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Balloon Debate

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The balloon is falling fast. The leak has been plugged but there's only enough helium left for one person. Which public figure has the most to offer humanity and should be saved?


Pens, paper, tables, chairs. A chairperson, and timekeeper.


Split the troop or unit into groups of four or five. Each person suggests a public figure, be they a celebrity, politician or otherwise. The names go into a hat and are drawn at random.

Each group of four or five is a balloon full of passengers. Participants debate against the other members in their group, appealing to the rest of the troop or unit (the floor) for their vote.

Each person gets three minutes to argue why their public figure has more to offer humanity than the others in their balloon. Once each person has made their case the floor then votes on who they feel presented the best argument, and therefore should be saved.

If you have a smaller group and need the exercise to last longer, after each person has made their argument you could offer them 1 minute of counter-argument time, during which they are able to respond to any points brought up by other participants.

This activity is particularly good at improving their articulation, as well as getting them to think as 'devils advocates', and considering other points of view to those they may hold themselves. The chairperson must make clear that they should cast their vote for the best-made argument, and not simply the person they think deserves to survive based on their own beliefs. If argued well, it's possible someone could make a better case for Katy Price being saved than say Stephen Hawking!

A possible collection of drawn names could include:

- David Cameron
- Angela Merkel
- Margaret Thatcher
- Peter Andre
- Mr Blobby
- The Queen
- Piers Morgan
- Simon Cowell
- Archbishop of Canterbury (Justin Welby)
- Miley Cyrus
- Harry Styles
- Bruce Forsyth
- Angelina Jolie
- Barak Obama
- Jessica Ennis-Hill
- Oscar Pistorius
- J K Rowling
- Leigh Francis (Keith Lemon)


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