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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:

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.

More Debate Lessons

  • '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. (Grades 3-12)
  • 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? (Grades 6-12)
  • 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. (Grades 6-12)
  • Could Teddy Roosevelt Spell?
    Students stage debates about English spelling vs. simplified spelling. (Grades 6-8)
  • In Your Opinion: Are Athletes Heroes?
    Students participate in a classroom debate about athletes as heroes. (Grades 6-12)

More Resources

The Great American Think-Off
The Great American Think-Off is an annual essay contest and philosophy debate. The contest is open to all U.S. residents.