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Presidental Debates: Watch, Learn, and Do

Subjects:

Language Arts, Social Studies  

Grades:

4, 5, 6, 7, 8  

Title: Presidential Debates: Watch, Learn, and Do
By: J. Griffith
Primary Subject:  Social Studies
Secondary Subjects: Language Arts
Grade Level: 4-8

Objective

Students will be able to:

  • Identify the topics debated by political candidates such as education and healthcare
  • Understand why debates between political candidates are important to voters
  • Formulate their own positions on issues discussed in the debates
  • Argue their positions with classmates

Materials Needed

Videos of debates

Pencils and paper

Methods/Procedures

Students watch the presidential and vice-presidential televised debates (or any candidate debates).

Younger students can choose one topic debated by the candidates and write a paragraph on whether they agree or disagree with the response given by each candidate.

Older students can complete a written response to the full debate, comparing and contrasting the candidates’ positions on issues with their personal beliefs.

After students have observed the debates, they can set up a debate in the classroom. Students who are interested in participating in the debate could run for office. A primary election would be held for these candidates. The two winners would then have a debate during class time.

Assign one student as a moderator, have other students ask questions, and have the class vote on which candidate won the debate.

After voting, the class will discuss the debate, how they think the winning candidate succeeded, and how the classroom debate compared to the national debate(s) they studied.

Assessment/Evaluation

Students are evaluated on their written work and their participation in debate activities and class discussion.

Closure

Students share what they learned about the debate process.

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