Debate/Scavenger Hunt: A Guide to Argument Writing

Scope's Debate/Scavenger Hunt provides a fun and engaging way for students to read and evaluate two texts with opposing points of view. Students will practice analyzing two sides of an argument, complete a text-marking activity, participate in a lively classroom debate, and then use our Essay Kit to write their own argument essays.


Use the following as a model for how to use any Scope Debate/Scavenger Hunt in your classroom.


What you’ll need:


Learning objectives:
to read and evaluate two argument essays, to develop a working vocabulary for discussing arguments, to participate in a class debate, to write an argument essay

Key skills:
analyzing and comparing arguments, identifying central ideas and supporting details, tone, editing, revision

two class periods



1. Prepare to Read
Give students a few minutes to preview the text features in the article: the headlines and illustrations or photos. Ask students what they think the article is going to be about.



2. Read and Text Mark

  • Read both texts once through as a class.
  • Ask: “No matter what you personally think about this issue, which author do you think makes the better argument?” Take a poll and tally the results on the board.
  • Project the first text. Complete the Scavenger Hunt, modeling text marking on your whiteboard while students mark their magazines. Or, print and distribute the Scavenger Hunt: Analyzing Arguments activity to help students develop their arguments.
  • Have students complete the Scavenger Hunt for the second text in small groups.



3. Discuss
As a class, discuss the question at the end of the Scavenger Hunt: Who makes the stronger argument? Then ask:

  1. What do the authors agree about? What do they disagree about?
  2. How do the images support each author’s argument?
  3. What is each author’s tone? Explain your answer.


4. Debate

  • Divide students into groups according to which author they think makes the best argument. Have the groups stand on opposite sides of the room.
  • Students should then debate: One student offers a reason (support) for his or her opinion; a student from the other group responds.
  • Students should quietly switch sides if at any point during the debate they change their minds; be sure to ask any student who does this why he or she did so.
  • At the end of the debate, compare the number of students who support each author with the number who supported each author before the debate.


5. Write




For struggling readers: Ask students to write one paragraph in which they state which of the two authors they agree with more and why.

For advanced readers: Have students find another text whose author argues either for or against the issue at hand. Have students compare that text with the one in Scope. Which author does a better job of supporting his or her argument? Why?


Download a PDF of this lesson plan here


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