Posts Tagged ‘debate’

Let’s Debate…Libraries vs. the Internet

Libraries have long been considered the premier houses of information; librarians, the keepers, and distributors of knowledge. The advent of technology–and with it, the Internet–has slightly shifted this perspective, particularly over the last two decades. Students and researchers now have a choice: “Do I research in the library? Or on the Internet?”

Both hold value, thus the debate. And the decision may not be an either/or answer.

What are your feelings about this topic? Is one more worthwhile than the other? Can one be replaced with the other? To explore the pros and cons, check out the Let’s Debate infographic below.

Libraries v. the Internet infographic


2014 That’s Debatable! Poll Results Recap

That's Debatable via ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher

That’s Debatable via ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher

When something significant happens in the news opinions are quick to take shape, especially online. ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher editors know a good debate starts with a good question. Our That’s Debatable! polls are meant to elicit these debates and serve as a tool to share views and spark lively discussion in the classroom. With the year nearing completion, we’ve put together a recap of the 2014 results:

In February, 52% of poll takers agreed that Russia was doing enough to ensure the safety of athletes & visitors at the Sochi Winter Olympics.

In March, 60% of poll takers felt children were being overmedicated for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

In April, 61% of poll takers believed more laws were needed to protect the rights of transgender people.

In May, 48% of poll takers agreed more regulation and monitoring was needed to prevent prescription drug abuse.

This summer, 83% of poll takers felt students should not be assigned more homework over the summer break.

In September, 55% of poll takers agreed nutrition standards for schools were too tough.


In October, 47% of poll takers voted that the NFL and other sports organizations should not immediately penalize players who are accused of domestic violence.

Where do you stand? Do you feel the U.S. government is doing enough in response to the Ebola virus outbreak? Share your response this month and see how others voted on this issue.

SKS Spotlight on the 2014-2015 National High School Debate Topic: Oceans

Aerosolized dust is clearly visible in the satellite image and stretches across the Atlantic Ocean nearly continuously from Western Africa into the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. <br \> by SeaWIFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center and ORBIMAGE, via ProQuest SIRS Government Reporter

Aerosolized dust is clearly visible in the satellite image and stretches across the Atlantic Ocean nearly continuously from Western Africa into the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.
by SeaWIFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center and ORBIMAGE, via ProQuest SIRS Government Reporter [Public Domain]

Look at images of planet Earth. Underneath the cloud cover is a vast expanse of blue…the Earth’s oceans. Oceans cover 71% of the Earth’s surface, comprise 97% of the Earth’s water, and harbor more life than lives on land. Yet most of the 3.5 million square miles of ocean waters remain unexplored. Reasons for this are many, and include the immense physical and technical difficulties of studying underwater environments, and the resulting financial considerations.

Should the United States government increase its investment in exploring the Earth’s oceans? This is the question asked by the 2014-2015 National High School Debate Topic and pondered by thousands of high-school students across the country. What are the pros of further research into the world’s oceans, and what are the cons of increasing government funding of their exploration? Would more study of our oceans broaden our understanding of the overall condition of the Earth and its atmosphere and provide us with solutions? Or would increased funds toward ocean research simply be a waste of capital that could be allocated to more significant endeavors?

July’s SKS Spotlight of the Month presents articles and Web sites that provide information on the Earth’s oceans and discuss outcomes of and thoughts about past ocean research. Investigate the issue for yourself. What do you think?

CultureGrams — Teaching Activities: Turkey

Teachers looking to adopt the Common Core State Standards Initiative can find a great resource in CultureGrams. In the Teaching Resources area located in the lower right-hand corner of each country landing page, and at the bottom of each page, CultureGrams includes a link to sample teaching activities for all grades that follow Common Core, as well as national curriculum standards.


One example is the “Turkey: Europe or Asia?” activity, which correlates to standards for a multitude of subjects, including history, social studies, and geography. The activity helps students to understand the factors that influence how countries are grouped into regions.

  1. Divide the class into two debate teams: one that will argue that Turkey should be classified as part of Europe and another that will argue that it should be grouped with Asia. Select three students to be judges, making sure they are aware they must read both teams’ materials.
  2. For homework, assign all students to read the CultureGrams report for Turkey. Then, assign each team the reports from the two different regions. Team One will read selections from the Middle Eastern reports (Iran, Syria, Lebanon, etc.). Team Two will read selections from the European reports (Greece, Macedonia, Bulgaria, etc.).
  3. Instruct the students that they may want to skim the CultureGrams reports assigned to the opposite teams in order to anticipate their opponent’s arguments. Remind the judges to read the assignments for both teams.
  4. In class, give each team time to prepare and organize its arguments.
  5. Divide the board in half and have each time write the group’s main arguments on it.
  6. Have a spokesperson from each team explain the group’s arguments (without responding to what the other team has written on the board).
  7. Give the teams time to consult and come up with rebuttals, while reinforcing their initial arguments. A different spokesperson from each team delivers the rebuttals to the class, with help from team members who raise their hands to offer additional comments.
  8. The class judges decide which team wins and justify their decision to the class.

Find more ideas for this teaching activity, as well as dozens more activities, on CultureGrams. Have you used a teaching activity? Leave a comment to share your experience and ideas with us!