Debate activities in elementary schools encourage younger students to make a point and gather supporting details to back it up. Learning to organise their thoughts and to make public presentations equip the students with skills that they will need in the future. Reinforcing these skills means devising topics that are both age and skill appropriate for these younger students
For younger students, choose debating topics that relate to personal preferences such as their favourite things. For example, hamburgers versus hot dogs as the best picnic food; ice cream versus Italian ice as a sweet treat; and milk versus fruit juice as a school beverage choice. Other debate topics could include whether breakfast is a necessary meal; whether riding the school bus is better than hitching a ride with mom; or if school field trips are really educational.
For older students, topics could revolve around school issues such as school assemblies, which school spirit days to integrate and cafeteria menu options. Another topic may revolve around the Pledge of Allegiance and whether it should be required since some students are non-Christians. Debate the topic of state standardised testing and its effect on student learning and the pressure of students to succeed.
Rules and Regulations
Many school districts require random locker searches in middle and high schools, encourage students to debate the right to privacy versus the use of this method to protect the school population and property. Hot topics of discussion among school officials such as year round school attendance and the wearing of uniform are also appropriate debate topics for elementary school students. In addition, encourage them to debate other school related issues such as the integration of charter and virtual schools resulting in smaller state schools
On Behalf of Others
Although the issue of animal rights and animal scientific experimentation can be an intense middle or high school debate topic, a simplified version is appropriate for elementary students. Social issues like curfew for teenagers, the idea that beauty is only skin deep and, although the students are not of legal driving age, the legal driving age also make good debate subjects at the elementary school level.