survivors

1 'Ace' Browning. Ace was the pilot at the time of the crash and it was his expertise which landed the aircraft in one piece, enabling it to float. 'Ace' received his pilot training and nickname when he was in the Airforce. He is the son of an Air Vice-Marshall and a decorated Gulf veteran. He is a keen golfer and collects theatre memorabilia. Recently, there has been some concern amongst his colleagues that he is showing signs of a drinking problem. He is one of a team of volunteer pilots who carry out mercy missions which drop food and medical aid in places of crises.




2 Geoff McGraw. Geoff was returning from a medical conference where he gave a paper on "Re-building Facial Features Following Accidents". He is a recent divorcee with four grown up children. At 57 he owns a plastic surgery clinic in California from which he has made a considerable fortune. Geoff has established a charitable program which helps children with facial injuries. His hobbies include collecting vintage cars, deep sea fishing.

The Butler family - James, Patience and Prudence

3 James Butler is a 40 year old church minister. He has been a missionary in Papua New Guinea for the past 15 years. He is keen to take up the challenge of a new post in Haiti, but has not discussed the move with his wife, Patience, as he is aware that she is anxious to return to the UK and start a career. He is also torn by the wish to spend more time with his two older children. James' hobbies are bridge and fishing.

4 Patience Butler (35) did a lot of voluntary work whilst in Papua New Guinea. She established a youth club which developed skills such as orienteering and home crafts in young people. For many years Patience has wanted to start a career; she has the manuscript of a first book which she intends to take to a publisher. Her book explores issues relating to helping indigenous peoples and their way of life survive the 21st century. She has three children.

5 Prudence Butler. Prudence Butler, an epileptic, was travelling from Papua New Guinea to London with her parents at the time of the accident. She is a very intelligent 10 year old girl and shows great talent at music and languages. She has two siblings, a fourteen year old brother and a 12 year old sister who are both at boarding school in the UK. Prudence did not want to take time out of school for this trip but her father felt that it was important that she visit her brother and sister.

6 Donald Heap. Donald Heap is a 45 year old married man with two children. He is a Conservative and currently resides on the back bench following a brief, but very public period as Junior Minister in the Department for Defense. Donald resigned from this position because of a scandal involving insider dealing. Donald is a self-made man, having made his fortune in sports clothing. He is an Olympic medalist in track events and used his world-wide reputation as a sportsman in marketing his goods. His hobbies include sailing, squash and growing hothouse orchids.

7 Sam Comfort. Sam is a 29 year old nurse and a member of Greenpeace. He abandoned plans to marry three years ago and took up a post as Nursing Officer at an Antarctic research station where he carried out work on hypothermia. He got on very well with the rest of the team at the research station and would like to renew his contract and return there. Sam is a very gifted musician; he plays the violin and enjoys swimming and badminton.




8 Professor Mu Chado. Professor Chado has been Professor of Microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania for the past 10 years. He has developed an antibody to the HIV virus that has proved successful in combating illness in experimental animals. He is 60 years old and a bachelor. He was physically disabled when he was 30 in a riding accident and has since then been confined to a wheelchair. His hobbies include water color painting.

9 Philippa Lowes-Harrington. Philippa Lowes-Harrington is a Performance Director in the energy industry. She is a 50 year old married woman with no children. Philippa spent 12 years in the army and retired at the age of 30 at the rank of Captain. Her hobbies include skiing and collecting objet d'art. She has been involved in negotiations where the Victoria and Albert Museum acquired a number of valuable pieces of British art from Japan and the United State. Currently she is the Chair of a working group which is considering how art may be used to improve inner-city environments. Philippa has recently been diagnosed as HIV positive


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