Debating Responsibility

6, 7, 8

Learners use respectful language to debate in a scenario that doesn't have a clear right and wrong choice. They try to persuade the group about what is the responsible thing to do. 

PrintOne 20-minute lesson

The learner will:

  • use debate strategy to make arguments for or against behaviors to identify what is most responsible.
  • copies of the handout Debate Scenarios


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Give the learners copies of the debate scenarios to read quietly. After several minutes, ask them whether there are clear right and wrong ways to act in these situations. Tell them they are going to debate the most responsible way to act in each of these scenarios.


  2. The purpose of debate is to see both sides of a situation. 

    • There are three groups - one scenario each. They meet first to read their scenario and decide how to split the scenario group into pro and con groups and decide which side each group is going to debate.
    • Working with their smaller group, they develop arguments to support their position.
    • Debate: Pro presents first; Con presents second.
    • Questions: Pro asks clarifying questions to understand position of Con; Con asks clarifying questions of Pro.
    • Summary: Pro presents main points of Pro argument; Con presents main points of Con argument.
  3. Rules for debate:

    • 1. Speakers should speak directly to the question posed within the situation.
    • 2. Presenters must remain calm.
    • 3. At all times, debaters show respect for each other and their right to have a different opinion.
  4. While the three groups are debating, someone keeps track of time.

    • Scenario groups have 4 minutes to determine what sides they are taking.
    • They all have 5 minutes to prepare their arguments about the responsible action to take.
    • Pro side has 4 minutes to present. Con side has 4 minutes to present.
    • Pro side has 2 minutes to ask clarifying questions. Con side has 2 minutes to ask clarifying questions.
    • Pro side has 1 minute to state their conclusion. Con side has 1 minute to state their conclusion.
  5. Reflect with the learners on what is the most responsible action to take in the scenario for the good of all.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Give examples of how individuals have helped others.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Describe the characteristics of someone who helps others.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Define and give examples of the motivations for giving and serving.