Pro And Con Essay Topics Middle School


By Phil Nast, retired middle school teacher and freelance writer

Found In:language arts; social studies; 6-8; 9-12

The goal of ProCon.org - Pros and Cons of Controversial Issues is to promote “critical thinking, education, and informed citizenship by presenting controversial issues in a straightforward, nonpartisan, primarily pro-con format.” Currently, the website lists 55 controversial issues under these headings:

  • Education,
  • Elections and Presidents,
  • Health and Medicine,
  • Media and Entertainment,
  • Politics, Religion,
  • Science and Technology,
  • Sex and Gender,
  • Sports, and
  • World/International.

Issues covered include standardized tests, teacher tenure, abortion, right to health care, video games and violence, insider trading by Congress, death penalty, illegal immigration, cell phones, and gay marriage. Current issues are regularly updated. Archived issues are not.

How to Use ProCon.org ( PDF, 2.1 MB, 8 pgs.) is an overview of the website in PDF format.

Teachers’ Corner features lesson plan ideas and lists national teaching standards. It provides a rationale for teaching critical thinking with controversial issues. Students will find examples of bibliographic citations using APA, Chicago, MLA, and Turabian formats.

A representative issue is Social Networking. The issue includes a “Did You Know?” section with statistics, pro and con arguments and statements, background material, and a video gallery. Pro and con statements come from academics, journalists, and other professionals. Background images include a composite of the logos of more than 200 social media websites and a world map of social networks. One video examines the role social networking sites played during the 2009 protests in Iran.

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