Critical Thinking Assignment: The "March Madness" Style debate

One of my favorite research projects is a "March Madness" style debate

Here are some topic ideas:

  • Who was the most influential Physicist of all time? (spice it up by removing Einstein and Newton as contenders)
  • Which Physics technology has had the greatest impact (positive or negative) on society? (Or take a green angle and focus on the environment)
  • Which global environmental issue requires the most funding/attention in next year?

These are topics that can be easily switched up for Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, A&P, Environmental Science.


Students choose a topic and research and CURATE that research down to half a page. Create a randomized bracket, have the students share their work - then the students vote! 

I'm not the type of person who loves debates, so I keep things light and remind the students they've voting for the topic - not the student.

Bonus tip:

I have the students submit their work a day or two before they present. That way they know the performance of their topic does not affect their grade.


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Why you'll love this:

  • Students get deep knowledge in one topic
  • Critical thinking: students can't just copy and paste their research - they need to curate that research down to the most important parts 
  • Low-prep activity 
  • Students work independently yet all students benefit, learning from one another's research
  • Quick & easy grading for us
  • AMAZING discussions - the student audience in my class tends to get involved to add to the debate



Mrs. Brosseau's Binder


P.S. To avoid repeated topics, I have students go on Google Classroom and comment on a post to select their topics "first named, first claimed".



  1. What a creative approach to engaging students in research and critical thinking! I'm curious, how could this 'March Madness' style debate concept be adapted for students seeking MBA essay help Canada, fostering collaborative learning while honing individual research and presentation skills?

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