Students Debate Real Issues in a Real Setting
On Thursday, October 7th, middle school students took to the Town of Jackson Chambers to put their public speaking, debate, and critical thinking skills to the test. Throughout the first month of school, students have been studying the differences between state governments and our federal government. Inundated with important terms such as Supreme Court Justice, veto, and the legislative process, they have become familiar with the many facets of government and debated its role in our daily lives.
At the Town Chambers, they held a mock public meeting where they will debate a resolution on the recent Proposition 8. In keeping stride with our semester theme of “Weather and Water,” Proposition 8 recently transferred control of the Snake River/Wilson beach area on the west side of Highway 22 from federal (Bureau of Land Management) control to local control (The Snake River Fund). Students will debate this resolution in the same space that Council members themselves use for public meetings.
Each student played the role of a member of the Proposition Team (representing the Snake River Fund), the Opposition Team (representing the Bureau of Land Management), the Town Council, the press, or a townsperson making public comment. Every student made a statement and participated in debate over the resolution. In preparation, each group was coached by local experts from the Snake River Fund, news publications, and the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance. In addition, they recorded information throughout the meeting assessing themselves and their classmates. This project concluded social studies Unit I: Foundations of Government and put students’ knowledge of the legislative process to the test. Students were required to dress formally for the meeting to help them be prepared for all facets of the project!
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