100 Good Debate Topics for Middle and High School Students

100 debate topics for students
May 13, 2024
7 min read
Expert Reviewed


Reviewed by:

Mary Banks

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 4/24/24

Debating can greatly impact your ability to develop critical thinking skills, communicate your ideas clearly, and conduct thorough research to support your opinions. Keep reading for a list of popular debate topics for students of all ages. 

When you're in a debate, you learn how to make strong arguments, really listen to what others are saying, and quickly respond. It's like mental gymnastics, making you sharper and quicker-witted. 

We've put together a huge list of 100 debate topics that are perfect for middle and high school students like you. These topics cover all sorts of areas, so there's something for everyone. Plus, we've thrown in some tips to help you get even better at debating and answered some common questions about how debating works in schools.

Debating is not just about winning arguments; it's about understanding all sides of an issue. This skill is super useful, not just in school but in life. Whether you're discussing something with friends or figuring out your own beliefs, being able to debate helps a ton. 

And remember, a good debater can argue any side of an issue because they understand the importance of seeing the full picture. So, dive into these debate topics for students and see which ones get you fired up to start debating. Who knows? You might discover a passion for something new or find out you're really good at making your point.

Popular Debate Topics in School

These middle school and high school debate topics will help students foster a deeper understanding of complex issues, hone their critical thinking skills, and cultivate respectful dialogue.

Debate Topics About Society and Governance

Explore pressing issues and engage in thoughtful discussions with these curated debate topics focused on societal trends and governance challenges.

Debate Topics for High School About Politics

  1. Is democracy the best form of government? 
  2. Should voting be mandatory? 
  3. Can protests create change? 
  4. Should the Electoral College stay? 
  5. Is nationalism beneficial? 
  6. Should Political Campaign Funding Be Publicly Financed? 
  7. Is Political Polarization Threatening Democracy? 

Debate Topics for High School About Government

  1. Big vs. small government? 
  2. Should the government regulate the Internet?
  3. Can censorship ever be justified?
  4. Government funding for space exploration? 
  5. Is universal healthcare a government responsibility? 
  6. Should electoral systems be reformed to enhance democratic processes?

Debate Topics for High School About Business

  1. Corporate Social Responsibility: Necessary? 
  2. Minimum Wage: Essential or Excessive?
  3. Businesses as Social Problem Solvers?
  4. The Gig Economy: Exploitative or Empowering? 
  5. Profit vs. Ethics: Where Should Companies Stand? 
  6. Should Companies Embrace Remote Work Permanently? 
  7. Is Universal Basic Income a Viable Solution to Economic Inequality? 
  8. Should Businesses Be Required to Disclose Their Environmental Footprint? 
  9. Are Subscription-Based Business Models Sustainable in the Long Run? 
  10. Is the Sharing Economy Beneficial for Society? 

Debate Topics About Humanities and Arts

Dive into the rich world of cultural expression and historical perspectives with these engaging debate topics for humanities and arts.

Debate Topics for High School About History

  1. Was the Industrial Revolution beneficial or detrimental? 
  2. Should historical figures be judged by modern standards?
  3. Is history destined to repeat itself?
  4. Were the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki justified? 
  5. How has colonialism shaped the modern world? 

Debate Topics for High School About Philosophy

  1. Do humans have free will? 
  2. Is there life after death? 
  3. Can morality exist without religion? 
  4. Is happiness the ultimate goal of life? 
  5. Should the truth be prioritized above all? 
  6. Do humans have an inherent purpose? 
  7. Is reality subjective?
  8. Are moral absolutes possible? 

Debate Topics for High School About Beauty

  1. Is beauty subjective or objective? 
  2. Has social media distorted beauty perceptions? 
  3. Should cosmetic surgery be banned for minors?
  4. Are beauty contests harmful? 
  5. Can beauty standards be harmful?

Debate Topics About Science and Technology

Uncover the complexities and advancements in our world through these stimulating debate topics centered on science and technology.

Debate Topics for High School About Science

  1. Is genetic engineering ethical? 
  2. Should we invest in space exploration? 
  3. Can science solve all problems? 
  4. Is climate change the greatest threat? 
  5. Are humans overly reliant on technology?
  6. Should Pluto be classified as a planet?

Debate Topics for High School About Nature

  1. Preserve or develop national parks? 
  2. Is veganism the environmental solution? 
  3. Balancing development and environmental protection?
  4. Is hunting ethical? 
  5. Should zoos exist? 
  6. Should Governments Implement Stricter Regulations to Combat Deforestation?.
  7. Is Urbanization Positively or Negatively Impacting Biodiversity?
  8. Should Plastic Straws Be Banned to Reduce Ocean Pollution? 
  9. Is Ecotourism an Effective Tool for Conservation? 
  10. Should Protected Areas Be Opened to Limited Sustainable Development? 

Debate Topics for High School About Technology

  1. Should there be limits to artificial intelligence development? 
  2. Is technology dehumanizing us? 
  3. Can privacy survive in the digital era? 
  4. Should social media face regulation? 
  5. Is internet access a human right? 

Debate Topics About Health and Ethics

Explore the intersection of well-being and moral principles with these thought-provoking debate topics on health and ethics.

Debate Topics for High School About Ethics

  1. Is capital punishment justified? 
  2. Should euthanasia be legalized? 
  3. Is animal testing ethical? 
  4. Do social media companies restrict free speech? 
  5. Should cloning be permitted? 

Debate Topics for High School About Health

  1. Should vaccinations be mandatory for all? 
  2. Is mental health sufficiently prioritized in society? 
  3. Should junk food be subject to taxation? 
  4. Is the pharmaceutical industry profit-driven?
  5. Can technology effectively address health challenges?

Debate Topics About Culture and Entertainment

Delve into the vibrant and ever-evolving landscape of culture and entertainment with these diverse debate topics designed to spark lively discussions.

Funny Debate Topics for High School and Middle School

  1. Are cats superior to dogs as pets? 
  2. Is pineapple an acceptable topping for pizza?
  3. Should superheroes serve as role models? 
  4. Can video games qualify as a sport? 
  5. Is intelligence more valuable than humor? 
  6. Is cereal soup? 
  7. Should socks be worn with sandals? 
  8. Is water wet? 
  9. Is a hot dog a sandwich? 
  10. Should pants be worn at the waist or ankles? 

Debate Topics for High School About Pop Culture

  1. Do Celebrities Have a Responsibility to Be Role Models? 
  2. Is Binge-Watching TV Shows Harmful?
  3. Should Music with Explicit Lyrics Be Banned? 
  4. Is Social Media Creating Unrealistic Life Expectations?
  5. Can Video Games Be Considered Art? 
  6. Do Reality TV Shows Reflect Reality? 
  7. Is TikTok a Positive Influence on Youth Culture? Should Fan Fiction be Considered Legitimate Literature? 
  8. Are Remakes and Reboots Ruining Classic Films and TV Shows? 
  9. Is Cancel Culture Justified?

Debate Topics About High School About Education

Engage with critical educational issues and ideas through these carefully selected debate topics tailored for high school students.

  1. Should uniforms be mandatory in schools? 
  2. Is homework beneficial or harmful? 
  3. Should school start times be later? 
  4. Can online learning replace traditional classrooms?
  5. Should schools ban junk food? Is a college education worth the cost? 
  6. Should vocational training be favored over traditional college education?
  7. Are standardized tests effective in measuring student ability? 
  8. Should schools incorporate life skills into their curriculum?
  9. Is homeschooling a preferable alternative to traditional schooling? 

Tips on How to Improve Your Debating Skills

Debating enhances critical thinking, communication, and persuasion, with key improvement strategies including active listening for effective counterarguments and confident, clear presentation of your points. The following are core strategies for strengthening your debating skills:

Research Thoroughly

Before engaging in a debate, thoroughly research the topic at hand. Familiarize yourself with both sides of the argument, gather relevant facts, statistics, and evidence to support your points, and anticipate counterarguments.

Practice Active Listening

Effective debating requires not only presenting your own arguments persuasively but also actively listening to your opponent's points. Pay close attention to what they're saying, identify their key arguments, and be prepared to respond thoughtfully.

Develop Strong Arguments

Construct clear, concise, and logical arguments to support your position. Use evidence, examples, and reasoning to strengthen your points and make them more persuasive. Avoid relying solely on emotional appeals or unsupported assertions.

Refute Counterarguments

Anticipate potential counterarguments from your opponent and prepare responses to refute them. Address opposing viewpoints directly, acknowledge valid points, and offer compelling rebuttals supported by evidence.

Maintain Civility and Respect

Debating is a constructive exchange of ideas, so it's essential to maintain civility and respect towards your opponent. Avoid personal attacks, derogatory language, or disrespectful behavior, and focus on the substance of the arguments.

Improve Your Public Speaking Skills

Effective communication is key to successful debating. Work on improving your public speaking skills, including voice modulation, articulation, and body language, to convey your arguments confidently and persuasively.

Practice Debating Regularly

Like any skill, debating improves with practice. Take advantage of opportunities to participate in debates, whether in school, community, or online forums. Practice debating different topics, engage with diverse viewpoints, and seek feedback to identify areas for improvement.

Stay Informed

Stay updated on current events, social issues, and developments in areas of interest. Being well-informed allows you to engage in debates on a wide range of topics and contribute more effectively to discussions.

Embrace Constructive Feedback

Be open to receiving feedback from peers, coaches, or judges on your debating performance. Use feedback as an opportunity to learn and grow, identifying strengths to build on and areas for improvement.

Reflect and Learn

After each debate, take time to reflect on your performance. Consider what went well, what could have been done differently, and how you can continue to refine your debating skills. Learning from each experience will help you become a more effective debater over time.

By implementing these tips and strategies, you can strengthen your debating skills and become a more confident and persuasive communicator. Whether you're debating in a formal setting or engaging in discussions in everyday life, honing your debating skills will serve you well in effectively expressing your viewpoints and influencing others.


The following are some frequently asked questions about debate topics for students.

1. What Are Some Engaging Debate Topics Suitable for High School Students?

Engaging debate topics can cover a wide range of issues for high school students, from politics and ethics to technology and pop culture. Some examples include discussions on the importance of environmental conservation, the impact of social media on society, the ethics of genetic engineering, and the role of government in regulating technology.

2. What Are the Good Debate Topics for Middle School?

Middle school students can enjoy debating topics that are relevant to their age group and interests. Examples of good debate topics for middle school include discussions on school uniform policies, the benefits and drawbacks of social media use among teenagers, the importance of recycling and environmental conservation, and the impact of video games on young minds.

3. What Are Some Examples of Current Events That Can Be Debated in High School Settings?

Current events provide a rich source of debate topics for high school students. Some examples include discussions on climate change and environmental policy, gun control and school safety measures, immigration reform and refugee policies, the role of social media in politics, and healthcare access and affordability.

4. Can You Provide Some Guidance on Selecting Age-Appropriate Debate Topics for High School?

When selecting debate topics for high school students, it's important to consider their maturity level, interests, and knowledge base. Topics should be relevant to their lives and experiences but also challenging enough to stimulate critical thinking and discussion. 

It’s best to avoid overly controversial topics for students. Instead, choose intellectually stimulating questions that are age-appropriate in terms of complexity and sensitivity. Be sure to consider debaters’ maturity level, interests, and knowledge base to foster engaging and respectful discussions.

Final Thoughts

Debate is like a superpower for your brain, letting you boost your critical thinking and make your communication skills seriously sharp. When you explore debate topics for students, especially those focusing on crucial societal issues, you're given the chance to throw your ideas into the ring, defend them, and maybe even change your mind along the way.

Teachers are always on the lookout for the best debate topics that fit just right for high schoolers, making sure everyone's pumped to get involved and see things from different angles. This isn't just about winning an argument; it's about getting curious, understanding where others are coming from, and learning a ton in the process.

So, whether you're stepping up to the debate stage in high school or middle school, jumping into these discussions is a game-changer. It's all about growing your skills, thinking on your feet, and getting ready to tackle the big, wild world out there with confidence.

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