Really -- it was a lot of fun to judge. The Urban Debate League has a middle school program. Hubby and I (mostly hubby) have been helping to coach in it this year.
The kids kind of knew what they were debating about. The details escaped them, and I really think they'd be better off with a different model of debate -- but, the point is to introduce them to the process.
Most of them spoke well, some were excellent -- a few mumbled and one tried to talk fast without much success.
What's really cool about this program is that a good, private college has started a really good UDL debate scholarship... to qualify you must do four years of UDL -- and middle school counts.
Now -- if they'd only learn that the time to bring up the impact of nuclear war isn't in their rebuttal, things would be good. Also -- discussing their opponents dropped arguments would be a bonus..