New STEAM Debate Club Raises Student Awareness and Voice

By Alanna Dushok
March 21, 2024

Westlawn has offered after school STEAM clubs for several years, and this session a new one has joined the mix: STEAM Debate. The club’s sponsor, Ms. Granados, describes the club as “Chaotic, but in a good way!” Students put their heads down and do a blind vote for topics, which include artificial intelligence, testing on animals, dependence on fossil fuels, and renewable energy. Then students are assigned a side of the debate and do research to learn more about the issue.

STEAM Debate club member Phuc B. said, “I learned more about AI than I used to know. I wanted to defend the side, ‘Yes, AI should be monitored’ because I had more background knowledge about that side. But, I learned about the pros and cons by defending the other side.”

Students waiting for the club to begin

Not only does the STEAM Debate club benefit current Westlawn students, it’s also an opportunity for former students to remain involved with the school and practice their own leadership skills. Anna S., Christine N., Josephine H., and Sunny B.--now-eighth graders from Luther Jackson MS--have returned to lead the club, run the debates, create slide decks, and prepare briefs about the topics for students to read. Check out one of the briefs:

Brief about AI