Lesson Plan

Hate or Debate? - Lesson

Lesson Plan

Level: Grades 8-10

Duration: 2-3 hours

Author: Matthew Johnson, Director of Education, MediaSmarts

This lesson is part of USE, UNDERSTAND & CREATE: A Digital Literacy Framework for Canadian Schools.


In this lesson, students learn about the difference between legitimate debate on a political issue and arguments that are based on hate. Through a science-fiction scenario they see how a controversial issue can be discussed rationally, and then learn how purveyors of “reasonable racism” use the trappings of legitimate debate to conceal their true message. Finally, students read newspaper editorials and letters to the editor to see whether a currently controversial debate is characterized by legitimate debate or by ideologies of hate.

This lesson is part of the Facing Online Hate lesson series.

Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • learn the key concepts that media contain ideological and values messages and that audiences negotiate meaning
  • recognize the characteristics of hateful ideologies
  • discriminate between legitimate political arguments and hate material
  • apply critical thinking skills to countering hateful arguments

Home and School Connection

This lesson and all associated documents (handouts, overheads, backgrounders) are available in an easy-print, pdf kit version.

Lesson Kit: