PRO Resource: Federalist No. 10 (Beta)

Primary Source: James Madison's Federalist No. 10 

Learning Objective:

  • Students will be able to use The Federalist Papers to analyze and discuss the similarities and differences between a democracy and a republic. Students will debate with peers to establish a claim.

Newsela PRO Features:

  • Instructions
  • Annotations
  • Write

Grade Levels:

  • Activity can be modified to all grade levels
  • Debate is recommended for secondary classrooms


  • While reading James Madison’s Federalist Number 10, students will highlight details about democracy and a republic. They will Annotate to analyze the author’s bias. After reading, students will participate in a debate.
  • PRO Instructions:
    • While reading, highlight evidence in BLUE that support evidence towards a democracy. Highlight evidence in RED that supports evidence towards a republic. Annotate to explain the author’s bias for each. After reading, check understanding with the Quiz. Plan your debate points with the Write prompt.
  • Write prompt:
    • Based on your role in the debate. Plan your argument using at least three pieces of evidence from the text.

Debate Options:

After reading (and rereading) the article, taking notes on topics of interest, prepare for whole-group or small group debates to teach students about the process, as well as its various roles, rules and procedures. Debating is an effective way for students to examine different perspectives through role play.  

Lincoln-Douglas Debate Strategy (Small Group-to-Small Group)

  • Small groups assign roles of Moderator, Debater, Cross-Examiner, Cross-Examine Responder, Rebutter, Summarizer (for smaller classes, teacher may serve as Moderator)
  • Start with statement of purpose/policy (ex: Homework should be banned in all schools.)
  • Affirmative position presents first (6 min.)
  • Negative position cross-examines (3 min.)
  • Negative position presents points (7 min.)
  • Affirmative cross-examines (3 min.)
  • Affirmative provides rebuttal (4 min.)
  • Negative provides rebuttal (6 min.)
  • Affirmative provides second rebuttal (3 min.)

Debate Variations

Two Cards (whole group debate): Provide each student with two cards (Comment, Question). Once a student has made his/her Comment and Question during the debate, (turning in their respective cards), he/she can no longer participate until all students have used their cards. (*This variation can be done with a show of fingers for participation rather than cards*)

Fishbowl: In this variation, the middle of the room is the debate stage or “inside” of the fishbowl, while the perimeter observers remain “outside” the fishbowl. Observers remain involved by judging or tracking debate points as they watch more confident debaters on the inside.

Think-Pair-Share: This strategy is useful for information-gathering as well as for debate variation. Students have ten minutes to independently gather information on a topic. For the next ten minutes, students pair up to share and combine notes. Each pair then partners with another pair for further note gathering and deeper group discussion. The pairing process can continue until the whole class has gathered back together, or small groups of partner pairs can end with debating the issue at hand.

Four Corners: In this variation, each student takes one of four stances on an issue: strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree. A recorder for each corner takes notes on a poster during group discussion. After reporters share opinions whole group, students may switch corners if persuaded otherwise. In the next round of timed discussion, all students take notes. From their notes, students independently write a position paragraph that includes their 3-4 strongest supporting points.

Election 2016 Extension:

  • How do the views expressed in the Federalist Papers outline the current views of the political parties? Would James Madison and Alexander Hamilton be a republican or a democrat? Use evidence from other Federalist papers to support your claim.

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