Political Debates: Advising a Candidate

Debates are a key part of presidential campaigns, and high school historians get a chance to analyze debates from the past and present: first, the debate between Nixon and Kennedy, and then a recent debate of their choosing. Also included is a letter from Kennedy's campaign advisor giving advice to Kennedy about his performance at the debate.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • Have participants hold their own brief debates on issues relevant to them, with the audience providing feedback
  • As a comparison point, watch clips from the recent presidential debates if able
Classroom Considerations

  • If Internet and speakers are available, the video of this debate is available on YouTube
  • This lesson may reveal political differences between young historians; be sensitive to this tension and cultivate constructive conversation skills
Pros

  • Cultivates solid listening and critical thinking skills through analysis of tone and arguments
  • The debate score sheet is a helpful resource to guide participants in their evaluations
Cons

  • None