Grade 7 Students Explore Role of U.S. Government in Extended Debate Unit

St. Margaret’s grade 7 students honed research, reading, writing, analytical, communication and public-speaking skills in an extended debate unit that culminated last week with the presentation of research-backed arguments on the government’s role in the health of its citizens.
 
The resolution was: “The U.S. government should take steps to improve the overall health of American citizens by reducing junk food consumption.” Students accessed, evaluated and notated several reliable sources, synthesized the information into outlines arguing both sides of the resolution, and then teamed up with classmates to debate the issue using evidence they found through research.
 
The students debated in their classes in front of a panel of three judges evaluating their research and arguments.
 
“This unit helps students acquire research skills from source literacy and evaluation, note-taking methods and critical thinking, which is then applied toward evidence-supported arguments that are presented in front of their peers,” said grade 7 English teacher Christie McMahon. “With this particular resolution, students had to think critically about an important issue affecting Americans and what kind of role government has or should have in addressing it.
 
“The students did a great job. They researched diligently, unearthed relevant data and presented it in a compelling way that supported their stance.”
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An independent preschool through grade 12 college-preparatory day school in Orange County, California