Teachers may have a difficult time sparking a proper debate among their students. However, instructors can use fun classroom debate games as a catalyst for spirited--and educational--debates. Choose games that will teach students the basics of debate while keeping them interested and engaged.
Four Corners Game
Use all four corners of the classroom to get your students moving in this revealing debate game.
Write the following opinions on four separate signs: Strongly Agree, Somewhat Agree, Somewhat Disagree and Strongly Disagree. Place a sign in each corner of the classroom.
Pose different topics to the class. Choose topics based on the students' age group. For example, in elementary school, ask students to debate such statements as, "It is important to eat from all four food groups daily." Ask high school students whether they think schools should adopt a dress code.
Tell students to walk to the corner that best describes how they feel about the topic. Give the groups a few minutes to discuss the topic and write down the reasons for their decisions. Ask students to share their answers with the class. Repeat this debate game with another topic.
Stakeholder Debate Game
Teach students role-playing debate games. This type of activity encourages students to think outside the box.
Set up a situation for the class to debate. Ask students to make a list of stakeholders in that situation. For instance, choose summer school as a topic. Stakeholders in this debate include parents, teachers, students, administration and residents.
Write the names of stakeholders on index cards. Give each student a card. Each stakeholder group should include at least three students.
Each group makes an argument for or against the situation, based on the stakeholder they represent. For example, an administrator may not feel summer school is practical because of a lack of funding, while parents may see it as a good way to keep children involved in education throughout the year.
Ask groups to present their arguments to the class. After a group presentation, let the audience ask the group questions about its stance.
Use two types of candy for this debate activity. Choose three students to serve as judges. Split the rest of the class into two groups. Each group will represent one item. Have each group use the chalkboard to list 10 reasons their item is better than the opposing team's item.
Have students vote on the three best reasons for each side. Students will use the top three reasons to make an argument--including a thesis--for their item. Have each group choose a representative to argue the product's worth. The three judges will determine the winner.
Adapt this debate game idea--select different items for the students to endorse.
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