Constitutional Ideals
Choose one of the ideals below to become an expert in and debate.
Debate Questions:
Limited Government
Question: To what extent should the federal government be involved in economic issues?
Position A: The federal government's powers over taxation as well as international and interstate trade allow
significant latitude in directing economic policy.
Position B: The federal government should only act to remedy unfavorable economic conditions for business
activity.
Republicanism
Question: What should be the role of citizens in creating public policy?
Position A: Public policy should reflect the opinion of voters.
Position B: Public policy should be created by officials who are most informed about the issues involved.
Checks and Balances
Question: When the President makes a nomination, what should be the nature of the Senate's "advice and consent?"
Position A: The Senate should defer to the President's choice of who he wants working under him.
Position B: It is the Senate's duty to make an independent judgment of a nominee's suitability for a position
serving the American people, even if that means denying the President his choice.
Federalism
Question: How should power be divided between the federal government and the states?
Position A: The Federal government should retain the most power because it is best positioned to insure fair
treatment, safety and equal protection for all Americans.
Position B: The states should retain the most power because they are closer to the people, better informed on
local issues and best positioned to exercise authority for their residents.
Separation of Powers
Question: Once Congress declares war and the President assumes the role of Commander-in-Chief who decides how the
war ends?
Position A: Congress, the policy making branch which represents the people, should determine peace terms.
Position B: The President as Commander-in-Chief is in the best position to determine appropriate actions.
Popular Sovereignty
Question: Should voter ballot initiatives be allowed to overturn laws passed by legislative bodies?
Position A: Yes; ballot initiatives allow voters to directly participate in their government.
Position B: No; voters already express their views through election of public officials.
USE THE ARTICLES PROVIDED TO DO YOUR RESEARCH
Establish Your Argument
Debate Question
Put the question in
your own words.
What is the position
you are arguing?
(in your own words)
What is the position
your opponent is
arguing?
(in your own words)
Position
Argument 1
Argument 2
Argument 3
Argument 4
Argument 5
A
B
Constitutional Ideals
Arguments
Limited Government
To what extent should the
federal government be involved
in economic issues?
Republicanism
What should be the role of
citizens in creating public policy?
Checks and Balances
What should be the nature of the
Senate’s “advice and consent”?
Federalism
How should power be divided
between the federal government
and the states?
Separation of Powers
Should the Senate or the
President decide how war ends?
Popular Sovereignty
Should ballot initiatives be
allowed to overturn laws passed
by the legislative branch?
Best
Argument
Next Best
Argument
Next Best
Argument
Next Best
Argument
Next Best
Argument
Next Best
Argument
Debate Format
Each debate will last for 15 minutes. Students will be graded on the organization of their own points as well as their
participation in the rebuttals.
Opening
The debate mediator will read the debate question and explain the two sides.
Position A will say (not read) their opening argument.
Position B will say (not read) their opening argument.
The A team will have a chance to rebuttal.
The B team will have a chance to rebuttal.
Round 1
Position A will share an argument not addressed by their team in the rebuttal.
The B team will have a chance to rebuttal.
Position B will share an argument not addressed by the teams in rebuttal.
The A team will have a chance to rebuttal.
Closing Arguments
Position A will share any final points.
Position B will share any final points.
Opinion
Students will share their actual opinion on the issue.
Students will complete the opinion page of this packet.
Rubric
Categories
Ideas
Research
Questions
Opening
Argument
Knowledge
Significance
Supporting
Evidence
Diction
Packet
Opinion
Participation
TOTAL
Possible Points (100)
10 Points
Student presents three or more accurate
and persuasive point and considers
counter arguments and perspectives.
Student writing is outlined to logically
answer all aspects the research
question, and provides evidence to
persuade audience.
Students opening argument is their
most powerful argument and is
articulated clearly and concisely.
Student demonstrates depth of
understanding by using real world
examples or hypotheticals in their
explanation of their points.
Student articulates the significance of
this issue and their perspective and
explains how it contrasts with the
opposite perspective.
Student has at least four other distinct
points to back up their opening
argument.
Student explains their argument clearly
and concisely by choosing their words
carefully, applying relevant vocabulary,
and staying to the point.
Student thoroughly completed the
“Constitutional Ideals Arguments”
page of this packet. Their responses are
accurate.
Student thoroughly completed the
“Opinion of Ideals” page of this packet,
demonstrating depth of consideration.
Student participated in team
discussions before the debate and spoke
up at least once during the debate to
support the team’s argument.
Earned
8 Points
Student presents two or
more accurate and
persuasive points related to
their perspective.
Student answers the research
question and provides some
evidence.
5 Points
Student has one persuasive
argument.
3 Points
Student ideas are inaccurate or
lack depth of understanding.
Student writing answers the
research question but does not
logically outline the response.
Student does not directly
answer the research question.
Students opening argument
is their most powerful
argument.
Students opening argument is
relatively strong but not their
strongest point.
Student makes an attempt to
use real world examples of
their arguments.
Student puts the arguments
into their own words, but lacks
deeper understanding of the
implications.
Student seems to understand
the significance of this issue.
Students opening argument is
unclear or student seems to
lack understanding of the
main point.
Student doesn’t seem to fully
comprehend their arguments.
Student articulates the
significance of this issue and
their perspective.
Student doesn’t seem to
understand the significance of
this issue.
Student has more than three
distinct points to back up
their opening argument.
Student thoroughly
explained their arguments
but they were not clear or
concise.
Student completed the
“Constitutional Ideals
Arguments” page of this
packet.
Student filled in all the
squares on the page.
Student has a few points but
they are mostly repetitive.
Student has one main point.
Student explains their
arguments in their own words.
Student arguments are not
clearly presented.
Student partially filled in the
“Constitutional Ideals
Arguments” page of this
packet.
Student partially filled in the
squares on the page.
Student filled in less than half
of the page.
Student contributed to the
group effort.
Student somewhat contributed
to the group effort.
Student spoke up but their
contributions did not move
the conversation forward.
Student filled in less than half
of the squares.
Opinion of Ideals
Limited Government
To what extent should the
federal government be
involved in economic issues?
Republicanism
What should be the role of
citizens in creating public
policy?
Checks and Balances
What should be the nature of
the Senate’s “advice and
consent”?
Federalism
How should power be divided
between the federal
government and the states?
Separation of Powers
Should the Senate or the
President decide how war
ends?
Popular Sovereignty
Should ballot initiatives be
allowed to overturn laws
passed by the legislative
branch?
Position A
Position B
Your Opinion—Why?

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