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30+ Of The Best Middle School Essay Topics For Debating

Middle school is a transformative time for children. It is a crucial point in their lives when many experience emotional, physical, and educational changes as they develop and prepare for high school and success in life.

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One aspect that plays a key role in middle school is debate, which can foster critical thinking and effective communication skills among students.

Best Middle School Essay Topics For Debating

Providing them with engaging essay topics is essential in igniting their passion and sparking lively discussions and arguments.

Luckily, middle schoolers tend to be excellent at debating and arguing, but they must learn to do so with respect. Students need to be taught how to express their own opinions with vigor and confidence, whilst respecting the other’s viewpoints.

Today, we have curated a collection of the best middle school essay topics for debating. These are designed to empower young minds, encouraging them to delve into diverse subjects, analyze multiple perspectives, and articulate their thoughts with clarity and conviction.

From current events to ethical dilemmas, these topics will challenge students to think critically, express their ideas confidently, and develop a deep understanding of the art of persuasive discourse.

Time to expand your student’s minds with knowledge, exploration, and the art of debate!

Why is Debating Important For Middle School Students?

Debating helps develop critical thinking skills, promote effective communication and public speaking abilities, encourage respectful and open-minded discussions, enhance research skills, develop an understanding of diverse perspectives, and cultivate confidence in expressing and defending a student’s opinions.

Moreover, debating allows students to engage with complex topics, develop logical reasoning, and help prepare them for active participation in democratic processes and civic engagement later in life.

1. Describe Whether America Is Prepared For A Female President Or Not

It’s a debate that continues throughout the US and the world. Ask your students to debate whether the United States is prepared for a female president now that we have our first female vice president.

2. Should There Be A Screen Limit For Children?

Do children watch too much TV and play too many video games? Ask students to answer this question with a strong argument behind their viewpoint. They should give evidence to back up their claim.

3. Should The Legal Drinking Age Be Lowered To 18 Like In Other Countries?

What are your student’s thoughts on this ongoing debate regarding the legal drinking age, which has revolved around two main perspectives?

One viewpoint suggests that if an individual is old enough to serve and potentially sacrifice their life for their country, they should also be permitted to consume alcohol.

The opposing stance argues that the human brain isn’t sufficiently matured to handle the effects of alcohol.

4. Should The Government Have The Final Say In What Schools Serve For Lunch?

Do your students have strong opinions about the current selection of low-fat chocolate milk and whole wheat buns? We’d love to hear your perspective on whether you believe the government should have the authority to dictate your lunch choices.

5. Should There Be Stringer, Harsher Punishments For Bullying?

Unfortunately, bullying is something that has always been and will always be around. In the last ten years, it has resulted in a growth of young suicides.

So, bearing this in mind, ask your students about punishment for bullies – are the current punishments enough?

6. Should The Minimum Wage Be Increased To $15/Hour?

The federal minimum wage in the US is currently $7.25 per hour.

The argument lies in whether someone working hard making your favorite fast food at McDonald’s should be earning a wage of at least $15 an hour, whilst someone teaching in their first year with a college education is making close to the same salary. What do your students think?

7. Should Physical Education (Gym Class) Be Compulsory?

Time to debate whether gym class should be a requirement throughout school. Ask your students to back up their reasoning. With an obesity crisis in full swing, one side of the argument may be stronger.

8. Are Parents Responsible For Childhood Obesity?

When you look at the facts, obesity is rife in children these days. But, for this debate, the argument is whether parents are responsible for their child’s weight issues.

Are they responsible for their child’s obesity in the same manner as they are responsible for other aspects of their kid’s life? Ask your students to find facts and studies to back up their arguments.

9. Explain Whether Animal Testing Should Or Should Not Be Banned

Time for your students to elaborate on their stances regarding the use of animal testing, which extends to a wide range of products, including everyday medications, cosmetics such as lipstick, and body washes.

Ask them to discuss whether they believe animal testing should be prohibited altogether or subjected to stricter regulations.

10. Should Students Have Homework On The Weekend? Explain Why Or Why Not

We’re pretty sure this will be a pretty one-sided argument for middle school students, but the question is perfect for students to try and think out of their own comfort zone and personal circumstances.

Ask your students to think about whether homework on the weekend helps them learn more, or if it is detrimental to their development and well-being.

11. Cell Phones – Should They Be Allowed At School?

Ask your students to provide an explanation for whether they should or should not be permitted to have access to their mobile phones while in class or within the school premises.

12. Should Schools Have A Dress Code?

Debate whether schools should have compulsory uniforms or have a slack/zero dress code. Again, ask your students to give reasons behind their views.

13. Should Exotic Animals Be Held in Captivity? I.e. Zoos

In many cases, many exotic animals have a longer life expectancy when in captivity. But, is this a good life for them? Time to debate whether exotic animals should be free in the wild or held in captivity.

14. Is A College Education Necessary For Everyone?

Ask students to explain whether everyone requires a college education or if it’s a good option to follow other paths.

15. Is Cloning Human DNA Immoral?

Our first issue regarding morality arises with the argument of whether scientists are “playing God” when cloning human DNA. Or, is this science vital in the future of medicine and the benefits it can bring? Time to debate!

16. Should Illegal Immigrants Have The Same Rights, Or Even More, Than US National Citizens?

The issue of granting benefits to undocumented immigrants, which builds costs for the American people, has consistently been a contentious point in national elections.

Ask your students to share their perspectives on this debate and analyze how the provision of these rights to illegal immigrants either benefits or negatively impacts the United States.

17. Is It Fair To Have Standardized Tests To Assess Students’ Abilities?

This topic is good to debate as it encourages students to examine the merits and drawbacks of standardized testing, addressing issues of fairness, educational equity, and alternative methods of evaluating student progress and potential.

Best Middle School Essay Topics For Debating

18. Is It Important To Teach Cursive Writing In Schools?

Cursive handwriting is when you join up the letters within a word.

Ask your students to reflect on the relevance of cursive writing skills in the digital age, its cultural heritage, the cognitive benefits associated with handwriting, and whether it is still required today.

19. What Are Your Thoughts On Whether Certain Anti-Discrimination Laws Have A Negative Impact On Our Society Instead Of Being Beneficial?

These days, it is widely known that numerous laws grant specific advantages to individuals based on their race, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, and more.

What is your student’s perspective on whether these laws have positively contributed to our nation as a whole, or if they have created unfairness for those who do not fall into these specialized categories?

20. Can We Truly Make A Difference To Climate Change? Or, Is It Too Big And String An Issue For Us To Affect?

Time for your students to elaborate on their viewpoint regarding the daunting challenge of fighting climate change.

Ask if they believe it is within our capabilities to address and control this issue, or do they hold the belief that it is beyond our control regardless of our efforts?

21. Should Schools Offer More Arts And Music Programs?

This is a great topic to debate as your students can highlight the value of arts and music education in fostering creativity, expression, and overall academic and personal development.

On the other hand, maybe other subjects should take precedence?

22. Should Schools Ban Junk Food And Promote Healthier Eating Habits?

Ask students to address the impact of nutrition on student health, academic performance, and the role of schools in promoting healthy habits and lifestyle choices.

23. Should Felons Have A Right To Vote?

In various states, felons are allowed to vote. Is this fair, or should all felons have this right revoked? A great chance to look at both sides of the argument.

24. Should The Government Have A Stringer Say In What Is Considered “Fake News?”

Considering the use of social media by a large portion of the global population, and its predominant ownership by just one person, the question arises about whether the government should intervene to ensure fair representation of news on these platforms.

Ask your middle schoolers to share their perspective on whether government involvement is necessary to promote fairness in the dissemination of news through social media.

25. Should School Start Times Be Adjusted To Better Match The Sleep Patterns of Students?

This topic is important to debate as it directly impacts students’ well-being and academic performance.

Encouraging discussions on the importance of sleep and the potential benefits of adjusted school schedules for students, in particular, those in middle school, high school, and college.

26. Should There Be A Death Penalty?

Whilst many argue that the death penalty is inhumane and against human rights, others believe some crimes warrant the punishment, such as murder. What do your students think?

27. Should The Government Do More In The Fight Against Human Trafficking?

Discuss whether the government is doing enough in their fight against human trafficking. Could more be done, or are the current steps enough?

28. Should Students Be Allowed To Grade Their Teachers?

If you’re feeling brave, this is a great topic for middle schoolers to debate.

It empowers students to have a voice in their education and promotes a culture of accountability, creating discussions on effective teaching methods, communication, and student-teacher relationships.

If you’re feeling extra brave, ask what they would grade you!

29. Should The School Day Be Shorter?

A typical US school day begins at 7:30 am and ends at 3pm, with extracurricular activities in the afternoons and evenings.

But, with so much to do, as well as homework, should the school day be made shorter to give students more time to do the things they love? This will be a lively debate!

30. Should Students Have More Recess Time?

Although most states do not have recess policies in place, the current recommendation is that boards provide 150 minutes of recess per week in elementary schools and 225 minutes a week in middle school and high school. But, is this enough?

Ask your students to give reasons why this time may be enough, too little, or too much.

31. Is Math The Most Important Subject?

Prompt critical thinking about the relevance and practicality of math in everyday life with this topic. Ask your students to discuss the skills, problem-solving abilities, and logical thinking that math cultivates.

Additionally, explore the importance of how math encourages students to reflect on its connections to various fields of study and potential future career paths.

On the other hand, have them discuss why math may not be as important and why other subjects, such as gym class or science, may be more important.

32. Should Cigarettes Be Illegal?

Considering the substantial evidence highlighting the hazards of smoking, what are your student’s stances on whether it should be prohibited by law?

Alternatively, do they believe such a prohibition would infringe upon someone’s personal rights and potentially pave the way for the ban of other substances or activities, such as alcohol?

33. Are Electronic Voting Machines Fair Or Unfair?

Many argue that electronic voting machines are prone to more errors, resulting in incorrect results. On the other hand, it is argued that paper voting can create just as many, if not more, errors. Down to your students to debate this.

34. Should The Voting Age Be Lowered?

The current voting age in the US is 18, but many argue it should be lowered to 16. What do your students think? Ask them to back up their arguments with relevant reasoning.

In Summary

Arguments and debating are part of life. The earlier we harness debating skills, the better prepared we can be for life.

The topics above are great for middle schoolers to get started with. Just be ready for some heated exchanges!

Simon Lewis

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