4 Ways to Turn Debates into Learning Opportunities

Political debate season is heating up. So how do educators turn the debates into learning opportunities? Here are some ideas about engaging your students with VoiceThread:

Idea #1

Analyze the debates to build enthusiasm for global issues. Each political debate centers around issues like economics, poverty, immigration or climate change. If your students watch the debates, they can practice their communication skills and critical thinking by researching and presenting their own ideas about these topics. Politics can be a gateway for learning about science, math, community service and more. Here’s how that might look:


Idea #2

Teachers across the globe work with their students to write persuasive essays, present ideas and create evidence-based arguments. If you have ever worked on these skills, ask your students to debate topics that matter to them. Here’s a student debate via VoiceThread:


Idea #3

Your students may not vote in the 2016 election, but they will vote for the rest of their lives. Have they thought about why they will vote for one candidate over another? Let students express their feelings about which candidates they support and why. Here’s a VoiceThread about role models that you can watch to get some ideas:


Idea #4

Creating political ads for candidates from the past can be a great way to bring history to life. Students can choose 19th century candidates, research the issues surrounding their rise to power and gain perspective on the stories that impact us today. They can upload images, original documents, create and upload videos and more. Here’s an example of a political ad for John Quincy Adams in the 1828 election:


If you have designed a lesson like this using other tools, try it on a VoiceThread this year and hear the difference your students’ voices make. Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.