Welcome, fellow English teachers!
Here you will find all of the resources we presented at UCTE in user-friendly formats. Wherever we could, we've included both Word documents and PDF files, so that you can modify and adapt the texts to fit the particular needs of your classroom.
To the right you will find a generic prompt—inspired by SAGE—for the "Who Would Win in a Fight?" essay; in addition, you’ll find informational texts on ten popular superheroes. You can use these resources in multiple ways. For instance, you, as the teacher, can pick two superheroes, hold a class debate about who would win in a one-on-one bout, and then have each student write his or her own essay about the assigned superheroes. Or, to allow for more student autonomy, you can permit your students to pick their own superheroes and write their own unique essays. For even more student freedom, you can assign your students to research any two superheroes from the Marvel or DC universes and pit them against each other in an epic battle. Furthermore, you can use these prompts as isolated and informal writing exercises, or you can use assign two to three prompts to create a superhero unit. The options are limitless.
Theoretically, you or your students can pit any superhero against another superhero, and it will yield a strong argument. However, if you are interested in creating a prolonged class debate, not all choices will work. For example, facing Spider-Man against Hulk will not lead to a lively debate, but a stale, one sentence conclusion, a mistake found out the hard way (“Mr. Bockholt, Hulk will destroy Spider-Man because Hulk has almost limitless strength and heals instantly; Spider-Man has a camera and a web. Can we move on now?”). One might think that Superman vs. Thor is a fair fight, but one of Superman’s weakness is his vulnerability to magic, and Thor’s powers derive from magical properties. End of debate. These options might work fine if a student selected them for his or her own essay, but these choices won't create an interesting whole-class discussion.
If your goal is to have a lively class debate, ensure that the superheroes in opposition to each other are equally matched. We recommend Spider-Man vs. Wolverine, Superman vs. Hulk, Batman vs. Iron Man, and Captain America vs. Thor. There are several other possibilities, but when you choose, make sure each superhero has a fighting chance.
Ultimately, it’s not the answer that's important: it’s the skill set that makes this a valuable teaching tool.
If you have any questions, or if you have any ideas for improvement, please e-mail us. Happy arguing!
Your Friendly Neighborhood English Teachers,
Blake Bockholt firstname.lastname@example.org
Patrick Murphy email@example.com
David Premont firstname.lastname@example.org
Who would win in a fight?