Lesson 20

Social Studies Connection: A Manifest Destiny Debate Circa 1840 Day 2

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SWBAT defend a position using reasons and evidence.

Big Idea

Could you defend a cause you didn't believe in?


5 minutes

Today the kids will receive their debate positions and start taking notes to prepare for a debate. Again, I really like the document I bought because the whole debate and graphic organizers are set up for me. I'm already able to differentiate for some of my kiddos because arguments are already provided if I want to use them. Also, the organizers walk the kiddos through the whole process. Here's my overview. 

Prepare The Case

30 minutes

The kiddos will be using a graphic organizer to prepare their thoughts for today. I am using the organizers provided from the file I bought on Teachers Pay Teachers. Basically, you'll want the kids to record the position they're defending, evidence to support it, and a place to record what rebuttals the opposition might have. I like for the kids to be guided through thinking about what the opposition will say so they can be prepared. Here's a graphic organizer I found that might do the trick. I don't think it's as laid out as the one I purchased, but it's still pretty good. 


20 minutes

The kids will now break into their groups to quickly review and discuss their notes and then the debate begins. I will simply facilitate and ask the viewpoints on key arguments. This will be nothing official by any means! Here is a snippet of our debate. So sorry about the sound! 

I'm excited to see the kids use what they read to have civil disagreements. I'm also excited to see the kids who may be supporting an argument they don't truly agree with. This can be a difficult skill, but the whole experience shows them what we truly do in reading. Most of us now read to have discussions or have informed arguments. I never start a debate about something I haven't read about because I don't want to look silly! I want the kids to get this feeling, too. 

After the teams debate, we'll wrap up by discussing the experience and what they learned from it in terms of reading. 

How did you have to prepare for the "other" side of the story? Why is it important to consider someone else's viewpoint? Can you disagree without getting angry?