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Debating the future

nb26Debating the FutureHow Much Should We Rely on Robots?

Before doing this extension, students should read, analyze, and compare the following science fiction novels and short story collections:

  1. I Robot by Isaac Asimov
  2. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick
  3. The Veldt in The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury


  1. The students will develop critical thinking skills by comparing conditions in the imaginary world of science fiction to conditions in the real world.
  2. The students will become familiar with debate format, rules, techniques, and vocabulary by participating in an informal debate.
  3. The students will develop research skills by using multiple resources to locate evidence to support their point of view on a topic.
  4. The students will develop oral communication and listening skills by planning and presenting a speech to support their position on a robotics related topic.


HCPS III Oral Communication Benchmarks

LA.9.6.1-9.6.5, LA.10.6.1-10.6.7, LA.11.6.1-11.6.5, LA.12.6.1- 12.6.4

LA.9.7.1-9.7.4, LA.10.7.1-10.7.3, LA.11.7.1-11.7.3, LA.12.7.1-12.7.3

HCPS III Reading Benchmarks

LA.9.1.2; LA.10.1.2; LA.11.1.2; LA.12.1.2

Common Core Standards:

The debate lesson also addresses many Common Core ELA standards in Reading: Informational Text and Speaking & Listening.

General List of Helpful Teacher Resources

Copies of the following texts

Teacher References

Internet Resources

  • Critical Advocacy (series of videos on debate basics including public speaking skills, persuasion, argumentation - videos are long so you’ll want to select: sections that meet your needs).
  • SEDA Resources This site has some excellent resources for training students on debate. Go to teacher resources in the sidebar and look at the online guides they offer. Has all you’ll need to do a terrific debate unit with your students - complete with materials, objectives, step-by-step procedures, etc.)
    • Student Hanouts on Debate Skills are availalble on the SEDA site.
    • Debate Scoring Sheet.Rubrics. There are some excellent ones in Spek Out on the SEDA site.
  • Education World - Classroom Debates. (Another excellent resource for debate information and materials. Check this one for classroom alternatives to traditional debate and debate rubrics.
  • Youtube: Instructional videos on flowing, debate speeches
  • Teaching Debate in the Elementary Classroom. These materials were written for upper elementary gifted but the handout is easy to understand for students who are new to debate.

Unit Duration: Approximately 4 weeks (based on students’ prior experiences with debate and the extent to which teachers want their students to learn correct debate format)

Prerequisite: To prepare for this series of lessons students should read I, Robot , Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, and The Illustrated Man

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Contact Info

  • Kathleen Letsky, Curriculum Specialist
  • Nathan Patia, STEM Specialist
  • Salvador Cabusi, Technology Specialist
  • Robot Invasion
  • Krause Family Foundation
  • Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Tel: 808.778.1265

The Krause Family Foundation: ‘Alana Ke Aloha

  • ‘Alana Ke Aloha places relationship at the heart of all learning.  We create and support projects that engage participants’ imagination, collaboration, and problem solving toward a healthy planet.
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