There is only an anticipatory set on the first of the two days I provide students with for planning. The second day is entirely reserved for the students to prepare for the following day's debates.
For this activity, I have decided to randomly assign the groups in order to eliminate as much fighting over topics and positions as I can.
I put 5 slips of paper into the Magic Bag for each topic, so there are five 1s, five 2s, and so on. I move throughout the room and have the students draw from the bag. I do not tell them which topic is which, so they simply wait and see who else draws the same number they did. The topics are:
Once everyone has drawn, I have the students get into their groups and I pass out the argument cards to them based on the number they drew. I then provide them the remainder of that ten minutes to determine who will complete each of the five tasks: moderator/announcer, pro side position, pro side rebuttal, con side position, and con side rebuttal.
Independent time is reserved for the groups to collaborate as they see fit in preparation for the debates. Some groups decide it is best for the two sides to work separately from one another, in order to truly demonstrate who had the strongest position and research. Other groups decide to research together, but simply not share which pieces of evidence they will focus on in their side's argument.
As the groups are working, I am moving throughout the room, listening in on discussions and providing necessary feedback. I take the class to the computer lab to provide them adequate opportunity to do research on their respective topics. In total, over the two days, I provide the students with roughly 90 minutes to research and prepare for the debates the following two days.