Monday, November 12, 2007

Lesson Plan

Situating the Lesson

This lesson will take place in day nine of the ten day preparatory unit for May Madness. They have been working on doing the research for the debate and during this and the next lesson they will actually learn about debating and the rules for the May Madness debate.

During the next class period students will be able to ask final questions about the debate process, make comments about the debate they saw in the previous day’s class and be reminded of the best ways to highlight the opponent’s weaknesses. The debates will begin two days after this lesson is presented.

Students will have the opportunity to watch the teacher and another participant model the debate process. They will be able to see the results of effective research and how the resources they have gathered can help them in being successful with the debate.

Instructional Goals

Students will learn what a debate is and the rules to be used during the May Madness debates.
Students will learn how to identify what makes a debater successful.
Students will learn techniques they will be able to use in their May Madness debates.


DC Public Schools

Historical Chronology and Interpretation

1. Students compare the present with the past, evaluating the consequences of past events and decisions and determining the lessons that were learned.
7. Students understand the meaning, implication, and impact of historical events and recognize that events could have taken other directions.

Historical Research, Evidence and Point of View

4. Students construct and test hypotheses; collect, evaluate, and employ information from multiple primary and secondary sources; and apply it in oral and written presentations.


For Students

What is Debate from International Debate Association

Debate Formats

Debate directions
See document at bottom of blog

For Teacher

DC Urban Debate League

Hunt, Isaac Cosby. “May Madness! A Classroom Competition Merges Historical Research with Public Debate”. Social Education, Volume 70, Number 5 (September 2006). p. 304-311. Note: Judges’ scoring sheet comes from page 311 of the article.

Set Induction

Remind students that May Madness will start in two days.
Ask students if they have questions about the research they are doing and remind them that the annotated bibliography will be due at the start of May Madness.
Note that most of our work has focused on doing the research for the debate. Note that the next two days will focus on the debate process itself. Will start the lesson by asking the students what a debate is?

Lesson Content/Skills/Teaching & Learning Strategies (Procedures)

2 minutes

Students will be asked to define what a debate is. We will then begin discussion on the May Madness debates.

5 minutes

Students will be given the rules and the procedures to be used in the May Madness debate. Also hand out judges sheets and note the importance of the judges in the process. Make sure students know that these are the same sheets judges will use to rate them when watching them debate.

Next state that teacher and a guest are going to model a sample debate and that the students are to rate the debate using the judges’ form. While watching the debate they should come up with questions to ask each debater at the end of the debate. Introduce guest and guest referee for the debate.

20 minutes

Mock debate between teacher and guest modeling the May Madness format.

10 minutes

Students question debaters about their topics.

10 minutes

Students will identify strengths and weaknesses of the debaters. Students will note any rules infractions they saw and any positive or negative things they saw during the debate. Teacher will also note thing s/he saw that the students missed and will also ask guided questions to help students locate other issues they may have missed while watching the debate.

3 minutes

Give students homework assignment to write an essay indicating who they think won the debate and why using the information provided during class on proper debating skills. Students will also be asked to write about what skills are needed to be an effective debater and how they think these skills can be used outside of the classroom.

Essential Questions

What is a debate? (Students should be able define what a debate is.)
What do debate participants need to do during a debate to insure success and victory when participating in a debate? (Students should be able to identify why skills and activities are needed to insure success when participating in a debate.)


Some information will be gathered from the writing assignment given in class where the students write about who won the debate based on the information on debating and the information on the rules of May Madness given in class.

Much more information for assessment will be gathered from watching the students debate and how they follow the rules during the debate process.

March Madness Debate Directions

1. Each student will be given two minutes for an opening statement, five minutes to present information about the person they are debating about and then two minutes for closing.
2. After the presentation of information, the opposing debater will be given three minutes to cross examine the other person.
3. After the opponent has provided information about their person the judging panel will be given the opportunity to question each person about the person they discussed during the debate. Once the judges have completed the question and answer period they will rate the participants using the form found on the next page (note this is the form found on page 311 of Cosby Hunt’s article about May Madness).
4. The judges’ decision is final.
5. In case of ties the person who has compiled the most complete annotated bibliography will be given the victory.
6. Participants are not allowed to interrupt each other during the debate.
7. Participants are not allowed to demean or insult the opponent or the person the opponent is debating about.
8. Those watching the debate should be silent and should not hold side conversations with friends or do anything to distract the debaters.
9. Continued rule infractions will lead to point deductions.

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