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  • Peter Lawrence

Day Three - Topic Introduction and Debates



Today we introduced the camp topic; “Resolved: The benefits of the Internet of Things outweigh the harms to personal privacy”. We chose this topic because of the ever-growing role that technology plays in people's lives, especially the students, and the accessibility of the topic area even for the younger campers. After introducing the topic, we held group discussions about areas of interest, strategies for this particular topic, and an overview of general background information. With this brainstorm in mind, we went right into Tag Team debates. With no time to prepare, students had to come up with responses to their opponents' arguments and as something new to the conversation! We then had a conversation about what makes a good source. We emphasized author qualifications, the inclusion of warrants, etcetera. We hope that the students incorporate this into their research on the topic as camp continues. Finally, before lunch, we established partnerships for the tournament at the end of week two. The goal is that these groups will work together with leading up to the competition as they write their cases and do other research. After this, we broke for lunch.


After coming back from lunch, we dove into a detailed explanation of the style of debate the tournament will be held in. We teach students Public Forum debate, which emphasizes not only research skills but also rhetoric and public speaking style. Public Forum consists of eight speeches - two preprepared, and six semi-prepared. Speech times range from four minutes to two minutes, and there are three opportunities for questions, known as cross-fires, throughout the debate. After this overview, we gave students time to write cases and do research on the topic. Then we had our first full debate for more experienced campers and an abbreviated debate for less experienced students. After the debates, we debriefed how they went and talked about how to improve for future debates.

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