• Peter Lawrence

Day Six - Sports, Ethics, and Research

Welcome to the second week of the Lexington Debate Institute! This blog is still describing the general experiences of students at the camp, but it is important to note that the labs are beginning to diverge in activities, as different groups are working at varied paces and we are adjusting activities accordingly. This is all right; the work we do in labs with a faster pace covers interesting supplementary concepts, but these concepts are not essential to the core skills of debate. If there are any specific questions about what your child learned each day, please feel free to email us at and we'll be happy to refer you to their specific instructors.

This morning, we began the day with an exploration of interscholastic sports. Our second mini-topic, this debate covered the pros and cons of school sports in K-12 public education. We discussed the trade-offs of a school budget, the physical and emotional health benefits, and the dangers of competition, overcommitment, and injuries. After mini-debates on this topic, we went over the argument structure components that we introduced last week. We then went further in depth in the eldest lab by synthesizing the stock issues with argument maps by locating the former on the latter in a visual map. This was a little complicated and some students had difficulty understanding our discussion. This is an advanced concept that isn't necessary for students to learn, but rather an additional strategy to help students visualize arguments.

Lunch was as enjoyable as ever: though skies were gray, we didn't have any rain, and the lower temperature made our break even more comfortable. Students still had time to play soccer, frisbee, and enjoy downtime with friends.

Coming back from lunch, students generally dove into research. In the elder lab, we watched some videos explaining the situation in Syria regarding ISIS that I found particularly enlightening, albeit complex. We were able to take the time to pause in various places to give everyone a chance to catch up. If you're interested in viewing them yourself, I've left the links below. Fair warning, they add up to about twenty minutes altogether. In other labs, students practiced speaking drills and engaged in further research. We were able to do live research in the elder lab on the big screen, so students could watch instructors research in action. Attached are the pieces of evidence they helped me create from the articles we found, located in the google doc with the link below. Again, if you have any questions let me know. We'll be doing a similar live research discussion in the other labs tomorrow.

We finished up the day with a discussion on ethics, mulling over different ethical frameworks such as deontology and utilitarianism. With interesting hypotheticals such as the trolley problem, we were able to engage students on these difficult concepts.

Links to Videos on the Middle East:

On the Syrian Civil War:

On the Rise and Fall of ISIS:

On the Transition of ISIS from an Organization to an Idea:

Live Research Evidence:

#sports #minidebates #theresolution #research #ethics


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