Debates in the Classroom


Debates in the Classroom

There's no debate about it! Debates are a great tool for engaging students and livening up classroom curriculum. Using debates in the classroom can help students grasp essential critical thinking and presentation skills. Among the skills classroom debates can foster are abstract thinking, citizenship and etiquette, clarity, organization, persuasion, public speaking, research, and teamwork and cooperation. And that's just the beginning!

Learn More About Using Debates in the Classroom
The following Education World articles and lessons provide a great starting point for using debates in the classroom:

It's Up for Debate
Debates are a staple of middle and high school social studies classes. But have you ever thought about using debates at the lower grades -- or in math class? Education World offers five debate strategies and extra lessons for students of all ages. The following five lessons can be found in this article:

Stage a Debate: A Primer for Teachers (Lincoln-Douglas Debate Format)
Adapt the standard debate format; plus ten strategies for engaging students in debate.
Role Play Debate
Students assume the roles of various stakeholders in debates on issues of high interest.
Using Fairy Tales to Debate Ethics
Three fairy tales challenge students to think about honesty, right and wrong, and other questions of ethics.

Four Corners Debate
A debate strategy gets kids thinking and moving. Debate topics included for all grades.

Inner Circle, Outer Circle Debate Strategy
The inner/outer circle debate strategy emphasizes listening to others' views and writing an opinion essay.

Classroom Debate Resource Page
This special Education World resources highlights the best resources for debate rules; debate rubrics for student assessment; debate topics for classroom use; more debate lesson plans; and fun debate strategies.

Topics for debates:

'They Just Come and Go' -- A Debate About the White House
Students select a president, read about his life and accomplishments as a leader, and then design a monument in his honor. They learn about life in the White House and debate one of five issues related to the presidency.
Human Nature: Good or Evil?
Stage a debate or write an essay in response to the question: Is human nature inherently good or inherently evil?
It's Up for Debate: WWII Issues
Students work in teams to explore a variety of issues related to World War II, review the decisions that were made at the time, and debate the correctness of those decisions.
In Your Opinion: Are Athletes Heroes?
Students participate in a classroom debate about athletes as heroes.

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