Let’s Have a Debate


ELAR-Grade-4 Non-fiction Texts Let’s Have a Debate
Students work in groups on a debate topic. Each group subdivides into teams for and against the topic. Teams research the debate topic in order to plan their initial speech and rebuttal. Teams listen to and address the opposing team’s speech in order to adequately address the arguments made. The students not participating in the debate listen and take notes so they may ask the teams questions as needed. The audience votes on which team presented a more convincing argument.

This learning experience is designed for device-enabled classrooms. The teacher guides the lesson, and students use embedded resources, social media skills, and critical thinking skills to actively participate. To get access to a free version of the complete lesson, sign up for an exploros account.

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Here are the teacher pack items for Let’s Have a Debate:

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Overview

In this experience, students work in groups on a debate topic. Each group subdivides into teams for and against the topic. Teams research the debate topic in order to plan their initial speech and rebuttal. Teams listen to and address the opposing team’s speech in order to adequately address the arguments made. The students not participating in the debate listen and take notes so they may ask the teams questions as needed. The audience votes on which team presented a more convincing argument.

Divide students into groups of 4 or 6 people (if possible), so that both the for and against teams have the same number of participants. If you have an odd number of students, you can have two students split presentation of the initial team position, or you can pair a strong student with an ELL student to work together.

The student posts throughout the experience enable you to track student progress and to ensure that the students have divided up the work appropriately. As students work with their teams, monitor their progress and intervene when necessary.

Objectives

  • Work with a group to prepare a debate.
  • Research facts to plan a debate speech arguing a position.
  • Use good speaking skills to present a position.
  • Listen actively to evaluate speeches given by classmates.

Duration

Two class periods for preparation; 3 debates per class period for presentation. Encourage students to practice their speeches outside of class.


Giving your opinion is easy. You share your opinions daily. From “I like computer class” to “This is boring,” it is easy for people to state opinions even though others may not agree.

Providing reasons and support for those opinions isn’t as easy. It requires you to think about why you feel the way you do. Even harder is convincing others to agree with you. That requires communicating your opinions and reasons well. In this experience, you will work with a team to debate a topic against another team. You will try to convince the audience to agree with your position. You will collaborate with your team to organize your speeches and plan what the other side might argue and how to prove their side wrong.

Objectives

  • Work with a group to prepare a debate.
  • Research facts to plan a debate speech arguing a position.
  • Use good speaking skills to present a position.
  • Listen actively to evaluate speeches given by classmates.


Two faceless figures debating on stage

Should Quidditch be added as an Olympic sport? Why or why not? As you write your response, be prepared to answer those who disagree with you.


Explain whether you think Quidditch should become an Olympic sport or not. Be prepared to support your opinion.

Post your answer

Discuss student responses. Have students build off of each other, calling on students in favor of Olympic Quidditch competition followed by a student in opposition to adding a fictional sport to the Olympics. Encourage discussion that builds on what the previous person said.

If your students are new to the concept of debating, review the general steps at each opportunity during the planning stages, so that the students have a clear understanding of the goals of each step.


You and your classmates just engaged in a mini-debate. In this experience, you will learn more about debating and how to plan a strong argument to persuade an audience to agree with your position.


Divide students into their small groups. Assign each group a different debate topic.

Some possible topics are:

  • Fidget spinners should be banned in schools.
  • Students should have assigned seats in the cafeteria.
  • Bottled water sales should be banned.
  • Football should be banned to prevent injuries.
  • Trampolines should be banned to prevent injuries.
  • Students should be allowed to use cell phones in school.
  • Schools should adopt a 12-month school year.
  • Homework should be banned.
  • Zoos should be abolished.
  • Schools should have a dress code.
When everyone is ready to continue, unlock the next scene.

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The Complete List of Learning Experiences in Non-fiction Texts Unit.
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