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  • Peter Lawrence

Day One at the Lexington Debate Institute



Hi all - we had a great first day and we hope your children have been having fun!

We began the day with introductions of the staff and general camp rules. After this, we broke up into the Labs, groups based on age and experience, and continued with the introductions and icebreakers. When the introductions were over, we dove right into debate! We started by outlining the three main parts of an argument: the claim, warrant, and impact. A claim is a debatable argument, the warrant is the reason why the claim is valid, and the impact is why the claim matters. Using these new topics, we had students practice writing and creating arguments in a game called argument telephone. Similar to telephone, students had to write claims, warrants, and impacts based solely on the ones written by the person before them.

Before lunch, we took the time to introduce and practice flowing. Flowing is the debate specific note-taking process that allows debaters to organize and conceptualize arguments during debates. To exercise their skills, we had students flow songs with an emphasis on writing down every lyric. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious was a challenge! We then took a break for lunch outside.

After lunch, we dove right back into debate. First, we went over rhetoric and creating the foundations of an argument using ethos, pathos, and logos. Then, we discussed the value of style and judge adaptation. A debater’s word choice, speaking pattern, and selection of arguments can either help or hurt them during a debate, so we emphasized the most strategic options. Using these new skills, the students "sold" products to their classmates. Their goal was to entice as many investors as possible with their sales pitch. We finished the day with the cross-examination challenge. Cross-examination is a time during the debate when debaters have a chance to poke holes in your arguments or ask clarifying questions. In the challenge, students had to defend their arguments against an onslaught of questions from their classmates. We are excited about tomorrow and the rest of the week!


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