WHY ARE WE FASCINATED WITH CELEBRITIES AND WEALTHY PEOPLE ON TELEVISION AND SOCIAL MEDIA?
IS IT RIGHT FOR SCHOOLS TO RAISE MONEY BY SELLING CANDY AND UNHEALTHY FOODS TO STUDENTS?
SHOULD GIRLS BE ALLOWED TO PLAY ON BOYS SPORTING TEAMS?
IS TEACHING HANDWRITING A WASTE OF TIME IN THIS DAY AND AGE?
SHOULD THERE BE FAR GREATER RESTRICTIONS AROUND WHAT CAN BE POSTED ON THE INTERNET?
SHOULD PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES HAVE TO TAKE DRUG TESTS?
ARE TEENAGE PREGNANCY SHOWS A NEGATIVE OR POSITIVE INFLUENCE UPON VIEWERS?
SHOULD GAMBLING BE PROMOTED IN ANY WAY IN SPORTS EVEN THOUGH IT BRINGS IN LARGE AMOUNTS OF REVENUE?
SHOULD SPORTING TEAMS THAT LOSE BE REWARDED BY RECEIVING INCENTIVES SUCH AS HIGH DRAFT PICKS AND / OR FINANCIAL BENEFITS?
SHOULD SHARKS THAT ATTACK PEOPLE BE DESTROYED?
SHOULD WE GET INVOLVED IN FOREIGN CONFLICTS AND ISSUES THAT DON’T DIRECTLY AFFECT OUR COUNTRY?
COULD VIDEO GAMES BE CONSIDERED AS A PROFESSIONAL SPORT?
IF YOU WERE THE LEADER OF YOUR COUNTRY AND HAD A LARGE SURPLUS TO SPEND WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH IT?
WHEN SHOULD A PERSON BE CONSIDERED AND TREATED AS AN ADULT.
SHOULD SMOKING BECOME AN ILLEGAL ACTIVITY?
SHOULD THE VOTING AGE BE LOWERED?
DOES PROTECTIVE PADDING IN SPORT MAKE IT MORE DANGEROUS?
SHOULD CELL PHONES BE ALLOWED IN THE CLASSROOM?
IS TEACHING A FOREIGN LANGUAGE A WASTE OF TIME?
SHOULD WE TEACH ETIQUETTE IN SCHOOLS?
Updated, March 2, 2017 | We have two related question lists, “401 Prompts for Argumentative Writing” and “650 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing.”
In anticipation of our third annual Student Editorial Contest (to be announced on Feb. 25), we’ve done the math, and below you’ll find the 100 most-commented-upon questions we’ve ever asked that call for persuasive writing.
Many of them are, of course, on topics teenagers care about — technology, video games, sports and gender issues. Others are classic debate issues like government regulation and gun violence.
But, perhaps unsurprisingly, the broad topic that seems to engage students the most? School — from questions about homework to cheating, bad report cards, bullying and gym class.
So skim the list and pick issues that interest you. Each question is linked to a related Times article, which you can access free, and includes additional subquestions to help you flesh out your ideas.
Our 100 Most Popular Student Questions for Debate and Argumentative Writing
“I Forgot My Phone” | Does technology make us more alone?
- Are the Web Filters at Your School Too Restrictive?
- Does Technology Make Us More Alone?
- How Should Parents Handle a Bad Report Card?
- Should Middle School Students Be Drug Tested?
- Is Cheating Getting Worse?
- Do Violent Video Games Make People More Violent in Real Life?
- Do We Give Children Too Many Trophies?
- Should Students Be Able to Grade Their Teachers?
- Should Schools Put Tracking Devices in Students’ ID Cards?
- If Football Is So Dangerous to Players, Should We Be Watching It?
- Should Video Games Be Considered a Sport?
- Do Teachers Assign Too Much Homework?
- Does Technology Get in the Way of Learning?
- What Is More Important: Our Privacy or National Security?
- Should Stores Sell Violent Video Games to Minors?
- Is a Healthier School Lunch Program a Lost Cause?
- How Young Is Too Young for an iPhone?
- Is Cheerleading a Sport?
- Should the School Day Start Later?
- Should Racial Epithets Be Removed From ‘Huck Finn’?
- Should Schools Offer Cash Bonuses for Good Test Scores?
- Can Money Buy You Happiness?
- Should Women Be Allowed to Fight on the Front Lines Alongside Men? And, Should They Be Required to Register for the Draft?
- Is There Too Much Pressure on Girls to Have ‘Perfect’ Bodies?
- Should the Private Lives of Famous People Be Off Limits?
- Is School Teaching You the Skills You’ll Need to Succeed in Life?
- What Current Musicians Will Stand the Test of Time?
- What Words or Phrases Are Overused and Should Go Away?
- Can Cellphones Be Educational Tools?
- Is School Designed More for Girls Than Boys?
- Do Kids Need Recess?
- What Time Should Black Friday Sales Start?
- Do Photoshopped Images Promote Unrealistic Expectations of Beauty and Body Image?
- What Should Be Done to Stop Cyberbullying?
- When Should You Feel Guilty for Killing Zombies?
- How Should We Prevent Future Mass Shootings?
- Is It Unethical for Zoos to Kill Healthy Animals Under Their Care?
- Is a Longer School Calendar a Good Idea?
- Which Is More Important: Talent or Hard Work?
- Should Couples Live Together Before Marriage?
- Is Home-Schooling Better Than a Traditional Education?
- Is Prom Worth It?
- Do Students Learn Best When They Direct Their Own Education?
- Should Reading and Math Be Taught in Gym Class Too?
- Should Schools Be Allowed to Use Corporal Punishment?
- How Young Is Too Young to Date? (Or, Is Dating a Thing of the Past?)
- Do You Trust Your Government?
- Are Children of Illegal Immigrants Entitled to a Public Education?
- Should the Government Limit the Size of Sugary Drinks?
- Has Facebook Lost Its Edge?
- Should Tablet Computers Become the Primary Way Students Learn in Class?
- How Necessary Is a College Education?
- How Well Do You Think Standardized Tests Measure Your Abilities?
- Are Some Youth Sports Too Intense?
- Should Texting While Driving Be Illegal in Every State?
- Can Graffiti Ever Be Considered Art?
- Whose Fault Is It if a Child Is Failing in School?
- Should the Dropout Age Be Raised?
- Should a College Education Be Free?
- Should People Be Allowed to Obscure Their Identities Online?
- Does Class Size Matter?
- Should Marijuana Be Legal?
- Should You Feel Guilty About Killing Spiders, Ants or Other Bugs?
- Does Classroom Technology Enhance What and How Students Learn? Or, Does It Get in the Way of Learning?
- Should Parents Let Their Children Play Football?
- When Is the Use of Military Force Justified?
- Do Parents Have Different Hopes and Standards for Their Sons Than for Their Daughters?
- Do Leaders Have Moral Obligations?
- Should All Police Officers Wear Body Cameras?
- Does Separating Boys and Girls Help Students Perform Better in School?
- Is It Ethical to Eat Meat?
- Is Smoking Still a Problem Among Teenagers?
- Do Laws That Ban Offensive Words Make the World a Better Place?
- Is TV Too White? And, What About Movies?
- Is It O.K. to Refuse to Serve Same-Sex Couples Based on Religious Beliefs?
- Should Parents Limit How Much Time Children Spend on Tech Devices?
- Would You Feel Safer With Armed Guards Patrolling Your School?
- Should You Go to Jail for Kicking a Cat?
- Should Home-Schoolers Be Allowed to Play Public School Sports?
- Is It Offensive for Sports Teams to Use Native American Names and Mascots?
- Should Students Be Barred From Taking Cellphones to School?
- How Important Is Arts Education?
- Should the United States Stop Using the Death Penalty?
- Is It O.K. for Men and Boys to Comment on Women and Girls on the Street?
- Should Students Be Allowed to Skip Senior Year of High School?
- Would You Trade Your Paper Books for Digital Versions?
- Have Curse Words Become So Common They Have Lost Their Shock Value?
- Should College Football Players Get Paid?
- Are High School Students Being Worked Too Hard?
- When Do You Become an Adult?
- Does Reality TV Promote Dangerous Stereotypes? Or, Does It Ever Actually Do Some Good?
- Should Colleges Find a Better Way to Admit Students?
- How Should Parents Address Internet Pornography?
- Can You Be Good Without God?
- Do Our Neighborhoods Define Who We Are?
- Does Life Exist — or Has It Ever Existed — Somewhere Besides Earth?
- Should Computer Games Be Used for Classroom Instruction?
- Should Companies Collect Information About Us?
- Should You Care About the Health and Safety of Those Making Your Clothing?
- Should We Rethink How Long Students Spend in High School?
As a bonus, here are several more popular questions that we published since last year’s editorial contest that didn’t make the list:
Not enough? We’ve also previously published a list of 301 prompts for argumentative writing, organized by topic.