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Take a Stand

Street Law, Inc.

Over 40 years of educating about law, democracy, and human rights


This method should be used as an introductory activity to demonstrate the diversity of viewpoints on the topic to be studied, to provide the students with an opportunity to express themselves and practice communication skills.  It may also be used at the end of a lesson, to assess the students’ grasp of the subject. This method is useful for facilitating a classroom discussion on a controversial topic. The issues should be legitimate, opposing viewpoints (two or more) for which there is no correct answer.  

  1. Post signs on opposite sides of the room.  One sign should read “agree” and the other “disagree.” 
    • Alternatives: 1. Post signs that state polar positions on an issue (e.g., no drug testing and drug testing for all). 2. Post signs in four corners of the room that read: agree, strongly agree, disagree and strongly disagree.
  2. Post rules for the activity and discuss.  Use the same rules as the controversial issues in the classroom method.
  3. Have students stand by the appropriate sign, based on how they feel about the issue being discussed.
  4. Randomly ask students to state a justification for their position. Try to call on all students.
  5. After the reasons have been articulated, ask if there are participants who have changed their minds and would like to move.  They must give their reasons for moving.
  6. Ask participants to state the most compelling reason they heard from their opponents.
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