Gaming The 2016 Election – Videos & Toolkits To Let Students Join The Debates

Source: PBS Learning Media


In the modern era, presidential debates have become must-see theater. In many cases, these general election showdowns have produced critical moments to determine the November outcomes. Even at their most pedantic, these debates are rare opportunities to hear the nation\’s leaders speak directly to citizens and to each other. Voters can judge how the candidates handle themselves on the world\’s largest stage.

The first debate between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump at Hofstra University (down the road from us here on Long Island) on Monday, September 26, 2016, is predicted to shatter television viewing records. Not incorporating this event into a day\’s lesson, therefore, would constitute educational malpractice.

Source: Watch The Debates


Teachers need to foster in their students an appreciation for civics. They need to guide young people toward understanding rhetoric and messaging. They need to use policy discussions as springboards to social awareness and future voting choices. One way to do this is by incorporating the practices of game interactions. This \”gamification\” approach to learning puts students in the driver\’s seat.

Source: PBS Learning Media

Fortunately, PBS has put together two terrific resources to bring the debates to life. The first is \”Watch The Debates\” from PBS Newshour. It allows users to view and interact with every candidate confrontation since 1960. Students can watch full encounters or highlights, and they can respond with their own verdicts.

The second resource is \”Join The Debates,\” from PBS Learning Media. This site provides educators with a poster and toolkit to stage student dialogues in their own classrooms. Based on the Harkness Method and Spider Web discussion, these detailed guides allow children to reenact the debate format. Kids become owners of their own opinions, and they gain a better appreciation of the rigors of presidential parleys and the complexities of global issues.