The Great Playwright Debate

Lesson 4: The Great Playwright Debate


Learning Objective:

Students will demonstrate their ability to connect with their playwright by creating a top 3 reasons why their playwright is the Great American Playwright.



Presidential Debate Video Clip



Play “Debate Highlights Songified!”


Step 1: Ask students what they saw? What is a debate? Why do we have debates? What makes a good debate? Does someone win? How do we know who won?


Step 2: Ask students what people do in preparation for debates? Tell students that they will have the opportunity to walk around the room and interview other students and get interviewed so that they can brainstorm and practice answering as their playwright in preparation for the debates. Allow students to walk around the classroom and interview each other as if they were the playwright.


Step 3: What are the expectations for a debate? Should we have rules for the debate? For the speakers? For the audience? Write these on the board. What should happen if they don’t follow the rules? Can we all agree to the rules? If not, why not? Fix the rules until everyone agrees. 


Step 4: Have students get into small groups based on their playwright. Have two groups come to the front in preparation to debate. Tell them that they have 7 minutes up here and that they are able to converse with each other before talking to the class. Set the timer and begin asking questions. Students are allowed to pass questions but their opponent will still be able to answer. After 7 minutes is up have different groups come up and face off. You can continue until everyone has gone or till each group has gone up a couple times. This step can be lengthened or shortened depending on time limits.


Questions for students’ debate: What contribution has your playwright given America? What makes your playwright better than your opponent? How does your playwright represent America? What can your playwright do for us? What does your playwright have to teach us? How can we relate to your playwright? Why should we care about your playwright? Has your playwright ever helped out the American People? If so, how? Why should we vote for your playwright as the Greatest American Playwright? Is there anything that your playwright would like us to know?


Step 5: Ask students if there was a winner to the debate? Do we all have to think that same person won? Can we have differing opinions? Do debates dictate the winner of the election? If a candidate wins the debate, do they automatically win the election? What/How can we learn from this?


Step 6: Have students write their top three reasons why their playwright is the Greatest American Playwright and turn it in.


Conclusion: Ask students how they can apply what they learned to their presentation. Remind students that within their presentation they will claim that their playwright it the greatest and they will need to have reasons to back it up. Ask students if anyone wants to go tomorrow, assign random order for presenting over the next two days.