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Debate Book

Debate Book Activity

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See more activities in: Middle School, Composition

You hear about the state of the world's environment all the time in the news. Don't you ever wonder why governments and organizations don't just take care of the problems once and for all? The next time you're troubled by a report in the news about the environment or any other world issue, find out more about the issue. You'll probably realize that the problem is a lot more complex than you imagined. Perhaps protecting an endangered animal means restricting access to water a city needs. Or maybe there are people whose lives depend on the grazing land created by cutting down rain forests. This three-part debate book is designed to hold two conflicting points of view on an issue that concerns you, along with possible solutions.

What You Need:

  • Pictures, news articles, summaries of information from all sides of the issue
  • Several sheets of paper, 6 x 14 1/2 inches
  • Piece of corrugated cardboard, 6 1/2 x 22 inches
  • Paper clips
  • Awl or sharp nail
  • Thread or waxed linen
  • Large sewing needle
  • 6 beads
  • Markers, pens, and/or acrylic craft paint
  • Scissors or craft knife
  • Craft glue
  • Foam brush
  • Stamps and ink (optional)

What You Do:

  1. Spend some time exploring the issue that has caught your attention. Hit the library, read magazines, or do an Internet search. Collect information from both sides of the issue, and also start thinking about how you'd solve the problem. Remember, learning about the other side of the issue isn't the same as agreeing with it.
  2. Sort through the materials you've gathered, and separate them into three piles: one side of the issue, the other side of the issue, and solutions.
  3. Fold the 6 x 14 1/2 inch pages in half sideways and crease them firmly. Slide them inside each other to make three booklets, one for each section of the book.
  4. Fold the long piece of cardboard for the cover into three sections, so that it looks like an "m" or "w."
  5. Place each signature in position in the cover, and hold them in place with paper clips.
  6. Use the awl or sharp nail to poke three holes in the center of each signature and through the cover.
  7. Sew the thread into each signature in place. Don't tie a knot in the thread. Poke the needle from the outside through the center hole to the inside of the book. Pull the thread through, but leave about 4 inches of string on the outside.
  8. Poke the needle through the top hole and out the back of the book, then down to the bottom hole and in through to the inside of the book. Poke the needle back into the center hole and out the back. Pull both ends of the thread tight, and make a knot.
  9. Decorate the excess string with beads (tie knots below the beads to keep them in place).
  10. Decorate the inside and outside of the cover to make it appealing and to provoke curiosity.
  11. Use one section to place your information on one side of the issue. Use the last section to place your information on the other side of the issue. And use the middle to provide solutions you've learned about or thought of on your own. Use a foam brush to smooth glue onto the backs of pictures and information that you plan to stick to the inside pages. Include charts, graphs, statistics, letters to the editor, and whatever else you find that tackles the issue. If you're going to use this book to help others understand the issue, use plenty of colorful images and lots of facts, so people will be drawn to the book and will want to look though it. In your soultions section include information people could take away with them. Sample letters, names and addresses of related organizations they can join, and tips and advice people can easilyact on, are key for empowering others to help out with your effort. Share your book with classmates, family members, friends, and community decision makers. At the very least, you'll learn about something that matters to you, and who knows, you may even inspire a movement.
  12. You can make your own stamp to use as a symbol and as decoration on your book. Simply draw a figure on a piece of foam or cardboard. Cut away the excess material, and you've got yourself an image to print on.
Excerpted with permission from Geography Fun by Joe Rhatigan and Heather Smith (Lark Books, 2003)

Updated on May 13, 2014
See more activities in: Middle School, Composition
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