It’s up for debate


Alisha Donovan (12) defends her side of the debate as her teammates listen. The debate was organized so the students had to research the topic before they were able to give an opinion.

Hannah Reed

In Mrs. Jennifer Havens-Rodriguez’s, Social Studies, government classes, students are getting the opportunity to see what it’s like to debate with one another.

“The main purpose is to get [the students] thinking about the issues, to see they’re not just black and white, to do some research in the process, kind of understand where the two sides are coming from and hopefully try to respect the other sides opinion and where they’re coming from,” Mrs. Havens-Rodriguez said.

The government class debates started about five years ago for the classes, and the subjects are not always controversial. Mrs. Havens-Rodriguez hands out a quiz to the class to determine the subject of each debate.

“There’s a quiz that [the students] take that has 12 different topics on it, and then they have to rank what they find to be the most important. Then I go through, depending on the size of the class, and pick anywhere from five to seven of them. It’s based on their interest,” Mrs. Havens-Rodriguez said.

The students who participate in the debates become very involved. The room splits into two, each side getting multiple leaders and teams. From there, a few students will research the topic, a few will make a visual aide, and a few will debate.The debates give students a chance to see both sides of an argument and prepare for any type of debate in the future.

“I think [the debates] help open each other’s eyes to the other side of things and allows us to think more deeply about topics that we need to know about in order to be a functioning adult, and it helps our speech skills,” Rachel Jensen (12) said.