Debate Terminology Bingo


Debate Bingo is an interactive and engaging activity designed to familiarize students with the terminology and key concepts employed in debates. By listening actively to either debate clips shared by the instructor or using students to perform key terms, and then, marking relevant terms on their cards, students are not only introduced to the language of debate but also trained to listen attentively for specific arguments and techniques.


This activity is perfect for introducing newcomers to the world of debate. It’s especially effective at the beginning of a debate curriculum to provide a foundation in essential terminology and to cultivate a keen ear for important debate elements.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Terminology Familiarity: Students will recognize, understand, and recall essential debate-related terms and concepts, allowing them to better comprehend debate contexts and discussions.
  2. Active Listening: By focusing on identifying specific terms and techniques in debate clips, students will sharpen their listening skills, which are crucial in real-life debates to understand opponents’ arguments and craft effective rebuttals.
  3. Analytical Acuity: As students become adept at identifying various debate elements quickly, they’ll start to analyze how these elements are used effectively or ineffectively in the debate context, deepening their understanding of debate strategies.


Preparation: Click here to use our pre-made bingo cards for a quick start!

Create a list of 25 (or more) debate-related terms that you’re using in your classroom. Below there are a list of debate-related words that you could use for this activity. The words you use will depend on whether you are using clips from a debate or having students perform elements from a debate.

Bingo Card Creation: Design bingo cards (5×5 grids) using these terms, ensuring that each card has a different combination. The center square can be a “Free Space.”

Playing the Game: Option 1

  • Play clips from a debate that you have watched and marked for different debate-related words. These can be sourced from YouTube, debate tournaments, or news channels where formal debates are conducted.
  • As students listen, they should mark off squares on their card when they hear or recognize a term or concept being demonstrated.
  • When a student gets five squares in a row, column, or diagonal, they shout “Bingo!”
  • Check the students terms to see if they identified the correct terms for the videos shown.

Playing the Game: Option 2

  • Randomly select a pair of students to come to the front of the class. They will be responsible for enacting the debate term with the topic the instructor has selected. This could be a topic that the class will be using at a tournament, or it could be a SPAR (Spontaneous Argumentation) topic. Alternatively, you can prepare students in advance so that each pair has had time to review and practice terms and create their own examples to read to the class.
    • If students are very new to debate, the instructor should write statements for students to read to the class associated with the debate terms.
  • Have a pile or bowl containing all the terms. The teacher or student can draw terms from this pile.
  • As each term is drawn, the pair at the front should either enact a brief demonstration of the term or read the statement from the card. For example, if “rebuttal” is drawn, one student might present an argument, and the other would offer a quick rebuttal.
  • After the demonstration, students in the audience mark off that term on their bingo card if they have it.
  • The first student or group of students to get five squares in a row (horizontally, vertically, or diagonally) and shouts “Bingo!” is the winner.

Review: If students are learning terms, consider having a review after each term is demonstrated or shown on a video. After each term, allow a brief moment for any clarifying questions to ensure everyone understands the term. At the end of the game, review all the terms discussed, emphasizing their significance in the debate context.

Suggested words for Bingo Cards

  • Case Overview
  • Rebuttal
  • Affirmative Contention
  • Negative Contention
  • Cross-examination
  • Data / Evidence
  • Impact
  • Warrant
  • Claim
  • Resolution
  • Status quo
  • Topicality
  • Weighing (Arguments)
  • Voting Issue
  • Fallacy
    • Slippery Slope Argument
    • Straw Man Argument
    • Ad Hominem
    • Hasty Generalization
  • Ethos
  • Pathos
  • Logos
  • “Going down the flow”
  • Tagline
  • Evidence Card
  • Drop (an argument)
  • Extend (Extension)
  • Signpost
  • Value
  • Criterion

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