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Start Here: Teaching High School Congressional Debate

Start-Here: Teaching High School Congressional Debate
Start-Here: Teaching Congressional Debate

Congressional Debate is a simulation of the U.S. Congress. In this event, students generate a series of bills and resolutions for debate in advance and alternate delivering speeches for and against the topic in a group setting.

Students are assessed on their research, argumentation, and delivery skills, as well as their knowledge and use of parliamentary procedure.

Students form opinions on current events and learn about the U.S. legislative process in the Senate and the House.

Students Will Be Able To:

  • Write a persuasive speech that features complete arguments with a claim, data, warrant, and impact. 
  • Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning. 
  • Find, cut, cite, and organize evidence that supports their claims. 
  • Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, identifying any fallacious reasoning or exaggerated or distorted evidence. 
  • Listen effectively and respond to attacks against their arguments with limited prep using logic and/or evidence. 
  • Model the legislative process using knowledge of the scope of the branch’s powers.
  • Complete a full Congressional Debate round. 


LESSON 1: Intro to Congressional Debate 1
LESSON 2: Writing Winning Legislation 4
Legislation Analysis 12
LESSON 3: Researching the Docket 13
LESSON 4: Writing Effective Speeches 18
LESSON 5: Moving the Debate Forward 24
LESSON 6: Crafting Strategic Questions 27
LESSON 7: Preparing for the Session 33
Congressional Debate Crossword Puzzle 37
KEY- Congressional Debate Crossword Puzzle 38
LESSON 8: Classroom Debate 39

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