Intelligence Squared U.S.: Affirmative action on campus does more harm than good

Posted Eureka Lessons American Government, English, Grade 11-12, High School, Lessons, Speaking and Listening

Affirmative action has always been a hot topic debated by political pundits and scholars from every side of the ideological spectrum.  Does affirmative action truly uphold the equal protection clause under the 14th Amendment?  Does it actually do more harm than good?  As your students prepare for college and their professional careers, it is important for them to start thinking critically about these issues.

For this lesson, students will listen to an episode of NPR's series Intelligence Squared U.S., "Affirmative action on campus does more harm than good" and debate whether affirmative action has a place on our campuses.

Affirmative Action Debate Handout: Briefly explain to students the history of affirmative action and how it applies to them.  Then take a poll on how many students agree with the motion, "Affirmative action on campuses does more harm than good."

npr-affirmative action debate

Play the NPR debate for students (start at 5:00 minute mark, that's when opening statements begin). As students listen, have them jot down 5 arguments in support of the motion and 5 arguments against it. Then, divide your classroom into 2 sections- 1. Students who support the motion, 2. Students against the motion. Yes, they have to pick a side. Otherwise, most students will go for the undecided option and there won't be much of a debate. Set the rules for debate. Allow students 2 minutes to delegate someone on each side to give the opening statement and debate!