Award-Winning Lesson Encourages Debate

Teresa Potter receives a plaque from President Joseph Kerski at the awards ceremony at NCGE’s National Conference in Portland, Ore.

The recipient of the 2011 NCGE/Herff Jones Nystrom Award uses classroom research and debate to teach about historic and contemporary issues.

Teresa Potter, who teaches grades three through six at Fisher Elementary School in Oklahoma City, was honored  for a her lesson entitled “Read, Write, Debate, Create!

The NCGE/Herff Jones Nystrom Award honors a K-12 teacher for an exemplary lesson plan.

Potter aims for the lesson to “engage students in exploring how everyday activities such as tourism can affect the environment in positive and negative ways.”

Potter’s lesson plan focuses on tourism in Africa, but she says it can be adapted to examine other issues. Her fifth graders debated the issue of American independence from Great Britain in the colonial era.

In addition to learning about the pros and cons of the issue they are researching, Potter’s students organize evidence and opinions to support their argument and counter opposing points of view during a debate.

Herff Jones Nystrom, which provides a $1,500 cash prize for the award winner, publishes maps, globes, atlases, and other materials.


4 thoughts on “Award-Winning Lesson Encourages Debate

  1. I enjo0yed reading this article and seeing that teachers are encourage to come up with such great lesson plans. Mrs. Potter’s lesson seems like a really great learning experience for all of the students and I like how much focus it has on engaging the students. I think as a society we need to focus a lot more on engaging students in the learning process.

    • I 100% agree with you. I think making lessons more engaging and relevant to the students lives promotes a better understanding of social studies. I like that the lessons are more about experiences rather than just sitting and listening.

  2. I loved reading Mrs.Potter’s lesson plans! She did a great job of bringing other content areas into them as well. She had fun activities for the students that will keep them engaged while they are learning. I especially enjoyed the lesson “out of gas” because this is becoming a problem and it is important to provide students with that information.

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