Teaching Strategies

Tug of War

After learning more about the French school system, I had my students participate in a tug of war.  I learned about this strategy at a district workshop and was excited to test it out.  Some of my students were disappointed when I told them that it was not a “real” tug of war, but instead a tug of war of ideas.  Instead of taking sides in a typical debate, this activity requires students to present an idea for each side.

Materials needed: Pens, markers, pencils, post-it notes, this presentation


First, individually, each student took 2 post-it notes and labeled one with the French school system and the other with the American school system.  Then the students wrote down at least one idea in favor of each school system.

Second, students had to discuss in their small groups their arguments for each and place it on a tug of war line depending on how strong their argument(s) were.


Third, students then put their post-its on the whole class tug of war line.  They then took time to read other arguments for both sides.

Finally, in a Schoology discussion or a Flipgrid, students had to explain which school system they would prefer and why.

The students seemed to enjoy it and I think it was a great way to get them to think about both sides instead of immediately picking one.


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