lp-debate

Classroom debate

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.

 

Steps
  1. Divide the class into groups of six plus an adjudicator.
  2. Allocate each group a topic (See sample topics below).
  3. Divide each group into two teams of three.
  4. Allocate each team member a speaking role (See below).
  5. In teams brainstorm arguments that support your position.
  6. Divide these arguments between the first and second speakers.
  7. Decide on a time limit for each speaker, e.g. two minutes.
  8. Commence the debate with the first speaker for the affirmative.
  9. Alternate between the negative and affirmative teams.
  10. Announce which team won the debate!

 

Sample topics
  • 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.

 

Affirmative team

Agrees with the topic

Speaker 1

  • 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

Speaker 2

  • Rebuts what the first negative speaker has said
  • Presents the second half of the case for the affirmative

Speaker 3

  • 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

 

 

Negative team

Disagrees with the topic

Speaker 1

  • 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

Speaker 2

  • Rebuts what the affirmative speakers have said
  • Presents the second half of the case for the negative

Speaker 3

  • 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

 

Sample arguments

Topic: That the risk of nuclear annihilation is as high today as it has ever been

Affirmative team

  • 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.

Negative team

  • 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.

  • ICAN UK on Twitter

    • Supporters

    • sheen

      “If Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr were alive today, they would be part of ICAN.”

      Martin Sheen Actor and activist

    • bankimoon

      “I salute ICAN for working with such commitment and creativity.”

      Ban Ki-moon UN chief

    • yokoono

      “We can do it together. With your help, our voice will be made still stronger. Imagine peace.”

      Yoko Ono Artist

    • jodywilliams

      “Governments say a nuclear weapons ban is unlikely. Don’t believe it. They said the same about a mine ban treaty.”

      Jody Williams Nobel laureate

    • desmondtutu

      “With your support, we can take ICAN its full distance – all the way to zero nuclear weapons.”

      Desmond Tutu Nobel laureate

    • herbiehancock

      “Because I cannot tolerate these appalling weapons, I whole-heartedly support ICAN.”

      Herbie Hancock Jazz musician

    • hansblix

      “I am proud to support the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.”

      Hans Blix Weapons inspector

    • dalailama

      “I can imagine a world without nuclear weapons, and I support ICAN.”

      Dalai Lama Nobel laureate