Middle school is a great time for students to begin developing strong argumentation and debate skills. There are plenty of great debate topics for middle school that are both age-appropriate and interesting.
Middle schoolers may find it interesting to debate about school-related topics. After all, they've been in school for several years. They're well-suited to argue a position about how school should be structured and what should be taught.
- Everyone should have to take performing arts classes in school.
- Physical education (PE) classes are a waste of time.
- Cooking classes should be required in school.
- Middle and high school students should be required to take a foreign language class every year.
- Students should be allowed to vote on school lunch menus.
- There should be a limit on the quantity of homework assigned to students.
- Year-round school is a better option than having a summer break between school years.
- Middle schoolers should be assigned to mentor younger students.
- Middle school recess should exist and be at least 30 minutes long.
- There should be a designated nap time during the school day for all ages.
- Students should be able to vote to decide what books they'll read in English class.
- School buses should have seat belts and all students should be required to wear them.
- There should be a student representative in the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA).
Middle school is also a good time to encourage students to pay attention to what is going on in the world around them. Assigning debate topics for middle school about societal issues is a good way to accomplish that. Current events and political topics fall in this category, as do social justice issues.
- Teenagers (13+) should be allowed to vote in political elections.
- Everyone who is eligible to vote in political elections should be required to do so.
- Middle school students should be required to do community-based volunteer work.
- The minimum wage should be higher than it is right now.
- Reality TV provides an unrealistic perspective on what real life is like for most people.
- Democracy is the most effective type of government.
- News channels should always have to specify whether a segment provides factual information or opinions.
- Bottled water should not be sold to consumers.
- It's important to buy locally to support small business owners.
- Everyone should grow at least some of their own food.
- It's best to eat as much locally sourced food as possible.
- People should use public transportation rather than driving their own cars as much as possible.
- Stores should not be allowed to use plastic bags at the check-out register.
Technology is a big part of daily life for middle schoolers, so it's a good idea to encourage them to think critically about this important topic. Encourage them to examine all sides of the impact of technology on daily life by assigning debate topics related to this subject.
- Internet literacy should be taught in school.
- Students should use printed books rather than online versions.
- Schools should provide online tutoring for students after school.
- Online education is better than in-person education.
- High-speed internet access should be available everywhere, even in rural locations.
- Paying too much attention to what people post on social media can be harmful.
- Most Instagram stories reflect real life.
- There should be a strict screen time limit for middle school and elementary school students.
- Kids should not get their own smartphones before middle school.
- Social media apps should eliminate minimum age requirements.
- Parents should be able to easily monitor their kids' social media activity.
- Self-driving cars should not be legal to operate on public roadways.
- Credit and debit cards should completely replace paper and metal money.
Debate topics don't all have to be super-serious. Consider assigning some fun and funny debate topics. You'll have as much fun listening to what they have to say as they will preparing for the debate and actually arguing their position.
- Roller coasters are the all-time best amusement park ride.
- Summer camp should be required for elementary and middle school students.
- Do smartphones actually make people smarter (or do they have the opposite effect)?
- Skateboarding should be allowed on school grounds.
- Santa Claus needs a makeover.
- Facebook should have a "dislike" button.
- There should be an Academy Award for the best video game.
- Playing video games should be an Olympic sport.
- Clowns are terrifying to little kids.
- Every household should have a robot.
- Is honesty really always the best policy?
- Kids should be able to assign chores to their parents.
- Children should be allowed to eat anything they want.
Now that you have some great ideas of debate topics for middle school students, you're ready to start teaching debate to your students. Before you begin, review these strong rebuttal examples for debates and work these concepts into your lesson plan. If you'd like to explore even more ideas for debate topics, consider these argumentative essay topics. They can just as effectively be used for debates as essays.