Debate Sports & Forensics

High School Debate

What if teenagers across the nation were taught to be active changemakers who can use their voices to make a difference? Project LEAD’s Debate Sports & Forensics: High School Debate curriculum is an in-depth firsthand experience that equips students to share their perspectives and debate with confidence, empathy, respect, and conviction. Students are empowered to become LEADers who know that they have a voice that matters and who have the skills to use that voice effectively. With Project LEAD’s Debate Sports & Forensics, students have the unique opportunity to explore and utilize some of the most popular debate styles among high school and college debate programs and competitions including International Public Debate Association (IPDA), National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA), and British Parliamentary debate.

Acting as both instructors and debate facilitators, Project LEAD Educators use the Debate Sports & Forensics curriculum to first develop students’ foundational skills and understanding of debate. High school debaters jump right into common debate terminology across styles, such as IPDA’s Affirmative & Negative versus British Parliamentary’s Government & Opposition. Through regular class warm-ups, they learn the fundamentals of Language Arts, including the importance of proper diction, enunciation, breathing, posture, stance, poise, and body language.

Over the course of Project LEAD’s Debate Sports & Forensics, students participate in three debates with extended prep: one IPDA, one NPDA, and one British Parliamentary debate. They learn to debate under common debate competition scoring categories - delivery, courtesy, appropriate tone, organization, logic, support, cross examination, and refutation - and are scored out of 40 points per debate by their peers. Students learn how to structure arguments, find credible & quality evidence, use tone & inflection to emphasize a point, roadmap their arguments, ask compelling cross examination questions, argue any side of an issue, and understand & anticipate opposing arguments when assigned a position. By learning how to debate, students are learning and practicing valuable lifelong academic and personal skills, including active listening, collaboration, persuasive writing, public speaking, leadership, critical thinking, and civic mindedness.

With Project LEAD’s Debate Sports & Forensics curriculum, high school students are empowered with the tools for personal growth, academic enrichment, and leadership development to enter the world as young adults with important perspectives, valuable opinions that need to be shared, and the skills to share them.

Current Phase Of Debate Sports & Forensics Curriculum Development

Debate Sports & Forensics Curriculum Package Options

Weekly Curriculum

High School

Age Range:

9th - 12th Grade

Class Duration:

10 Weeks

Class Frequency:


Lesson Duration:

1 Hour

Day Camp Curriculum

Ages 13-17

Class Duration:

2 Weeks

Class Frequency:

Daily, Monday-Friday

Daily Duration:

9am-3pm, or 6 hours total

Common Core State Standards

Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.

Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated questions) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective, such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, alternative or opposing perspectives are addressed, and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and a range of formal and informal tasks.

Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.