Introduce students to debate with our Debating Lesson Plan. This lesson prepares students to describe the debate process, follow rules of a debate, participate in a debate, and assess debate performances. Concluding the lesson with an opinion piece to use as a starting point for a future debate encourages continued development in the art of debate.
Sample Classroom Procedure / Teacher Instruction
- Ask the students their opinion about a 2-sided issue: Should kids get allowances, are there aliens, cell phones for kids, time school should begin, etc. Use one of the issues and encourage students to pick a side, and ask why they have that opinion.
- Display each sides’ reasons in two columns. Once there are several responses, review each and ask how the reasons might be supported. Ask: Are some of the reasons stronger than other reasons?
- Allow for responses and discussion. Ask students if anyone has changed their original opinion and why? Allow for further responses and discussion.
- Ask students: What have we just done as a class? Allow for responses while introducing debating.
- Distribute Debating content pages. Read and review the information with the students. During the content reading, give examples for each step and tip, as well as examples of statements and rebuttal statements. Ask students what else could be done to prepare for a debate. Discuss Presidential debates where moderators ask questions. Use the additional resources to enhance understanding.
- Distribute Activity page. Read and review the instructions. Pair students. (You may choose to have pairs of students debate another pair, or each student in a pair debate their partner.) Allow students access to the Internet or other resources for research.
- Students must have sufficient time to prepare during class time, and time to practice at home. Once completed, prepare a debate schedule using a set stage and plan for each debate, including time limits, etc. The teacher will be the moderator.
- Distribute Practice page. Check and review the students’ responses.
- Distribute the Homework page. The next day, allow students to share responses, debate if time permits.
- In closing, ask: What opinion do you have about something that would probably be the most difficult for another person to change? Why?
- Allow for responses and discussion. Encourage students to share reasons for the opinion.
Common Core State Standards: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.4.4, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.4.1, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.5.4, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.5.1, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6.4, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.1
Class Sessions (45 minutes): At least 2 class sessions.
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