Lesson Plan


How do the presidential debates of 2016 compare to the debates from the 1980's? What about the 1960's? Evaluate a chosen candidate or issue from the 20th and 21st centuries with a lesson plan focused on political debates. Middle and high schoolers use discussion guides and questions to analyze debates and the ways that candidates represent their stances, their constituents, and themselves.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas
  • Assign different debates to small groups to analyze and share with the rest of the class
  • Show clips of various debates addressing the same topics, such as jobs, energy, or foreign policy, over the years
  • Incorporate into a unit on debate techniques, historical elections, or American politics
  • Use during an election season or as a reflection of a previous election
Classroom Considerations
  • Evaluation guide is a Google doc, and requires access to the Internet before downloading onto your computer
  • Provides links to all televised presidential and vice presidential debates since 1960, including debates from 2016
  • Extension activity links the cause (debate) to the effect (election results), and extension questions delve deeper into campaign strategy and motivation
  • Includes a graphic organizer and a set of discussion questions to guide learners through the assignment
  • None