Commemorating Magna Carta Day with Kialo Edu discussions on democracy and law

On June 15, Magna Carta Day commemorates the signing of this historic document in 1215. This document changed the way governments function and the power of the rule of law. Even after 800 years, it remains relevant, as Magna Carta was the foundation of many democratic societies today.

This makes Magna Carta Day the perfect opportunity to explore democracy and the law with your students — and what better way to do so than having class discussions on Kialo Edu? Take this opportunity to explore these political debate topics in civics education and empower students to become informed and active citizens.

How can you use Kialo discussions to support civics lessons?

You can use Kialo Edu to enhance civics education in two ways. First, students can build their knowledge on topics such as democracy and the law when researching to build out discussions. This will give them a good understanding of the facts, opinions, and evidence associated with these topics, which they can then use in discussions. 

Second, students can practice active citizenship by participating in discussions. They learn how to respectfully offer their opinions, listen to others’ opinions, and reflect critically on topics. In doing so, they build the skills they need to contribute effectively to a democratic society. 

To pave the way for democratic debate in your classroom, we have curated a collection of ready-made debate topics on democracy and the law. So, throw down the gauntlet to your students and challenge them to start talking!

Class discussion topics on democracy

1. Did women have to use militancy to obtain the vote?

In 1215, it was mainly freemen that benefited from Magna Carta, while women only made small gains. Fast forward 700 years to the early 1900s, and women still didn’t have the right to vote, even in many democratic societies. To make their voices heard, they sometimes had to resort to aggressive tactics that may not have been out of place in 1215!

Did women have to use militancy to obtain the vote?

Use this discussion to debate whether it was necessary for the women’s suffrage movement to resort to these militant tactics. Your students will enjoy having their voices heard without the need for militancy in the classroom!

2. Is democracy a good form of government?

Magna Carta provided the foundations for democracy, but is democracy truly an effective form of government? Allow students to explore alternatives in this discussion.

Is democracy a good form of government?

This is also a great opportunity to make connections to history curriculum areas. Students may choose to research fascism in Italy or communism in China, comparing them to democratic societies. Your students are sure to enjoy participating in this democratic discussion!

3. Is social media a threat or benefit to democracy?

Magna Carta was signed at a water meadow on the banks of the River Thames, but imagine if it was signed today. A quick video call may have sufficed! It would have been impossible for those in 1215 to imagine how people today would use social media to communicate, as well as its subsequent effects on society.

Is social media a threat or benefit to democracy?

In this discussion, students can use their expert knowledge of social media to consider its effects on democracy. We are sure they will “Like” this discussion!

Class discussion topics on the law

1. Should people break unjust laws?

Magna Carta was the foundation of the rule of law that many countries value today. However, even in a democratic society, most citizens don’t have a direct say in the creation of laws. So, is it okay to break a law they disagree with?

Should people break unjust laws?

Students may argue that breaking a law draws attention to it, while others may believe there are better ways to fight for change. Inspire students’ interest by giving them a chance to create ground rules for the discussion before they start — this should discourage any rule-breaking in your classroom!

2. Should jury trials be abolished?

Chapter 39 of Magna Carta states that “No free man shall be arrested or imprisoned … except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.” This is the cornerstone of the concept of trial by jury, one of our key human rights today.

Should jury trials be abolished?

In this discussion, students consider whether this is the most effective way to ensure justice. Can a group of people who may have little knowledge of the law really decide someone’s fate? Your students will enjoy playing the parts of judge and jury to give their verdict!

3. National Referendums: Should more laws be put to the citizens to accept or reject?

Magna Carta was created by a group of just 40 barons. In those days, it would have been hard to imagine the entire country having their say on its contents. Nevertheless, this is a possibility today with a national referendum.

National Referendums: Should more laws be put to the citizens to accept or reject?

Would students be more likely to follow the law if they had been consulted first? Or, do they think that deciding on a new law should be left to the experts? Once the discussion is finished, you can extend the activity with a vote to let your students make the final decision on whether referendums are useful.

Society has progressed in many ways since Magna Carta was signed, but using these discussions in class can help your students understand that the document is still relevant today. You could even create your own discussions around this topic, so students can apply their knowledge. Or, ask students to discuss which ideas from today will still be relevant in 800 years’ time.

However you choose to bring Magna Carta Day into your classroom with these teacher resources, we would love to hear about it! You can contact us directly at, or via our social media. Now, fare thee well and pray thee enjoy our discussions!

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