Be Informed of Current Conflicts in Science

Gaining a Foundational Understanding of Current Conflicts in Science and Research
Lesson Plan 

by Rui Song, grade 11 student, Author and Editor of the Journal of Student Science and Technology, Student Researcher at University of Saskatchewan

This is a final project for [insert class name here], in which students are encouraged to be informed and active participants in current conflicts in research.

The instructor should begin by choosing a relevant conflict or debate in research. Students will then research the issue, with a requirement that they reference reliable and accurate sources (newspaper articles, books, and journal articles). This will then lead to a formal paper with an antithesis. To further discussion, a debate on the topic will also be conducted at the end of this project.

Students and teachers are encouraged to submit their research papers to the Journal of Student Science and Technology for possible publication in our new section “InSights”. Students and teachers are also encouraged to submit video recordings and sound-bites from their debates for publication on the Foundation of Student Science and Technology’s Youtube, Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Here are several links with instructions for authors of Journal articles, a research essay checklist, and a web page detailing online submission to the Journal: ---CHANGE TO NEW URL?--- ents/a/researchchecklist.htm ---CHANGE TO NEW URL?---


  1. Research Notes and Resource List (minimum 10 sources)
  2. Formal Research Paper with Antithesis
  3. Class Debate

The project will have three parts and will be due on three separate dates:

  1. Research Notes and Resource List Due On:
  2. Research Paper Due On:
  3. Class Debate On:

Remember to use your time wisely. Do not leave all the work until the last minute.

1. Research Notes and Resource List

This should include 10 pages (double spaced) of research notes and a bibliography in proper APA format. One part will not be accepted without the other.
Research Notes

Your notes should be double spaced and organized according to key themes or points supporting each side of the debate. Be sure to write out the full key theme, not just “Point 1”, “Point 2” or “Point 3”.

Under each theme heading, write down information, quotes, statistics and examples that are relevant to that particular idea. Make sure that each of your entries is documented (with embedded citations and a Works Cited List) properly so that you can remember where you found the information, and use the source in the future.


You need a minimum of ten sources (these sources MUST be reliable and accurate). Set up your list of your resources in the same format as your Works Cited list (APA style) For more information on how to create bibliographies, Works Cited lists, and embedded citations, please refer to the students' research guide on the library website.

2. Research Paper

  • Double-spaced
  • 12 point
  • Times New Roman
  • 8-10 pages
  • 1 inch margins all around

This research paper is a dialectic essay with an antithesis. What this means is that you will explore the harms and benefits of both sides of the debate throughout the essay, with the thesis being the perspective that you initially support and the antithesis being the opposite perspective. By the end of the essay, you should have either confirmed your support of one perspective, or created a synthesis between these two perspectives.

The structure of this essay will be similar the five-paragraph essay, but you will have much more flexibility with the number of paragraphs and the number of topics presented. Regardless of the number of topics presented, the essay should start with the introduction. This leads the reader from the general subject area to the specific research topic that will be dealt with in the paper. It should start with a captivating and relevant topic sentence. Remember, this is the reader's first impression of the paper – you want it to be a good one! The introduction should also state your final thesis and summarize the arguments you have decided to use. Make sure the arguments are clear and to-the-point.

Next are the body paragraphs. Within each idea or argument presented in the body paragraphs, ensure that there are at least three pieces of evidence to support your arguments. This should be done in proper paragraph structure. Make sure each paragraph starts with an appropriate topic sentence and ends with a proper concluding or connecting sentence. It is also important to have sentences linking the content of neighbouring paragraphs.

The last section of the research paper is the conclusion. In this section, you should either come to a consensus as to which perspective is the most accurate or create a synthesis between the various perspectives. In the conclusion, you should also remember to summarize your findings.

In-paper citations are also crucial. Since this is a research paper that relies heavily on the reliability of the source, each argument, statistic or piece of information must be cross-referenced by at least one source. The paper should also have a reference list, which indicates the resources used directly in the paper in alphabetical order in proper APA format. A bibliography which includes the resources used directly and indirectly must also be included in proper APA format. Also, remember to include page numbers.

In terms of the structure of argumentation in the dialectic essay, this is largely flexible. Commonly used strategies include:

Pro Perspective1
Con Perspective 1
Pro Prospective 2
Con Prospective 2
Pro Perspective1
Con Perspective 1
Pro Prospective 2
Con Prospective 2 …
Pro Perspective 1
Con Perspective 1
Pro Perspective 1
Con Perspective 1
Pro Perspective 1
Con Perspective 1…
Pro Perspective 2
Con Perspective 2
Pro Perspective 2
Con Perspective 2
Pro Perspective 2
Con Perspective 2…

These strategies are only suggestions. Ultimately the argumentation structure of your paper should be largely based on the content of the paper, and what structure works best for the content.

Submit your Research Paper to the Journal of Student Science and Technology. 

3. Debate

After completing research notes and the research paper, students should have a foundational understanding of the topic. The instructors should then arrange the class into separate groups, with each group representing a different perspective on the issue.

Each group will then select 5 speakers: 3 of whom will present an argument each, 1 who will be responsible for rebutting the other side’s arguments, and 1 who will be responsible for the closing statement.

The times for each speaker are listed below:

Argument 1: 2 minutes
Argument 2: 2 minutes
Argument 3: 2 minutes
Rebuttal: 1 minute per speech, 3 speeches, total = 3 minutes
Closing Statement: 3 minutes

The order of the debate is as follows:

Team 1 Argument 1
Team 2 Rebuttal
Team 2 Argument 1
Team 1 Rebuttal
Team 1 Argument 2
Team 2 Rebuttal
Team 2 Argument 2
Team 1 Rebuttal
Team 1 Argument 3
Team 2 Rebuttal
Team 2 Argument 3
Team 1 Rebuttal
Team 1 Closing Statement
Team 2 Closing Statement

The debate will be moderated by the instructor to ensure civil behaviour and courtesy. If the speaker goes beyond his/her speaking time, then he/she will be interrupted by the moderator and asked to stop speaking.

Other group members who do not have speaking roles are still expected to contribute to research and brainstorming during the debate.

The structures of the speeches are very flexible, as a variety of public-speaking techniques can be employed to persuade and convince. However, speakers should always to remember with speak with clarity, volume and poise.

Submit a video recording of your debate to the Journal of Student Science and Technology.