This lesson was a very engaging experience for my students. I used this lesson in an 8th grade US history class. The class sizes were roughly 25 students each period. At first, students had some trouble grasping the concept of a role play debate. They kept trying to include their own personal feelings about the events of reconstruction instead of taking on the opinions of their assigned roles.
I did one day where students researched information about their roles and the next day was the debate. The first debate was a little shaky, again because students were unsure of how to play their role. After students got the hang of the role play, the actions took off. I had to stop arguments early for the sake of time. Students were really arguing with each other constructively about the issues. They were able to take many different angles to each issue in order to convince their classmates that their view was the correct view. After the debates were over, many students asked me if we could do this again. This lesson really sparked the excitement for learning within my students!