Debates are a critical part of elections and provide a forum for candidates to share their views and propose solutions to important issues. There are specific skills required to perform well in a debate. The ability to make a case, communicate points of view, respond to questions and clearly articulate solutions are life skills that can begin in the classroom.

PBS NewsHour and Microsoft Launch WatchTheDebates.org

To mark the start of the 2016 general election debates, PBS NewsHour and Microsoft have partnered to launch WatchTheDebates.org, an interactive civic education and voter engagement site that provides access to every general election debate since 1960. WatchTheDebates allows visitors the ability to screen entire debates and highlights, track specific issues over the years, and interact with the content using online voting tools from Microsoft Pulse. This platform enhances an existing civic education partnership between PBS and the Commission on Presidential Debates.

Behind the scenes at the PBS NewsHour Democratic Primary Debate

The night of the PBS NewsHour Democratic Primary Debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin four Wauwatosa West High School students had an all-access pass to film behind the scenes. Pushing past the tight security and NO ENTRY signs, they interviewed the event director, city mayor and major political analysts.

Hosting a Presidential Debate – Lesson Plan

Students will watch one of the 2016 debates, and then hold a debate of their own focusing on the major issue that emerged from that debate. Eight students on two debate teams will compose arguments and practice debating. The rest of the class will review the history of presidential debates and learn about logical fallacies and techniques of persuasion, which are practiced using actual debate statements by John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama. On debate day, the class members choose the winning team and try to catch debaters in logic errors.

WATCH LIVE: PBS NewsHour Democratic Primary Debate

Once a formidable front-runner, Hillary Clinton narrowly won Iowa’s caucuses and has watched her national lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders begin to erode. In New Hampshire, a big Sanders victory could help him make headway among women and minority voters, important parts of the coalition that twice elected Barack Obama as president. It’s with this backdrop that the two will meet for the sixth time on the debate stage, this time in Milwaukee. Watch Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff moderate the PBS NewsHour Democratic Primary Debate in partnership with Facebook, 9 p.m. EST Thursday, Feb. 11. NewsHour will be live streaming the event, from the Helen Bader Concert Hall on the main campus of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, in the player above. You can also watch it on your local PBS station.

The Great Debates | 60-Second Presidents

Learn the role of president's played in shaping the nation's "Great Debates" in this activity from 60-Second Presidents. Using resources from within PBS LearningMedia, students will research the power that the executive branch has in determining America's place in foreign affairs and write an essay in which they present their informed opinion on this topic.

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Debates & the Race for the White House

Stacey Delikat reports on the impact past debates have had on elections. Students can explore the impact past debates have had on the electoral process and major aspects of Presidential Debates.