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Hold a Class Debate

Students will share what they know about Dubai and discuss reasons why that city wants to use flying taxis. Then they will consider the merits of flying taxis and debate to decide whether or not flying taxis should be allowed in their own community.

PROCESS:

  1. Review the article with students to identify features of the flying taxis. (drones; driverless; electric; carry a single passenger up to 31 miles at a speed of over 99 miles per hour; weight limit of 260 pounds; prevented from taking off during severe weather) 
  2. Have students share what they know about Dubai. If necessary, give them time to conduct research to learn more about this large, modern city located on the Persian Gulf. Discuss reasons why a city like Dubai would want to use flying taxis.
  3. Divide the class into teams. Challenge students to think about the parameters of flying cars and the traits of their own community. Guide teams as they debate whether or not flying taxis should be allowed in their own community. Following the debate, have the class vote for or against the issue.  

ASSESSMENT: 

Following the debate, encourage students to explain why they voted for or against allowing flying cars in their own community. Challenge students to identify specific arguments that swayed their opinion one way or the other.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:     

Grades 3-4:
Prior to conducting the debate, have students create a list of rules for students to follow. For example: Each student gets one minute to speak; each speaker is only allowed to speak once; and audience members are not allowed to interrupt while someone else is speaking. Invite each student to share his or her opinion. Challenge students to follow the rules as they conduct their debate.

Grades 5-6:
Divide the class into four teams. Assign two groups to support the measure and two groups to oppose it. Give students time to research and formulate their opinions. Instruct each group to write an opening statement, a detailed argument and a summary of their position. Then hold two short debates. Have students vote after the second debate is finished.

Grades 7-8: 
Divide the class into an equal number of small groups. Assign half of the groups in favor of the motion and half against it. Give students ample time to conduct research and formulate their ideas. Then have all groups on each side work together to fine-tune their arguments. Encourage them to prepare graphs, charts or other types of marketing materials to support their position. Have groups select members to present their ideas during the debate. 

Grades 9-10:
Divide the class into two groups. Assign one group to support the measure and the other to oppose it. Give students ample time to conduct research and formulate their ideas. Challenge them to locate source documents that support their positions. Encourage groups to incorporate that data into graphs, charts or other types of marketing materials that they can use during their presentations. Then have groups select members to present their ideas during the debate. All other group members should prepare rebuttal questions to ask after hearing the opposition's position.