Lesson Plan

Current Event Socratic Seminar

A lesson plan for a Socratic seminar.
Osiris P.
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My Grades 9, 10, 11
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, Arts

Students will be able to...

  • Be exposed to current events relevant in the world today.
  • Present opinions respectfully and informatively.
  • Recognize strengths and weaknesses of different arguments. 
  • Debate their opinions.
English Language Arts
Social Studies
Grades 9 – 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Debate Preparation

Introduce students to the Socratic seminar, and explain the purpose of the project. Students may take stances on current issues, such as confederate monument removal, war plans, voting rights, ect. 

Through Google Classroom, assign a task to develop a Google Doc to organize their opinions and rationale. 

Have students research news articles on the issue via Newsela. Have students take comprehension tests on the reading, so that they are able to obtain crucial information. Encourage students to challenge themselves to change the reading level on the reading material to expose them to more academic vocabulary. Have students record information in the articles that may help them in the seminar. 

After Newsela, encourage students to browse through Google News to discover additional material they could reference in the seminar. Take advantage of the "local" news option, and see if students could find articles that illustrate the impact in their own communities. 


2 Debate!

Have students take a real-time survey of where they stand on the issue, and record the results using a program called PollEverywhere. Encourage students to take it again once the debate ends, and see if there was a change in opinion.

During the debate, encourage students to be respectful to others opinions. To encourage wider participation, limit students from speaking more than three times. 

You may ask students to take a break at strategic intervals. You may also see fit to divide the debate into sections. (I.E. if the debate is on confederate monument removal, divide the debate into sections where students may have to propose alternatives, or discuss specific prompts.)