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Debating the future - Week 3

Week 3

Week 3: Preparing for the Day of the Debate (4-5 Days)

Students have learned the basics of debate. They’ve planned their strategy and have gathered evidence to support their points. This week will be spent on developing note taking skills, gaining confidence in speaking skills, and doing final preparations for the debate.

What did he say? (1 day)


  • Note Taking (Flow) Sheet (TR)
  • Debate video


  • Students turn to a partner. One student speaks about a specified topic for 3 minutes while the other listens. At the end of three minutes, talking stops. The other person writes down everything he remembers that his partner said. Discuss results.
  • Explain importance of remembering what the opposing team and your teammates say during a debate.
  • Pass out note taking sheet - introduce “flowing” (method of note taking during a debate) and how to use the sheet. Legal paper folded into columns can be used instead of the form. TR - Flow Sheet
  • Practice taking notes during a debate video. Stop the video after each speaker and have the students compare their notes with a partner.
  • Taking debate notes is difficult for beginners. Discuss what was most difficult. Experienced debaters use standard abbreviations to get the information down quickly. Students can think of their own “shorthand” method. The key is to remember what the others said so you can respond.

Speak Up! (1 day)


  • Smart Board and internet connection
  • Qatar Debate site video (see video link in lesson)
  • Speaking Tips (see link in lesson)
  • Think-Pair-Share Strategy Directions (see link in lesson)


The following activities will help students gain confidence in impromptu speaking and “thinking on their feet”.

  • To debate well, you have to think fast on your feet and respond quickly and convincingly.
  • Do the Alley Debate activity as described in the Qatar Debate site video ( 5:54 on the video).
  • Follow this activity with the Tag Team Strategy using a topic on which your students have strong opposing views. (Scroll down to “Fun Debate Strategies”)
  • Using Think-Pair-Sharebrainstorm the following:
    • What are some things that make you want to listen to a speaker?
    • What do good speakers do to hold your attention?
    • How do they use their voice and body?
    • What kinds of things about a speaker distract you or “turn you off”?
  • Think about yourself as a speaker. Write about what you do well and what you need to improve.

Debate Planning Sheet Feedback & Final Preparations (1Day)



  • Return debate planning sheets to teams (make copies - one for each team member and one for yourself).
  • Teams go over teacher comments, make revisions, and practice their presentation. Teacher circulates and answers questions about comments on Debate Planning Sheet.
  • Pass out the scoring sheet and go over the scoring criteria.
  • Practice using the scoring sheet after watching a debate video
  • Use additional time as needed to do final practice for debate.
  • Close the lesson by discussing audience responsibilities during debate. This is a good time to introduce heckling and POI if your students are ready for this. For more information, go to the following link (SEDA Resources), click on “Debater Tools” and scroll down to “POI Pointers” and “Heckling Pointers” .

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Contact Info

  • Kathleen Letsky, Curriculum Specialist
  • Nathan Patia, STEM Specialist
  • Salvador Cabusi, Technology Specialist
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  • 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.
  • The Krause Family Foundation: ‘Alana Ke Aloha is a private, 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization (EIN: 27-1531421) registered (01/21/2010) in the State of Hawai‘i.