Westwood High School Debate Club leaders shared their knowledge Jan. 20 and led a lesson on debate preparation for Canyon Creek Elementary School fifth-grade classes.
Canyon Creek fifth-grade classes started preparing to participate in a debate as part of a Project Based Learning (PBL) initiative that included environmental science and persuasive writing. While the students had experience completing opening statements, Westwood students helped teach and formulate rebuttals and closing statements for the debate.
“It ended up being a mini-debate because we felt like they really needed to see what was happening,” Westwood senior Anjali Venkatesh said. “Their questions were so good and they seemed to understand and want more. We were creating examples and I think that helped them formulate an argument.”
Anjali and her debate team member, Katherine Alexander, worked with a total of 62 students for the debate lesson. With a simple cats vs. dogs argument, the students practiced the components of debate while having the Westwood students to help guide them.
“They made a very elementary version of debate for people who like cats and dogs,” said Rebecca Mitchell, Canyon Creek fifth-grade teacher. “It was accessible for our younger kids so they could then apply it to higher level thinking skills about a town actually choosing an energy source for itself and making a choice by weighing the issues.”
After learning more about debates from Anjali and Katherine, the Canyon Creek students will complete their arguments on Jan. 30. Students will debate to convince a mock city council to use their form of renewable energy.
“We knew first-hand that the Westwood kids could explain and answer our questions,” said Ben Bryant, Canyon Creek fifth-grade student. “They made it pretty simplistic.”