In Your Opinion:
Are Athletes Heroes?
Students participate in a classroom debate about athletes as heroes.
Students define the words debate, pro, and con. Students clearly express oral and/or written opinions about whether people should view athletes as heroes.
hero, athlete, debate, pro, con, issue
- teacher-selected and student-researched articles and commentaries about various athletes from print and/or online sources
- box or paper bag
- small slips of paper with the words pro and con written on them
Before teaching the lesson: Write the words pro and con on slips of paper. Put the slips into a box or paper bag.
Complete this activity over several days.
- Discuss the meaning of the word debate.Discuss examples of debate topics.
- Ask the following questions: In your opinion, what is a hero? Are athletes heroes? (If yes) What qualities make an athlete a hero? (If no) Why not?
- Tell students that the class will hold a debate on this topic. Explain general debating guidelines from teacher-selected resources or from An Introduction to the Debating Process and Debate Rules [scroll down the page]. Discuss the meanings of the words pro and con.
Find many more resources in the Education World article, It's Up for Debate and its accompanying Resources for Classroom Debates.
- Organize students into small groups or teams. Present the box or bag containing the slips of paper with the words pro and con.
- Have a student from each team pick a slip of paper from the bag or box to determine which side of the debate they will cover.
- Tell students that each group must research print or, if Internet access is available, online sources to support their side of the debate. Give students a few days to complete their research, write their position papers, and rehearse for the debate.
Hold the classroom debate.
Variation: Invite other classes in your grade to the debate. Let the visitors pose questions to the teams.
Extension: Ask students if their opinions about athletes as heroes changed as a result of participating in the debate.
Evaluate students' abilities to work in teams, position papers, and participation in the debate.
Lesson Plan Source