Debate is a wonderful way to build critical thinking skills, articulate your thoughts, educate yourself on various topics, form empathy for your opponent and their beliefs, build presentation skills, expand world views, and build confidence.

As Grange Youth, we should be able to gather research on a topic from reputable sources, form an argument/position based on their position. Participants should also be able to listen to the opposing positions(s)/argument(s) and issue a rebuttal with calmness in deliberation, forbearance to those who you differ from and charity toward their motives.

Format: Total estimated time for one round of 40 minutes

Team Pro: Team Con:
4 Minute speech, 2 minute Cross Examination 4 Minute speech, 2 minute Cross Examination
4 Minute speech, 2 minute Cross Examination 4 Minute speech, 2 minute Cross Examination
1 minute preparation, 5 minute speech 1 minute preparation, 5 minute speech


Speech time refers to 1 person speaking in favor of or in opposition to the resolution without interruption. Cross examination following a speech refers to a period when a member of the team which did not give the speech asks questions of the person who has just spoken.

Team structure:

2 speakers, 2 researchers – 1 speaker must be a youth, 1 researcher must be a youth.
1 team per state in the region.


Winner is determined by a combination of three ballots:

  1. Judge vote – expert judges decide which team they believe won
  2. Audience vote – the audience votes on who they think won the debate
  3. Audience shift vote – the audience indicates a preference on the topic before
    the debate round (Strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree, strongly disagree)
    and after the debate round. For a movement of position by 1 place (i.e. from
    agree to neutral) a team is awarded 1 point, the team which has accumulated
    the most points by this system wins this rounds ballot.

Potential Topic Areas:

– Food waste/security
– Climate change and its solutions
– Trade (protectionism vs. free trade)
– Or other Grange related policies or topics

The topic for all Grange Debate teams at regional conferences will be given on Friday
of the conference and the Debate will take place on Saturday night of the regional
conference giving teams time to prepare and research.

Sample Rubric

Levels of Performance for Team Pro or Team Con

Criteria 4 3 2 1 Grade
1. Organization & Clarity:

Main arguments and responses are outlined in a clear and orderly way.

clear and orderly
Mostly clear and
orderly in all parts
Clear in some parts but not overall Unclear and
2. Use of Argument:
Reasons are given to support the resolution
Very strong and
arguments given
Many good
arguments given,
with only minor
Some decent
arguments, but
some significant
Few or no real
arguments given, or all arguments given had significant
3. Use of cross-examination
and rebuttal:Identification of weakness in Negative team’s arguments and ability to defend itself
against attack.
Excellent cross-exam and
defense against
Negative team’s
Good cross-exam
and rebuttals, with only minor slip-ups
Decent cross-exam and/or rebuttals, but with some
Poor cross-exam or rebuttals, failure to point out problems in
Negative team’s
position or failure to defend itself against attack.
4. Presentation Style:

Tone of voice, clarity of
expression, precision of
arguments all contribute to keeping audience’s attention and persuading them of the team’s case.

All style features
were used
Most style features
were used
Few style features
were used
Very few style
features were used, none of them convincingly
TOTAL SCORE: __________