IMAT 2015 Q5 [Arguments | Gardening]

Children are being encouraged to take up gardening through special events at shows and activities in schools. It is hoped that an interest in gardening, and particularly growing one’s own food, will make children more interested in learning about their food and they will therefore be deterred from eating junk food. The initiative should be supported and spread to more schools as quickly as possible.

Which one of the following, if true, would most weaken the above argument?

A. The practical experience of gardening is not a traditional academic subject.

B. The events to encourage children to garden also included stands where junk food was for sale.

C. Some schools do not have a garden.

B. It tends to be older people who are interested in gardening and growing their own food.

E. Most children have enjoyed the events provided, but have not gained an interest in gardening itself

Steps:

  • Find the Argument
  • Find supporting evidence in the text, this is needed before we analyse our possible answers.
  • Eliminate easy options
  • These will be the answers that are opposite to what you want (ex. Strengthen instead of weakening)
  • Determine which answer strengthens or weakens the argument THE MOST

What is the goal of the text?

It is trying to convince us to support these initiatives for the reason that they are helping promote healthy eating. If there was something going to weaken the argument, it could attack these events, by showing they are not encouraging healthy eating in the long term through the interest of gardening. Let’s look at the answer:

A The practical experience of gardening is not a traditional academic subject.

This is not a relevant answer. It does not attack the quality of the events or provide any evidence as to how they could not be beneficial. This piece of information does not change any of our ideas surrounding the conclusion, and therefore it is incorrect.

B The events to encourage children to garden also included stands where junk food was for sale.

This answer can be difficult to eliminate. The goal of the event is to have the children gain an interest in learning about their food, but it does not mean that it will be possible to eliminate all junk food in their diet. The goal is awareness, and just because there is junk food available, it does not mean they will buy it. It could also result in the children buying junk food but doing so making more informed choices. Therefore this answer could be weakening, but it will not be the MOST weakening because we can provide some refutes to it.

C Some schools do not have a garden.

This should not have an impact, we do not know anything about these events, so for all, we know gardens are not even required to host these presentations. Therefore C is incorrect.

D It tends to be older people who are interested in gardening and growing their own food.

The goal is to increase the interest in children, not to already appease the interest of older people. We want to start children young so they can build healthy habits by taking interest in their food, which is actually easier to install in younger children who are still learning, rather than older people with decades of bad habits. Therefore D is incorrect.

E Most children have enjoyed the events provided, but have not gained an interest in gardening itself.

We need to go back and remember what is the purpose of these events: to help the children develop an interest in gardening and to make them more interested in learning about their food. If these events do not cause the children to gain an interest in gardening, then they have not accomplished their overall purpose. This weakens the argument the most because if this statement was true, the author is wrong to call for these events to be implemented in schools on the basis they will cause children to take deeper learning about their own food because it is not true will be the outcome. Therefore E is correct.