Grade Level: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
- Language Arts/Debate
Duration: 45 minutes
Description: This activity introduces students to persuasion. By the end of the lesson, students are able to express their positions, as well as opposing arguments, on a particular issue. Objectives:
- Students will work in groups to clearly verbalize their positions on a specific issue/topic.
- Students will practice listening skills while other groups present their positions.
- Students will be able to use convincing arguments to sway others’ opinions.
- Students will write a 5-paragraph persuasive essay that presents point of view clearly and
addresses opposing positions. Materials:
- 4 large pieces of paper with these words written on them:
- Strongly Agree,
- Somewhat Agree,
- Strongly Disagree,
- Somewhat Disagree
- Post the four pieces of paper in the four corners of the classroom.
- Write a controversial topic on the board (for example: Schools should eliminate report cards).
- Have students move to the corner that best matches their position (Strongly Agree, Somewhat Agree, Strongly Disagree, Somewhat Disagree). If social cliques are a problem, have students write their choice on a card first in order to ensure honest reactions.
- Each corner will have 2 minutes to discuss and solidify their reasoning/logic. Each group selects a spokesperson to express the group’s position. He/she has 30 seconds to express thoughts concisely and persuade their classmates. Other groups must listen intently.
- After the first corner presents, invite those who have been persuaded to move to the appropriate corner. Direct each group to present their group’s position in turn.
- Allow students to move to the appropriate corners if they have changed their minds.
Each student will write a 5-paragraph persuasive essay. In order to receive a maximum score, the student must express his position clearly, use appropriate logic, and address opposing viewpoints.
Special Comments: My students love this debate exercise! In fact, they bring up new issues almost daily and want to have a go. This is an excellent opportunity for the teacher to instruct on debate etiquette (ie. no put-downs, one speaker at a time, respect other viewpoints, etc.).
* Submitted by: Lisa M. Shearer Email: firstname.lastname@example.org School/University/Affiliation: Home Street Middle School, Bishop, CA