What's at Stake in a Presidential Debate?

Grade Range: 6-12
Resource Type(s): Lessons & Activities
Duration: 120 minutes
Date Posted: 10/21/2020

Debates are one of the most anticipated events in the lead up to a presidential election. Each candidate carefully plans their strategies to persuade the American public that they are the one to vote for in November. In this learning resource, learners will examine historical examples of presidential debates to analyze the purpose and structures of debates and whether they think presidential debates are effective. You will also customize your own viewing scorecard for watching modern presidential debates.

Learning is centered on the driving question, "What's at stake in a presidential debate?" The following supporting questions are included to guide your inquiry.

What is a debate?
What is the purpose of a presidential debate?
What strategies do presidential candidates use to pursue their debate goals?
Are presidential debates effective?

National Standards

Common Core State Standards (Grades K-12)

College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards (Grades 9-12)

Instructional Strategies