Lynn Ann Wiscount, Erin Halovanic, Vince Mariner
Applied Science, Arts and Humanities, Business and Communication, Career and Technical Education, Education, English Language Arts, History, Law, Life Science, Mathematics, Physical Science, Social Science
Material Type:
Lesson, Lesson Plan, Teaching/Learning Strategy
Middle School, High School
6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
  • POWER Library
  • Powerlibrary
    Creative Commons Attribution
    Media Formats:

    Education Standards

    Pros and Cons

    Pros and Cons


    Students will formulate pro or con arguments on an important topic by using the Power Library resources.  Students will present a written summary of their arguments and identify which side of the argument they are learning toward.  The Philosophical Chairs strategy will then be used to debate the issue.  Once the debate has concluded, students will reflect on how their viewpoint was strengthened, weakened, or changed altogether.


    Lesson Objectives

    Students will be able to:

    • Define pros and cons
    • Research the advantages and disadvantages of a topic / issue.
    • Debate using arguments their stance on an issue / topic.

    Warm Up / Introduction

    Instructor Notes:

    If the group is having difficulty coming up with topics, a suggested list of conversation starters are below:

    • Alternative Engery vs. Fossil Fuels
    • Animal Testing
    • Banned Books
    • Body Cameras for Police
    • Cell Phone Radiation
    • Climate Change
    • Coronavirus
    • Datlight Saving Time
    • Drinking Age
    • Economy / Jobs
    • Elections
    • Free College
    • Free Speech
    • Gun Control
    • Healthcare
    • Homework
    • Illegal Immigration
    • Is Milk Healty?
    • Media Bias
    • Medical Marijuana
    • Minimum Wage
    • Obesity
    • School Uniforms
    • School Vouchers
    • Standardized Tests
    • Student Loan Debt
    • Tablets vs. Textbooks
    • Taxes
    • Vaccines for Kids
    • Vaping E-Cigarettes
    • Vegetarianism

    Pros and cons are persuasive arguments where you research both sides of a debatable issue or topic.  There must be a balanced structure between both sides so you can formulate your own opinion and analysis on the issue/topic.  In order to be fair, you will need to describe advantages and disadvantes with clear, specific research and then be able to summarize where you stand on the issue / topic.

    Pros / Con issues are normally controversial.  Think about issues you face or hear about daily.


    Activity Directions:

    • Watch the video in the Resource Library to learn about the pros and cons.
    • Discuss as a group current issues and topics that you have been reading and hearing about.  
    • Using the topics that were discussed, decide as a group which one will be the best to research.  Additional topics may be given to you from your instructor.


      Research / Explore Activity

      Activity Directions:

      • Using the topic that was decided on by the whole class, research the topic recording the pros and cons on the Pro/Con Graphic Organizer. Make sure you also cite all sources properly.
      • Once you have completed your research, summarize the topic and where you stand on the issue.
      • Your research will be assessed using the Research Project Rubric.


        Reinforcement / Creation Activity

        Instructor Notes:

        The Philosophical Chairs strategy is a simple debate in which students select sides and physically move to the space in the classroom that has been designated as pro or con.  The students will then debate from their physical positions while being given the flexiblity to change sides.

        Remember to remind students that they should be polite when debating.

        To encourage a wide range of speakers, speaking limits may be initiated.

        BEFORE the activity, instructors should remind students of the rules.

        • Actively listen to the person who is speaking.
        • Wait for the facilitator to recognize you before you speak.
        • Only one person should speak at a time.
        • Seek to understand the opposing speaker's point of view, even if it is not your own.
        • Briefly summarize the previous speaker's argument before you make your response.
        • Contribute your own thoughts whenever possible.
        • Respond to statements and ideas only!
        • You do have the opportunity to change your mind as the arguments are being presented.
        • Refrain from side conversations during the debate.
        • Support the discussion by maintaining order and contributing constructive comments.

        AFTER THE ACTIVITY, summarize the arguments using a T-chart.  This should demonstrate to students how much was honestly said that may have been beyond their own beliefs and opinion.



        Activity Directions:

        • Now that you had the opportunity to research your topic and decide where you stand on the issue, it is time to debate your point.
        • Your instructor will provide instructions for setting up the activity.  These instructions will include the rules for the Philosophical Chairs activity.



          Instructor Reflection:

          Reflect on the lesson plan and document what worked for you, what did not work for you, and what you would change for the next time you utilize this lesson.


          Please reflect on the lesson by answering the following questions:

          • In the beginning of the activity, what was your argument position? What was the reasoning behing this decision?
          • At the end of the activity, what was your argument position? What was your reasoning behind this decision?
          • Whether your position changed or did not change, explain the rationale behind your thinking.