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In Your Opinion:
Are Athletes Heroes?



  • Language Arts


  • 6-8
  • 9-12

Brief Description

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

Materials Needed

  • teacher-selected and student-researched articles and commentaries about various athletes from print and/or online sources
  • paper
  • pens/pencils
  • box or paper bag
  • small slips of paper with the words pro and con written on them

Lesson Plan

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.

Lesson 1

  • 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.

Lesson 2

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

Education World

Submitted By

Lois Lewis

National Standards

Language Arts: