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classroom debate worksheet

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Classroom Debate Worksheets

Debate worksheets, worksheet 1.

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This first debate worksheet is a classroom debate planner for students to use. Students should fill in the debate topic and their position for or against. Then, students should write their arguments, supporting facts, and closing arguments.

Worksheet 2

Worksheet 3.

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Teaching a debate class? Here is a useful debate worksheet to help your students plan their argument for the debate. This worksheet asks students to write down their opening statement, their arguments and supporting facts and their closing arguments. 

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Debating Worksheets

Related ela standard: speaking & listening.

Debating provides students with great life skills. Debates examine differing sides of an issue or idea. The goal is to persuade the audience to agree with your side of the argument. We find that students learn the most when they are assigned the task of supporting the side of the issue that they do not agree with. It takes some talent to successfully get people to agree with you when you don’t agree with what you are saying. These worksheets will help students explore all aspects of a debate.

Debating Worksheets:

Prepare for Your Debate – Answer the following questions to prepare for your debate.

Brain to Brain – How will you summarize your position and be convincing?

Evidence Gathering – Good debaters back their assertions with evidence. Prepare for your debate by making sure that you have solid evidence or sound reasoning to back up ever point you make.

Know Your Opponent – Good debaters also anticipate the points that their opponents will make and prepare themselves to be able to rebut them.

Transition Words for Debates – As you practice for your debate, get comfortable using solid transition words that will help your audience follow your argument.

The Main Points – Now write out the main points you will make as you state your position.

Pick a Topic! – Hot topics for you to choose from that are commonly argued.

Get After It! – Print the topics on card stock and cut into individual cards.

Banned! – Student pairs should take opposite sides of the question whether or not the topic should be banned.

Don't Panic! PREPARE! – Prepare for your debate by answering the following questions for both your and your opponent’s positions.

The FOR Group Worksheet – This will help a group organize for a session.

The AGAINST Group Worksheet – This is for the group that has the negative position or stance on the topic.

The Short Preparation – You will have one hour to prepare your speeches. Follow these steps and adhere to the time limits.

Flaws and Doubts – Are your reasons and evidence reliable? How do you know? Are each of your points justified? Why or why not?

The Great Debate – A short version of debate preparation.

The Great Debate 2 – I will re-affirm my position by:

Research Skills – Research the issues surrounding the topic broadly enough to identify the conflicting viewpoints.

Tips – Each speaker has a certain amount of time for which they will be allowed to speak.

Tips for Winning Debates

Every student should take part in debates. This is because debates are really helpful in developing the speaking skills of individuals. It also boosts the confidence in young students. Debates prepare you for your future. Your cognitive skills are developed through debates. If you ever get a chance to take part in the debates competition, do not miss out on the opportunity. Although it does not matter if you win or lose at first as it is all about the experience, you can still use these following tips to win any debate competition.

Gather Your Thoughts

Once you have received the topic of the debate, it is time to start writing an effective debate. Make sure to educate yourself on the topic. It is very necessary as you don't want to look like a fool who knows nothing while debating. You should do your research. After that, it is time to gather your thoughts and opinions. You can write the main points down and think of ways to deliver your thoughts in a positive and enlightening way.

The Non-Verbal Components

It is a common misconception that winning the debate is all about speaking skills. While speaking skills and strong opinions do matter, another extremely important thing is the non-verbal component. You should use gestures while speaking. This is because your speech will look natural and conversational. You will come across as confident and strong. Use the movement of your hands and facial gestures along with your body language to deliver an effective debate in front of your audience.

Be Confident

The most important tip is to remain confident no matter what. You can believe that you have a winning speech even if you did not give it enough time. Confidence is all you need to win the debate.

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Junior Scholastic  Teaching Kits

Teacher-approved stories, resources, and worksheets, courtesy of  junior scholastic , the middle school social studies classroom magazine..

classroom debate worksheet

Social Studies Debate Kit

Teaching the art of debating—and how to write an effective argument essay—can help students master critical-thinking and communication skills.

Featured Teaching Kits

Teacher-approved stories, resources, and worksheets for teaching students how to evaluate both sides of a debate and craft the perfect argument essay, courtesy of  Junior Scholastic , the middle school Social Studies classroom magazine

classroom debate worksheet

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Famous quotes about debating throughout history

“Don't raise your voice, improve your argument.”

— Desmond Tutu, a human rights activist from South Africa

“In all debates, let truth be thy aim, not victory, or an unjust interest.”

— William Penn, founder of the American colony that became the state of Pennsylvania

“It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it.”

— Joseph Joubert, a French writer who died in 1824

“I love argument. I love debate. I don't expect anyone just to sit there and agree with me. That's not their job.”

— Margaret Thatcher, first female prime minister of the United Kingdom

Key Figures  

Four famous debaters who made an impact.

classroom debate worksheet

Mohandas Gandhi

Indian independence leader Mohandas Gandhi is considered one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century. He often debated his fellow revolutionaries on politics, religion, culture, and the best way to achieve independence from Great Britain. Gandhi’s public-speaking skills eventually inspired thousands of people in India to join his nonviolent quest to protest British rule of their country.

classroom debate worksheet

Abraham Lincoln

The 16th U.S. president is widely considered one of the best public speakers—and debaters—in history. During a July 1858 debate against Stephen Douglas for a U.S. Senate seat, Lincoln uttered this famous phrase: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

classroom debate worksheet

Nelson Mandela

The anti-apartheid leader and 1993 Nobel Peace Prize winner used his skills at debating, public speaking, and speech writing to challenge—and change—South Africa’s system of oppression. As the president of South Africa, Mandela often encouraged debate as essential to the democratic process.

classroom debate worksheet

Margaret Thatcher

The first female prime minister of the United Kingdom was widely respected for her eloquent speeches and debating skills. In fact, experts say Thatcher’s speeches helped fuel her rise to power at a time when many women lacked prominent roles in politics. Thatcher’s 1976 speech “Britain Awake” helped make the case for strengthening the nation’s defenses during the Cold War and earned her the nickname the “Iron Lady.”

Supplemental resources that link to external websites about debating

Tips and Tools for Argument Writing

Use this guide from the Writing Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to learn how to make a claim and support it with reasons and evidence.

National Speech and Debate Association

The NSDA provides educational resources, competitive opportunities, and expertise to foster students’ communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creative skills.

Education World: It’s Up for Debate

Get teaching tips and lesson plans for how to hold effective class debates.

Terms and definitions that pertain to debating

ad hominem attack

an attack on a person rather than on his or her argument

a position or viewpoint along with the claims and evidence used to support that position

a statement that supports a position


a rebuttal, or argument against, an opposing viewpoint or claim

facts, statistics, examples, and comparisons that show why a claim should be believed

to prove that a statement, position, or claim is wrong or false

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Learn about important women throughout history—including Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Sojourner Truth—and the progress that’s been made in the fight for gender equality.  

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The History and Heroes of World War II

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These inspiring teens fought for what they believed in—and made history in the process.

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Mastering Media Literacy and Digital Literacy

In an increasingly digital world, being able to navigate technology skillfully and evaluate online resources for accuracy and trustworthiness is crucial.

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Teaching map skills can build students’ geography knowledge—and enhance their understanding of the world in which they live.

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Middle School Civics

An overview of civics: what it means to be a good citizen, how democracy works, and why staying informed and engaged matters—even as kids.

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The Civil War and Reconstruction

Use these features and supporting resources to give students deeper as well as broader knowledge of these key periods in U.S. history.

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The U.S. is a nation of immigrants, built by people who left their homes to seek new lives and opportunities. However, Americans' feelings about immigrants are mixed.

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Giacomo Gambineri (illustration); Aaron Dyer; food styling: Jessie Damuck (Food Fight); Photo Illustration by Vanessa Irena for Scholastic; Stacy Revere/Getty Images (Aaron Rodgers); Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images (Mike Trout); Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images (Stephen Curry); NASA (Mars Base); Hero Images/Getty Images (Teens); 123design/Shutterstock.com (Tags); Elliott & Fry/Getty Images (Gandhi); Everett Historical/Shutterstock.com (Lincoln); Susan Winters Cook/Getty Images (Mandela); Bettmann/Getty Images (Thatcher)

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