Below, we’ve collected a set of debate and classroom discussion ideas for a range of age groups and classroom contexts!
- Ages 10 and Under
- Ages 10-14
- Ages 14-16
- Ages 16-18
- Ages 18+ (Tertiary Education)
Ages 10 and Under
- Should homework be banned?
- Should zoos be banned?
- Should school uniforms be banned?
- Was Willy Wonka good at heart?
- How did the Roman Empire become the greatest in the world?
- Is it okay to eat animals?
- Should digital devices replace paper and books?
- Should exams be banned?
- Should junk food be banned?
- Should students be allowed to have cellphones in school?
- Should schools teach art and music?
- Are professional athletes overpaid?
- How, if at all, should bullies be punished?
- Should social media sites ban children?
- Should cursive be taught to children?
- Should cars be banned from cities?
- Should we allow people to have pets?
- Does Ancient Rome matter to the modern world?
- Does voluntourism do more harm than good?
- Did the industrial revolution do more harm than good?
- Was Manifest Destiny a positive ideology to have followed?
- Would it be better to have one universal language?
- Should fee-paying schools be abolished?
- How did the English Civil War change English society?
- To what extent was ‘Athenian Democracy’ democratic?
- Should all countries return artifacts back to their countries of origin?
- Do public libraries have a role in the future?
- The Tell-Tale Heart: Do you believe that the narrator is truly mad or is he correct, that he only suffers from nervousness and overly acute senses?
- Were Romeo and Juliet’s parents responsible for their children’s deaths?
- Last Days of Summer: Are Craig Nakamura’s descriptions of his and his family’s experiences preceding and during internment at Manzanar historically accurate?
- Are plays or novels better?
- Are broadsheets or tabloids better?
- Of Mice and Men: Was Curly’s wife a bad person?
- Of Mice and Men: Was George right to kill Lennie?
- Are metaphors a useful literary device?
- Is jazz neglected in contemporary society?
- Should art and music be taught in schools?
- What is the purpose of music?
- Is art political?
- Should the state ban offensive art?
- Should prizes be given for the arts?
- Should studying the arts be mandatory for middle school students?
- Should the United States continue investing time and resources into space exploration?
- What is the best way to collect samples in fieldwork?
- Should a nutrition class be included for grade school and high school?
- Should Pluto be considered as a planet?
- Should the periodic table be organized differently?
- Was Columbus a hero?
- Was the ‘New Deal’ a success?
- Was the Treaty of Versailles the main cause of World War 2?
- Did the French Revolution have predominantly negative consequences?
- Did World War One have a beneficial impact on the rights of women in Europe?
- Was industrialization a good thing?
- Which US President was the most significant?
- Was the United States responsible for the outbreak of the Cold War?
- Was Shakespeare a feminist?
- To Kill A Mockingbird: Should Atticus defend Tom Robinson?
- Lyddie: Should Lyddie sign the petition?
- How does Shakespeare portray revenge in Hamlet?
- Who is George Orwell’s target in 1984?
- How does Christopher interpret and experience the world in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime?
- Is rewilding a good idea?
- Will the world face a major food insecurity crisis by 2050?
- Should we protect properties affected by coastal erosion?
- Should wild animals be kept in zoos?
- Has human activity affected the migrations of various species?
- Can individual conservation efforts successfully protect the environment?
- Should mining be banned?
- Should human doctors be replaced by automated ones?
- Are individuals or corporations more at fault for climate change?
- Should animal testing be banned?
- What alternative energy source is the best?
- Should stem cell testing be banned?
- Can art be objectively perceived?
- How do Dorothy Lange’s photographs of the Great Depression express the suffering of her subjects?
- What artistic features characterized the art of Impressionist painters, like Monet?
- Should museums be publicly owned?
- Does modern art belong alongside classical art?
- Should the UK Monarchy be abolished?
- Is dictatorship preferable to democracy in some instances?
- Should the voting age be lowered?
- Should the US adopt a form of proportional representation for its Presidential elections?
- Should countries have quotas to ensure representation of minority groups in parliament?
- Should public prayer should not be allowed in schools?
- Should vaccines be made mandatory?
- Should climate policy be decided by a panel of experts rather than by politicians?
- Should social media websites have the right to de-platform public figures?
- Should we break up big tech companies?
- Is war a necessary evil? (Writing activity / Art activity)
- What were the causes of WWI?
- What impact did the American Revolution have on the rights of women in the colonies?
- To what extent were the 1848 revolutions inspired by new political ideas?
- What caused the US Civil War?
- Were the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki justified?
- Was there an increase or decrease in religious tolerance between 1250 and 1750?
- Which technology had the biggest impact on the world: the steam engine, railroad, internal combustion engine, steamship, or telegraph?
- Did the Mongol conquest stifle or stimulate economic growth in Asia?
- Should we still teach To Kill A Mockingbird?
- Do negative life experiences help the creative process?
- The Great Gatsby: Is Nick Carraway a reliable narrator?
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Is the book racist?
- What does A Streetcar Named Desire say about America in the mid-20th century?
- How does Edward Albee use absurdist themes in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
- Is the trend of rural-urban migration a positive thing?
- Is the expansion of cities into surrounding areas a good thing?
- Has globalization had a positive impact on a country you have studied?
- Is having a nation-state better than having any other form of political entity (e.g. nations, stateless nations, multinational states, multistate nations, and autonomous and semiautonomous regions, such as American Indian reservations)?
- Is high urban density desirable?
- Should fracking be banned?
- What is the best method of resource extraction?
- Which line of evidence provides the strongest support for evolution?
- Is it better to buy an electric car or a gasoline car?
- Should fast fashion be banned?
- Is mandatory organ donation ethical?
- Is de-extinction worth the cost?
- Is science a truth in-and-of-itself, or a means to find the truth?
- Should euthanasia be legalized?
- What is the best form of renewable energy?
- What does Picasso’s Guernica tell its audience about the experience of the Spanish Civil War?
- Is “readymade” art real art?
- What does the statue of Augustus of Prima Porta imply about political power?
- How does Da Vinci’s portrayal of Christ in the Last Supper emphasize his godliness?
- Can art be separated from the artist?
- Will digital art experience replace physical art?
- Should the government subsidize art?
- Are NFTs good for art?
- Is free trade a good thing?
- Is it better to have high taxes or low taxes?
- Under what conditions are expansionary monetary policies likely to create greater economic growth?
- Can price ceilings successfully protect consumers?
- Should the United States adopt a balanced budget amendment?
- Should the United States federal government adopt a $15 minimum wage?
- Should countries pursue full employment as an economic goal?
- Is the culture of companies like Google preferable to that of traditional companies?
- What is the best method for business expansion (e.g. merger, takeover, strategic alliance)?
- To what extent does intrapreneurship improve the performance of a business?
- Is ‘delayering’ an effective strategy for business to become more profitable?
- Should you buy Fairtrade?
- Are qualifications more valuable than experience?
- What should the role of companies be?
Politics & Government
- Which of the three models of representative democracy — participatory, pluralist, and elite — best achieves the founders’ intent for American democracy in terms of ensuring a stable government run by the people?
- Is Affirmative Action a desirable policy?
- What group has the most influence over government policy in the US today? (e.g. citizens, social movements, interest groups, etc.)
- Can nationalism be compatible with democracy?
- Should there be a cap on private donations to electoral campaigns?
- Should Supreme Court judges be appointed for predetermined fixed periods?
- Are foreign military interventions ever justified?
Ages 18+ (Tertiary Education)
- Are social media explanations or economic explanations of the Arab Spring more convincing?
- What provides a better account for the causes of armed conflict: ‘greed’ explanations or ‘grievance’ ones?
- Do sanctions work?
- Can war ever be justified?
- Is populism caused mainly by economic frustrations?
- Is the recent increase in inequality in rich countries the result of diminishing trade union power?
- Are stable dictatorships more likely to pursue economic liberalization than weaker ones?
- Do international economic institutions, like the WTO and IMF, operate as liberal theorists intended or do they exemplify the logic of realism?
- Are certain countries doomed to remain emerging economically?
- Is the US-China relationship the new Cold War?
- Is the two state solution dead?
- Is foreign aid good?
- Are states still the most important actors in international relations?
- Are democracies less likely to go to war with each other?
- Should the world continue to recognize China and Hong Kong’s ‘one country, two systems’ arrangement, or consider Hong Kong a part of China?
- Is Rawls’ ‘veil of ignorance’ too far removed from the realities of political life to make meaningful arguments about what justice should be?
- Is a democracy desirable because it tends to produce better outcomes?
- If one benefits from a public good, do they have an obligation to pay tax for it?
- Should speech be regulated in line with John Stuart Mill’s harm principle?
- Is a truly cosmopolitan global ethics impossible?
- Is Marx’s theory of value convincing?
- What is the best method of constitutional interpretation?
- Should courts be quick to disregard separate legal personality?
- Should strict criminal liability be removed from all imprisonable offenses?
- Is international law truly law?
- Should Intellectual property be abolished for medicine?