Madison Area Middle School Fall Debate Tournament

2021 — NSDA Campus, WI/US

Back by popular demand...another middle school parliamentary debate tournament!

The tournament will be conducted over NSDA Campus. Tentative schedule is below.

Technology Alert

Make sure that whatever device you're using to stream video can access the rooms on If you can't access the rooms on that website, you will not be able to use Tabroom rooms!

Topic Slate (tentative)

The topics for the tournament will be pulled randomly from this slate of the following topics -- additional topics may be added later!

This House should prioritize global vaccine distribution over domestic booster shots.
This House should abolish the filibuster.
This House should ensure voting rights for felons.
This House should abolish School Resource Officers.
THB all students should be required to volunteer in their community.
THB the minimum age to own a smartphone should be 16.
THB that, in this instance, the government should restrict freedom of speech.
THB Cancel Culture is good for society.


Note: The phrase 'This House' gives the Proposition team the ability to define (within reason) the level of government that should be implementing the action of the resolution. THB is an abbreviation for 'This House believes'.

Schedule (Times Central)

9:00 - Welcome Zoom room opens (ask your coach for the link!)

9:30 - Round 1 Topic announced

9:50 - Round 1 debate starts

11:00 - Round 2 Topic announced

11:20 - Round 2 debate starts


1:00 - Round 3 Topic announced

1:20 - Round 3 debate starts

2:30 - Final Round Topic announced [All students will debate this round; top-seeded teams will have a panel of 3 judges; if top-seeded teams are from the same school, they will debate each other]

2:50 - Final Round debate starts


Awards over Zoom immediately after the final round is complete!

What is Parliamentary Debate?

Parliamentary debate (aka 'Parli') is a spontaneous debate format, where topics and sides for debates are announced 20 minutes prior to the beginning of the debate round.

Teams should use logic, creativity, and common knowledge to construct their arguments and refutations.

More info on Parli: MSPDP Guide to Parli


What does a Parliamentary Debate round look like?

20 minutes prior to the round

Topic is announced and sides are assigned. Students begin preparing with their team, and are allowed to research on the internet for argument ideas.

Speech Order

Speeches in the round are given in this order (note that opposition goes twice in a row!):

- First Speaker, Proposition Team 5 minutes [Proposition Constructive]

Opp Clarification period: opposition may ask clarifying questions to the proposition for up to 1 minute

- First Speaker, Opposition Team 5 minutes [Opposition Constructive]

Prop Clarification period: proposition may ask clarifying questions to the opposition for up to 1 minute

- Second Speaker, Proposition Team 5 minutes [Proposition Member Speech]

- Second Speaker, Opposition Team 5 minutes [Opposition Member Speech]

- Rebuttal Speaker, Opposition Team 3 minutes [Opposition Rebuttal]

- Rebuttal Speaker, Proposition Team 3 minutes [Proposition Rebuttal]

After round

The judge(s) of the round will briefly provide feedback and explain why they voted for one side or the other.

How are parliamentary debate round winners decided?

A judge decides the round based on the arguments that are presented by the debaters only -- they should not vote based on arguments that were not made or let their own opinion decide the round.

Arguments that are not refuted are generally accepted to be true. Therefore, debaters should attempt to refute all of their opponents arguments as soon as they can!

Judges will also award 'speaker points' based on how effectively debaters argued their positions. Speaker points are awarded on a 30 point scale, with 30 being amazing!


Are you interested in judging?

This tournament is FREE, so we cannot hire judges. However, if you're a high school junior or senior interested in volunteering to judge, we'd love to have your help. Just email the tournament director with the contact info of a reference who can attest that you would be a responsible, supportive person to help guide these middle schoolers toward debate success. Volunteer judges earn community service hours and NSDA points. Volunteers can request as many or as few rounds as they'd like.