Last updated on: 2/27/2015 | Author:

Giving a Floor Speech – Lesson Plan Idea



Students will use a topic of their choice to prep for a mock speech to Congress.

Grades: 8-12

The Activity


Each student will be preparing a 5-minute speech as if he or she were giving testimony on the floor of the House of Representatives. To give students a “feel” for what they will be expected to do, show students a short clip (perhaps from C-SPAN or their Congressional Representative’s website) of a speech on the House floor. As a class, brainstorm a list of things they notice that make the speech interesting or boring, clear or confusing, etc.

Then have students choose any topic from that interests them. Once they have mastered the material and drawn their own conclusions, provide time for them to write and rehearse their “floor speeches.” Direct them to focus on persuasive content and oration style.

Speeches can be presented in class, or recorded and uploaded using a tool such as VoiceThread or a class wiki. Invite peer feedback based on the brainstormed list that the class created prior to preparing their individual speeches.

——————————– Topics: Any. See full list of debate topics.

Subjects: Social Studies, Public Policy, Civics, American Government, Communication, English / Language Arts

Common Core Anchor Standards: CCRA.W.1, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.4, CCRA.W.5, CCRA. SL.4, CCRA.SL.6

Common Core Content Standards: W.1, W.2, W.4, W.5, SL.4, SL.5

Make the lesson easier

  • Choose one topic for all the students to give speeches on, allowing more focused and informed feedback.
  • Provide sentence starters or prompts for speech writing.
  • Write the speech as a class and focus the activity on practicing delivery.

Make the lesson harder

  • Increase the length of each speech.
  • Assign students topics and/or positions.
  • Have students use a topic that is relevant to a local debate and as their final presentation, make their speeches live at a city council meeting.
Related Links


  1. Lesson Plan Ideas with Common Core Correlations
  2. Teachers’ Corner