Module 2 -> Lesson 5

Preparing arguments for SPAR

Confirm or Challenge

Private Companies have the right to use Facial Recognition Technology for undisclosed reasons.

Anchor Text(s) for this Lesson

Supporting Text(s)/ Resources for this Lesson

Lesson Overview

In this lesson, divide the class evenly into groups that will argue in the affirmative and those who will argue the negative in a SPAR debate on the prompt: Private Companies have the right to use Facial Recognition Technology for undisclosed reasons. Students will meet in homogenous groups (with others arguing the same side) to share their insight and research as they prepare opening statements, anticipate counter-arguments, and beef up their claims, evidence, reasoning, and confidence for the debate.

Nota Bene

As with all lessons that put students in groups, it is a good idea to strategically group students according to preparedness, personality, and skill level. Some groups might benefit from frequent teacher and/ or para check ins.


Students will be able to...

  • Engage in collaborative discussion with a small group to review claims and evidence in support of a position.

  • Craft an opening statement with at least two claims supported by evidence and reasoning.

Suggested Duration

45 minutes (adjust according to your students' needs)

Next Generation ELA Standards

  • W1c: Use precise language and content-specific vocabulary to express the appropriate complexity of the topic.

  • WHST1: Write arguments based on discipline-specific content.

NYS Computer Science & Digital Fluency Standards

  • 9-12.IC.3 Debate issues of ethics related to real world computing technologies.

  • 9-12.IC.1 Evaluate the impact of computing technologies on equity, access, and influence in a global society.


  • middle ground (noun): a set of opinions, decisions, etc. that two or more groups who oppose each other can agree on; a position that is not extreme

  • balancing act (noun): a process in which someone tries to please two or more people or groups who want different things

  • rectify (verb): to fix something that is wrong

  • oversight: the state of being in charge of someone or something

  • proponent (noun): a person who supports an idea or a course of action

  • opponent (noun): a person who is against something and tries to change or stop it


Present the debate prompt to students and ask them to quickly draft an equal number of claims in support and in opposition to the prompt.

Circulate as students draft their lists to get a sense of which students are struggling to populate either side of the t-chart, i.e., have arguments largely in favor of one side only.


Assuming that this is not the first time your students are preparing for a SPAR debate in your classroom, this 'mini-lesson' should be very short and sweet and be used to present expectations/ norms for jigsaw group work.

After presenting expectations, use your chosen strategy for dividing students into groups. Be sure that there are an equal number of students arguing each side. Too, consider deliberately challenging students by assigning them to argue a side that they completely disagree with.


Students meet in expert groups to discuss the prompt, share claims and evidence they have collected across modules 1 and 2 and begin drafting their opening statements.

If any groups fly through this and have their opening statements prepared with plenty of time remaining, encourage them to run through and time their opening statements. Once they have done that, encourage them to begin work on anticipating counter-arguments and how they might address those in tomorrow's debate.

Wrap Up

End class in a way that is meaningful to you and will give you the most data on where your students are.

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