Junior Scholastic Teaching Kits

Teacher-approved stories, resources, and worksheets, courtesy of Junior Scholastic, the middle school Social Studies classroom magazine.

Featured Teaching Kits

Teacher-approved stories, resources, and worksheets for teaching students how to evaluate both sides of a debate and craft the perfect argument essay, courtesy of Junior Scholastic, the middle school Social Studies classroom magazine

The School Lunch Debate

Lunch requirements have been a heated topic in American schools for years. And recent moves by the government have stirred up this debate once again. Why are people fighting over lunch? And how will this fight affect what's on your plate?

Read the Story
Pick a Side
Write an essay on the new school lunch requirements.
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Know the News
Answer multiple-choice questions about the article.
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Lesson Plan
A step-by-step guide to teaching this article in your classroom
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Are Pro Athletes Overpaid?

The average schoolteacher makes $56,000 in a year. The average NBA player makes $7.1 million. Do you think that's fair? Read this debate and pick a side.

Read the Debate
What's Your Opinion?
Evaluate the arguments and decide which side is more convincing.
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Words to Know
Read definitions and example sentences for vocabulary words.
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Lesson Plan
A step-by-step guide to teaching this article in your classroom
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Should We Try to Send Humans to Mars?

Some people say exploring Mars will help us learn more about Earth. Others say it’s a huge waste of time and money. What do you think?

Read the Debate
Analyzing Authors' Claims
Which author makes the stronger case?
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Lesson Plan
A step-by-step guide to teaching this article in your classroom
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Should Your Parents Track Your Location?

Tracking apps, such as Life360 and TeenSafe, let parents follow their kids’ move­ments in real time. Supporters say the apps help keep kids safe. But are they an invasion of their privacy?

Analyzing Authors' Claims
Which author makes the stronger case?
Get Worksheet
Analyzing Authors' Claims
Which author makes the stronger case?
Get Worksheet
Words to Know
Read definitions and example sentences for vocabulary words.
Get Worksheet
Words to Know
Read definitions and example sentences for vocabulary words.
Get Worksheet
Lesson Plan
A step-by-step guide to teaching this article in your classroom
Get Lesson Plan
Lesson Plan
A step-by-step guide to teaching this article in your classroom
Get Lesson Plan

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Quotes
 

Famous quotes about debating throughout history

“Don't raise your voice, improve your argument.”

— Desmond Tutu, a human rights activist from South Africa

“In all debates, let truth be thy aim, not victory, or an unjust interest.”

— William Penn, founder of the American colony that became the state of Pennsylvania

“It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it.”

— Joseph Joubert, a French writer who died in 1824

“I love argument. I love debate. I don't expect anyone just to sit there and agree with me. That's not their job.”

— Margaret Thatcher, first female prime minister of the United Kingdom

Key Figures
 

Four famous debaters who made an impact

Mohandas Gandhi

Indian independence leader Mohandas Gandhi is considered one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century. He often debated his fellow revolutionaries on politics, religion, culture, and the best way to achieve independence from Great Britain. Gandhi’s public-speaking skills eventually inspired thousands of people in India to join his nonviolent quest to protest British rule of their country.

Abraham Lincoln

The 16th U.S. president is widely considered one of the best public speakers—and debaters—in history. During a July 1858 debate against Stephen Douglas for a U.S. Senate seat, Lincoln uttered this famous phrase: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Nelson Mandela

The anti-apartheid leader and 1993 Nobel Peace Prize winner used his skills at debating, public speaking, and speech writing to challenge—and change—South Africa’s system of oppression. As the president of South Africa, Mandela often encouraged debate as essential to the democratic process.

Margaret Thatcher

The first female prime minister of the United Kingdom was widely respected for her eloquent speeches and debating skills. In fact, experts say Thatcher’s speeches helped fuel her rise to power at a time when many women lacked prominent roles in politics. Thatcher’s 1976 speech “Britain Awake” helped make the case for strengthening the nation’s defenses during the Cold War and earned her the nickname the “Iron Lady.”

Glossary

Terms and definitions that pertain to debating

ad hominem attack

noun

an attack on a person rather than on his or her argument

argument

noun

a position or viewpoint along with the claims and evidence used to support that position

claim

noun

a statement that supports a position

counterargument

noun

a rebuttal, or argument against, an opposing viewpoint or claim

evidence

noun

facts, statistics, examples, and comparisons that show why a claim should be believed

refute

verb

to prove that a statement, position, or claim is wrong or false

Explore Other Topics

Discover other free social studies topics and middle school teaching resources.

Giacomo Gambineri (illustration); Aaron Dyer; food styling: Jessie Damuck (Food Fight); Photo Illustration by Vanessa Irena for Scholastic; Stacy Revere/Getty Images (Aaron Rodgers); Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images (Mike Trout); Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images (Stephen Curry); NASA (Mars Base); Hero Images/Getty Images (Teens); 123design/Shutterstock.com (Tags); Elliott & Fry/Getty Images (Gandhi); Everett Historical/Shutterstock.com (Lincoln); Susan Winters Cook/Getty Images (Mandela); Bettmann/Getty Images (Thatcher)