Debate Observation and Analysis Sheet (2016)

Lesson Duration

From The Learning Network

“The presidential debates give students a chance to see both candidates side by side, answering questions about the nation’s most serious issues. Or at least, that’s what we hope will happen. Tune in on Sept. 26, Oct. 9 and Oct. 19 (and for the vice-presidential debate on Oct. 4) to see for yourself.”

Students can jot down ideas and reactions using the debate observation and analysis sheet that addresses these questions:

• What stands out to you as you watch the debate? What general observations can you make? What do you notice?

• What observations can you make about Hillary Clinton’s performance? Consider both substance and style.

• What observations can you make about Donald J. Trump’s performance? Consider both substance and style.

• In an election season marked by inflammatory rhetoric, what did you notice about the language the two candidates used? What words or phrases stood out for any reason? Why do you think the candidate(s) used this language, and what effect do you think it will have on voters?

• After the debate: Which candidate do you think will be helped more by this debate, and why?

Students can then share their ideas in class the following day.

To access the Debate Observation and Analysis Sheet, click on the following link for “Teaching and Learning With the 2016 Presidential Debates” and scroll down to #3 -


The Learning Network provides teaching and learning materials and ideas based on New York Times content.