The Debate Game is an in-class exercise that helps students learn, write, and make critical decisions through collaborative discussion and debate, and uses each element of CERCA: claim, evidence, reasoning, counterargument, and audience. Students organize into teams, consisting of one to four speakers each, and represent a position on a particular topic. The team works together to develop their argument and they later develop a rebuttal to the opposing team. The goal is for each team to present the most convincing argument to the class. After the debate, the entire class can vote on which team had the most compelling position. Research tell us that this type of peer-to-peer discussion is essential to improving reading skills (see results below). Download everything you need to jumpstart this exercise in your classroom.
You can also assign the student presentation as a Minilesson with automated assessments. Assign the Minilesson >>
NAEP offers insights about the impact of discussion on student outcomes. The data shows that peer-to-peer discussion is a key factor in reading improvement. For example, students who reported that they more frequently discussed interpretations of what they read scored higher on the 2013 NAEP test as seen in the chart below.