I created this Four Corners template to use during our Four Corners debate. A Four Corners debate requires students to show their position on a specific statement (strongly agree, somewhat agree, strongly disagree, somewhat disagree) by standing in a particular corner of the room. This activity elicits the participation of all students by requiring everyone to take a position. By drawing out students’ opinions on a topic they are about to study, it can be a useful warm-up activity. By asking them to apply what they have learned when framing arguments, it can be an effective follow-through activity. Four Corners can also be used as a pre-writing activity to elicit arguments and evidence prior to essay writing.
When I first started doing this activity, I noticed that many students followed their friends to a corner. By completing the first part of this template independently, students are required to make a decision before they move to their corner.
First, share the question/statement with the students and get them to circle their corner of choice. Next, get the students to write their reasons independently. When a sufficient amount of time has been given, call out "Four Corners," and get the students to go to the corner they circled. Once the students are there, get them to add new reasons in support of that argument. Then, the students will choose a person to represent their corner and present their argument. After all the groups have gone, give the corners a chance to "poke holes" in the arguments of others. In the end, give students time to reflect on whether or not they would like to change groups.