Location: Computer room
Skills Focus: Reading/ Discussing choices
Language focus: Guessing meaning from context
Game: Argument Wars
In this game you play a lawyer working on a case in court. You have to choose and present your arguments to the judge while also arguing with the opposing lawyer. The lawyer who presents the best argument wins.
Teachers have been using this game at our school for over a year and they think it’s not only great reading practice but also a great platform to present and discuss some very important issues. This game is a little complicated with lots to read and do but the nice thing about this game is that there is a tutorial at the beginning which teaches you how to play the game.
There are 8 different cases to take on and play which include (by name of case and theme):
Brown Vs Board of Education School segregation based on race.
Gideon VsWainwright Should criminal defendants pay for their own lawyers.
*Hazelwood Vs Kuhlmeier Should students be able to write what they want in a school paper.
*In Re Galt Vs California Juvenilles in courts have a right to have a say.
Miranda Vs Arizona Criminal suspects have the right to remain silent.
*New Jersey Vs T.L.O. Students have the total right to keep things private at school.
Snyder Vs Phelps All people have a right to express their opinions publicly.
Texas Vs Johnson Is it right to burn the American flag?
By the way, you can register if you want so that your games will be saved but if you only plan a short stint on argument wars then answering ‘no thanks’ on the ‘sign into your account’ means you play an unregistered game.
I’ve found the best way to introduce these themes is to have each one written on the board.
Discuss each one open class and then choose the theme that generates the most language and interest.
Divide the class into two groups and get one to prepare arguments for and arguments against.
Place students in pairs of one student from each of the group and ask them to present their arguments to their partner and make a decision.
Take a class vote on which argument was the most convincing.
Students access the game on multiple computers in pairs of like minded students. That is, two who were against the idea or two who were for the idea.
Students play the game making a note of any difficult language for later.
Back in open class students discuss the game, how they did, what arguments were the strongest (on either side) and any language they made a note of.
A different case could be set for homework or alternatively students prepare their own cases based on agreed themes in the class.