Judging the Arguments in a Debate - Lesson Plan Idea
Judging the Arguments in a Debate - Overview
Use a ProCon.org micro site to help students evaluate debate claims and examine their own reasoning.
Print out the list of pro and con statements from a ProCon.org micro site (one full list for each student). Cut apart the statements and sort the pieces into two piles, one of pros and one of cons. Shuffle each pile until they are well mixed. Place each complete set of two piles in its own container.
Give each student one of these sets and ask them to create matches of one pro and one con that address two sides of the same argument. For each match, they should pick which argument is stronger, and justify their reasoning in writing. They should assign a point to each argument they select, and, at the end of the exercise, tally the total to see which side of the debate had the stronger arguments overall. Make sure students have plenty of space to lay out all the statements and move everything around, allowing them to take full advantage of the kinesthetic nature of the activity. If desired, you can also provide a note-taking template for students to track answers and thoughts. When complete, go over answers as a class and ask students to explain their reasoning to each other.