So I gave my first "official" test last week. The students did fairly well, especially the ones who studied. There was also an extra credit question at the end of the test to help them out. The question was: "Which is better, Ninjas or Pirates? Support your answer." I've never seen 9th graders willingly write as much as they did. I got full page responses on the merits of both ninjas ans pirates. Any debate coach really should use this topic. I was impressed with the responses that I got and it led to a discussion on forming your own opinions and I even was able to sneak in a little soap-box on being an informed voter. We talked about listening to both sides of an argument and forming an opinion while still respecting the other sides views. Here are a few of the responses that got this discussion started:
One girl arguing for ninjas said,"Ninjas get to wear awesome black outfits that look good, while pirates look like they shopped a terrible thrift store."
Another girl arguing for pirates said, "Pirates get to wear colorful beautiful clothes while ninjas wear boring, drab, black."
One girl arguing for ninjas said,"Ninjas can kill you with their bare hands."
A boy who chose pirates said,"Pirates have guns and can shoot ninjas before they are close enough to use their bare hands."
One boy who liked ninjas said,"Ninjas train for years and are very skilled."
Another boy who liked pirates said, "Pirates don't have to work so hard, they just find treasure, drink rum and float in their boats."
So as you can see, there is no right or wrong answer. But I really was surprised that nearly all the arguments were the same argument just opposite sides of the opinion.
And since I know you are dying to know. Ninjas won in one class and pirates in the other. But over all Pirates took the lead.