Skip to main content

The Great Social Media Debate at Forest Lake

Posted Date: 04/18/2024


The pros and cons of social media were the topic for the final debate in Nicole Silvar’s fifth grade class at Forest Lake Elementary School in the Wantagh School District. Students split into two groups for the culminating activity in an argument and debate unit in reader’s workshop.


Ms. Silvar said that over several weeks, students practiced debates in class on school-related topics, such as if lunch time should be longer and should there be homework. The final debate required a few days of preparation, so students could research the topic and prepare their arguments. 


The question posed to them was, “Is social media good for society?” One group argued in favor of social media and the other against. In addition to their own experiences and opinions, they had to cite data and facts from other sources. Students used digital resources such as TIME For Kids and Google Safe Search for their research.


Each side got to back an opening claim and a closing statement. In between, students presented their evidence and could argue points made by the opposing group. Ms. Silvar suggested that students also research the opposing side, to be prepared for any counterarguments. 


Ms. Silvar said that the point of the unit was to teach students how to strengthen their arguments with facts, how to engage in respectful conversation and how to work as a team. They also used research skills they have been developing throughout elementary school. 


Students enjoyed working on the project, developing their arguments and presenting their cases.


“We’re learning different points of view,” said Avianna Carey, who was on the team that argued the benefits of social media. “It helps you see other perspectives.”  


Elementary Debates