Grade levels: 9-12

Lesson Objective: The Learner Will Be Able To
  1. Take part in a planned debate which pits development against research.
  2. Research an issue to create intelligent arguments.
  3. Appropriately refute opponents’ arguments.


  • The research they have conducted in this unit.
  • Areas to prepare as teams.

Lesson Process:

1. Provide the class with the following scenario:
A company wants to develop an area to extract oil and gas. A research team feels that this area contains a very important glacial record, and needs to be fully explored. The government officials are trying to decide what can be done within the legal confines of preserved areas. The class will be divided into three teams: the research team, the company representatives, and the government officials. You will have twenty minutes to prepare a description of the important points on your side of the issue, and to predict what kinds of points will be raised by the opponents. At the end of 20 minutes, we will reconvene to discuss and debate the issue.

2. Explain the basic rules of debate: the right to refute a point at the appropriate time, appropriate listening and reacting, language use, professional behaviour, etc.

3. The teacher is the mediator of the debate. You must recognize a speaker before he or she speaks, maintain the rules, and confirm the ultimate decision made by the group. Give marks for strong points, withdraw marks for unprofessional behaviour.