A debate is an opportunity to hear two sides of a story, with equal time given to each side. Holding one on nuclear weapons will require you to think hard about the problem – and how to solve it! You could invite your parents and community leaders along to watch. You’ll get to hone your public-speaking skills and learn to think on your feet.
- Divide the class into groups of six plus an adjudicator.
- Allocate each group a topic (See sample topics below).
- Divide each group into two teams of three.
- Allocate each team member a speaking role (See below).
- In teams brainstorm arguments that support your position.
- Divide these arguments between the first and second speakers.
- Decide on a time limit for each speaker, e.g. two minutes.
- Commence the debate with the first speaker for the affirmative.
- Alternate between the negative and affirmative teams.
- Announce which team won the debate!
- That the risk of nuclear annihilation is as high today as it has ever been.
- That nuclear weapons pose a more serious threat to the world than climate change.
- That it’s only a matter of time before nuclear weapons are used again.
- That we can’t stop terrorists from getting their hands on nuclear weapons one day.
Agrees with the topic
- Defines what the topic of the debate is
- Presents the affirmative team’s main line/argument
- Outlines what the rest of the affirmative team will argue
- Presents the first half of the case for the affirmative
- Rebuts what the first negative speaker has said
- Presents the second half of the case for the affirmative
- Rebuts all the remaining points of the case for the negative
- Presents a summary of the case for the affirmative
- Concludes the debate for the affirmative
Disagrees with the topic
- Presents the negative team’s main line/argument
- Outlines what the rest of the negative team will argue
- Rebuts what the first affirmative speaker has said
- Presents the first half of the case for the negative
- Rebuts what the affirmative speakers have said
- Presents the second half of the case for the negative
- Rebuts all the remaining points of the case for the affirmative
- Presents a summary of the case for the negative
- Concludes the debate for the negative
Topic: That the risk of nuclear annihilation is as high today as it has ever been
- More countries have nuclear weapons today than ever before: the more fingers on the triggers, the more likely it is they will be used.
- There’s a greater risk that nuclear weapons will be used by accident given that many nuclear weapons are now old and faulty.
- North Korea has joined the nuclear club and Iran has ambitions to follow suit. Other countries may also wish to build the bomb.
- Several countries have said they would be prepared to use their nuclear weapons in a broader range of circumstances.
- Because of the spread of nuclear power, more countries now have the know-how to create nuclear weapons.
- Today’s nuclear weapons are generally much more powerful than nuclear weapons of the past, with higher explosive yields.
- There are considerably fewer nuclear weapons today than during the cold war: tens of thousands have been dismantled.
- Relations between the United States and Russia have improved significantly since the days of the cold war.
- There is generally greater cooperation among nations nowadays, reducing any perceived need for nuclear weapons.
- Polls show that most people around the world now believe that nuclear weapons threaten rather than enhance a country’s security.
- More countries than ever before are calling for a nuclear weapons convention—a treaty that would ban nuclear weapons.
- Nuclear war would be unthinkable given our improved knowledge of the immediate and long-term effects of radioactive fallout.