Classroom worksheets

Put the debate methodology into practice

Debaticons - All worksheets preview

This collection of 8 worksheets will help your students to get familiar with the skills described in chapter VI of the book. Below each worksheet, you will find a short description of how the worksheet could be used, what the goal of the exercise is and where in the book you can find a more detailed explanation of the theory used.

Worksheet #1

The structure of an argument

Debaticons - Worksheet 1 preview

In the second part of chapter VI (pages 173-185), we discuss the different elements that a well-developed argument consists of. This worksheet is meant to help students practice the elements mentioned in the book. The goal of this worksheet is to make sure that students understand the meaning of the terms: statement , analysis, illustration, impact and relevance

There are two ways to use this worksheet. The first way is to leave the boxes on the left empty. Then on the right, in a random order, fill in the different elements of the argument you want your students to think about. Students can then use the stamps to indicate which box on the left corresponds with which element of the argument on the right. If you’re not able to use the stamps you can use the sheet where the icons are already inserted into the boxes on the left. The only thing you would need to do is fill the different elements of an argument on the right (in random order!). Students can then simply draw a line to link the icon on the left to the corresponding box on the right. Examples of both scenarios can be found in the worksheet.

Worksheet #2

Practicing analysis

Debaticons - Worksheet 2 preview

In part 2.3 of chapter VI, we zoom in on the concept of analysis. On pages 175-176 you can find an explanation of what analysis means within the context of a debate as well as its relevancy.

This worksheet is quite straightforward. Since the goal of analysis is to connect two dots, the sheet is meant to help students find out how they can explain why a motion will get us from a generally accepted premise to a desired outcome. As an educator you can help out by 1) picking a motion, 2) filling in the statement and 3) filling in the impact (the desired outcome). For a further explanation of what the term “impact” means you can take a look at pages 180-183.

Worksheet #3

How to construct an argument using assumptions

Debaticons - Worksheet 3 preview

This third worksheet builds on worksheet #1. It is meant for students who already understand the basics of developing arguments and can be challenged to do something extra. This worksheet is based on the concepts discussed in part 2.4 of chapter VI (pages 176-178).  The goal is to help students construct a well-developed argument.

Worksheet #4

Practicing refutation

Debaticons - Worksheet 4 preview

This worksheet is meant to practice the skills discussed in the third part of chapter VI (engagement), and more specifically part 3.5 (pages 193-194). 

You can easily combine this worksheet with worksheet #3 (how to construct an argument using assumptions). You divide students into groups and give all groups a different topic. After some preparation time, they can give a speech where they present the argument they constructed with the help of worksheet #3. While listening to arguments produced by the other groups, students could use worksheet #4 to closely listen to and refute the arguments made by the other groups. You can also use this sheet as a standalone exercise. In that case, you could present an argument yourself or have students respond to an argument they had to read about.

Worksheet #5

Identifying the clashes of the debate

Debaticons - Worksheet 5 preview

Formulating clashes is a great way to get a structured overview of how different arguments interacted with each other in a debate. This overview could be useful when preparing a debate or when evaluating a debate. An explanation on what clashes are and how you can formulate them can be found on pages 169-171.

This worksheet consists of two steps. The first step is for students to write down the arguments that they expect to be brought forward (when using clashes to prepare a debate) or were brought forward (when using this to evaluate a debate). Afterwards, students can categorize the arguments into clashes. With step two, the little boxes on the top left corner can be used to indicate whether a clash could considered a principled or a practical clash .

Worksheet #6

How to judge a debate

Debaticons - Worksheet 6 preview

This worksheet is meant to help students judge a debate. Since not all students might be able to participate as speakers in a debate, it is important to make sure that the ones “observing” the round also get clear instructions on what is expected from them. If this doesn’t happen students often struggle to find out what they need to focus on while watching the debate. This worksheet can be filled in during the debate. It should help students to follow what is happening and to classify what it is a speaker is saying. While listening they will ask themselves: “Should I write this down as refutation, rebuilding or as a new argument?” Having to make an active decision about such questions helps them to listen actively to the debate that is taking place.

Worksheet #7

How to give a First Proposition speech

Debaticons - Worksheet 7 preview

The First Proposition speech is one of the most imortant speeches in the debate. The First Proposition speaker sets the parameters for the round and presents most of the constructive material of the Proposition team. This worksheet is especially useful for students who are new to debating. The worksheet makes sure that speeches are easy to follow and that they contain all elements necessary for a clear and fair debate.

Worksheet #8

How to give a First Opposition speech

Debaticons - Worksheet 8 preview

Just like the First Proposition speech, the First Opposition speech is key when it comes to setting up the debate. It’s important to, from the start, show what the main disagreements in the debate are. One of the ways the First Opposition speaker does this is by refuting the points made by the First Proposition speaker. Additionally, the First Opposition speaker is expected to present the constructive case on behalf of the Opposition team.