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It's Up for Debate

podium in front of debate students

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. Included: Debate fairy tale ethics, use four corner and inner/outer circle strategies, more.

  • Wearing a helmet when riding a bike should be mandatory.
  • The President of the United States is doing a good job.
  • The Pledge of Allegiance should be recited in school each day.
  • Beauty is only skin deep.
  • Kids should be able to have TVs in their bedrooms.


All you need to have a great classroom debate is an interesting topic -- such as the ones above -- to engage students ...

Well, perhaps that point could be debated -- but theres no debating the fact that this weeks Lesson Planning article provides all the resources you need for great classroom debates. Aside from high-interest debate topics, this Education World resource provides sample debate formats, a few rules for kids to remember, a bunch of fun strategies, and a handful of great lesson ideas!


Debating Teaches Many Essential Skills

Using debates in the classroom can help students grasp many essential critical thinking and presentation skills. Among the skills classroom debates can foster are:
* abstract thinking
* analytical thinking
* citizenship/ethics/etiquette
* clarity
* cross-examination/questioning
* point of view
* distinguishing fact from opinion
* identifying bias
* language usage
* organization
* personal vs. political values
* persuasion
* public speaking
* research
* teamwork/cooperation
* many more!



This week, Education World provides five lessons that are sure to make the most of your next classroom debate. Click each of the five lesson headlines below for a complete teaching resource. (Appropriate grade levels for each lesson appear in parentheses.)

Stage a Debate: A Primer for Teachers (Lincoln-Douglas Debate Format)
Adapt the standard debate format plus ten strategies for engaging students in debate! (Grades 3-12)

Role Play Debate
Students assume the roles of various stakeholders in debates on issues of high interest. (Grades 3-12)

Using Fairy Tales to Debate Ethics
Three fairy tales challenge students to think about honesty, right and wrong, and other questions of ethics. (Grades K-8)

Four Corners Debate
A debate strategy gets kids thinking and moving. Debate topics included for all grades. (Grades K-12)

Inner Circle, Outer Circle Debate Strategy
The inner/outer circle debate strategy emphasizes listening to others views and writing an opinion essay. (Grades 3-12)