1. Present a position and support it with evidence and citation of sources.
2. Work effectively in a group.
Before the lesson, I considered the various reading levels of the students and wanted to select a piece of text that both higher and lower level readers would be able to comprehend.† I also used two examples (two baseball players that were not part of the lesson) to show the students how I wanted them to research the information to support their arguments.† †
There were no specific scoring guidelines.† The class as a group simply listened to the various arguments and discussed, based on the facts presented, who was the greatest baseball player all-time.
As each group presented their research, it was quite evident whether or not the students recognized how to take a position and support it.† As each category was discussed, it was also easy to see if the students worked well as a group because each student was responsible for a category in his or her group.
The students were assigned a particular category and had to report on it when that category was discussed, so the evidence of whether or not the student took a position and supported it and how they worked in their group was easy to recognize.
∑ Put desks in groups of seven or eight
∑ Placed information sheets about the players at each group of desks (Ex. Babe Ruth at one group, Hank Aaron at another).† There was only one sheet on each player.
∑ Assigned students to these groups (four to a group)
∑ Asked the students to explain what happens during a debate
∑ Explained the basics of a debate
∑ Used two baseball players to show the students how they were going to research and use their information.
∑ Explained how long the students would be at each group station (ten minutes each station)
∑ Told the students that they needed pencil and paper to take from station to station for note-taking† purposes
∑ Students chose who would research a particular category in their group
∑ Explained how the groups would rotate from station to station
∑ Told students that they would keep their notes in their class notebooks (that stay in my class) for the next day
∑ Explained that during the mock-debate that if a student wanted to speak, that he or she must raise his or her hand.
Once I knew that the reading piece was understood by everyone, I could possibly try and choose a material that is closer to the main topic (Ancient Civilizations).† I wanted to make sure that I selected a piece of text that everyone could hopefully grasp.
As a class we talked about how the Presidential elections would be coming up in 2004, and that we could relate our classroom debates to the presidential debates.
We did not have a homework assignment.
This lesson could be used in various subject areas, for example, in writing class the students could write a persuasive paper where they took a position and supported it.
Students could have researched their information and developed their arguments from the Internet.† It might also be neat to set up a situation where one class debated against another class from another school, or the same school.
I did not base my lesson on any particular educational study, but I did try and follow the norms of trying to get all students engaged as active learners so that they would be responsible for their own learning.†
Make sure that the reading material that is selected is
appropriate for the various reading levels of your students.† I think showing them an example of how I
wanted them to research was also very important to their understanding of the
project.† Also, make sure your basic
instructions about the rules of the debate are clearly explained.
∑ Baseball handouts