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Academic Controversy
Essential Characteristics:   Pages:
Primary Mode Collaborative 199-201
Activity Focus Reading, Discussing
Duration of Activity Single Session
Online Transferability High
Description and Purpose

Student partners review material on a controversial topic in the field that has two opposing sides (A and B) and brainstorm arguments to support their assigned position. Pairs then split up and students move around the room, talking to other students on the same side (A's talking to A's) to come up with new arguments to strengthen their position. In quads, pairs present their arguments, then switch sides and argue the opposite side of the controversy, and finally work together to come to a consensus position.

This SET requires students to do in-depth analysis of an issue. Because students must discuss and argue both sides of a controversy, it can challenge students' existing assumptions and move them beyond simple dualistic thinking. Additionally, presenting their views and listening to the views of others can develop communication skills.

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