Beacon Lesson Plan Library

And Your Point Is . . .? Part II

Lois Christensen
Colleges and Universities - Florida


This is Part II of a two-part series. Part I introduced students to point of view through a structured WebQuest. (See WebLinks.) Part II extends understanding through student engagement in a variety of debate activities.


The student recognizes logical, ethical, and emotional appeals in texts.

The student checks the validity and accuracy of information obtained from research, in such ways as differentiating fact and opinion, identifying strong vs. weak arguments, recognizing that personal values influence the conclusions an author draws.


- Paper (several sheets per student)
- Writing utensils (2 pens or pencils per student)
- Computers with Internet connectivity (1 per group or a computer lab)
- Word processing software
- Inspiration software for planning (optional)


1. If Part I of this lesson is used, the teacher and student will be already versed in the format of debate. If not, the teacher should refresh his/her knowledge of the format of a debate: structured arguments, timed responses, etc. For rapid assistance, see or .
(The second URL is a secondary site but gives clear and concise debate information.)
2. Research recent community debates (community issues or political issues) to use as examples in initial discussion.
3. If used, students need to have knowledge of the software called Inspiration. It is most effective for planning a presentation, particularly the concept map and outlining functions. The software is easy for students to use and produces colorful documents.


1. Review principles of debate such as those used in the Love Canal Debate: Part 1. (See WebLinks). Emphasize that a debate is not an argument but an opportunity to express views on a particular topic.

2. Set up guidelines for the debate. Introduce the rubric that will be used to evaluate the debates. (See Associated File.) After the introduction, the debate will begin. Here are suggested guidelines:
(a) Teams of students (2-5 on each side) that have a chance to give a two to three-minute introduction to the topic.
(b) Defense and rebuttal. Two people from one side each has one minute maximum to give their view on the issue. Students from the other side will not be able to give a response until after the two people have finished talking. After one side has had two people talk, then the other group can give their view. This step can be repeated once or twice until all (or at least the most important) ideas have been discussed.
(c) Keep a chart of the class and mark down who has spoken so the debate does not get dominated by a couple of students.
(d) Keep track of the amount of time each student speaks.
(e) After all of the ideas have been discussed, the teams have three minutes to change any of their closing arguments. Each side is allowed two to three minutes maximum for their closing argument. Questions from the audience can be entertained and responded to if time will allow.

3. Emphasize that the teams (or some students) may be debating positions opposite to their beliefs. This is an important skill for them to learn (point of view).

4. Distribute debate topics to teams (or let them select from a listing of topics). A list of topics is included in the associated file. Once each team has a topic, use a coin toss (heads=pro and tails=con) to determine which point of view each side will take. At this time, revisit the rubrics with students so that they know exactly all guidelines of assessment.

5. Allow student teams time to develop their arguments for at least one full class period. Students prepare a list of relevant issues on both sides of the argument, prepare rebuttals for the other side's argument, decide on the most persuasive arguments to use in an opening argument, prepare an opening argument, and review key issues. Encourage them to find supportive documentation on either the Internet or other print/non-print resources. They can also extend their resources by working out of class (as homework). Also, encourage them to use a planning tool for their arguments. They could use Inspiration software or any other graphic organizer.

6. Conduct the debates.

7. Score each debate on the rubric. (See Associated File.)

8. Conduct a debriefing session including a student survey. (See Assessment). If part I has been used, the students will already have a recording of these questions and their responses in their journals. This could be done after each individual debate or after the entire series of debates are completed.


1. Use the rubric in the associated file to assess reports.

2. Assess the student survey. (This may be done anonymously and collected by the teacher or kept in student journals for discussion and debriefing of the debates.) These are the questions on the survey:
(a) How have your views been affected by the debate?
(b) Did you change your mind on the issue? Why?
(c) How did it feel to argue each point of view?
(d) What did you learn?

Circulate and formatively assess students as they use the technology tools. Provide assistance for students who are experiencing difficulty and monitor accordingly.


The needs of ESOL and special needs learners are accommodated through pairing with other students and by working in cooperative groups.

Web Links

Web supplement for And Your Point Is . . .? - Part II
ISTE NETS Standards

Web supplement for And Your Point Is . . .? - Part II
Part 1

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