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Class Debate

Debate any topic in your classroom using this class debate framework.

Difficulty Level: Average      Time Required: 1 Class

  1. Introduce debates by producing the rubric that you will be using to grade them. For a sample rubric, please see related sites at the bottom of this page.
  2. A few weeks before the debate(s), give students the topic(s) to be covered.
  3. Have students give you an ordered list showing in which debates they prefer to participate in order of preference.
  4. From these lists make a debate group consisting of two students for each side of your debate: pro and con.
  5. Before you hand the debate assignments out, explain that some students might be debating positions opposite to their beliefs. This is an important skill for them to learn.
  6. On the day of the debate, give students in the 'audience' a blank rubric. Explain that it is their job to judge the debate objectively.
  7. Begin the debate with the pro side speaking first. Allow them 5-7 minutes of uninterrupted time to explain their position. Both members must participate equally.
  8. Repeat step number seven for the con side.
  9. Give both sides about three minutes to confer and prepare for their rebuttal.
  10. Begin the rebuttals with the con side and give them three minutes to speak. Both members must participate equally.
  11. Repeat step number 10 for the pro side.
  12. Allow the audience to ask questions of the debating teams.


  1. Possibly give extra credit to the audience for well thought out questions.
  2. Use the audience members' rubrics to help give comments on your official rubric for each team.

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