Middle Level Categories/Topics

Scroll down for descriptions of public speaking and performance of literature categories.

2022-23 Topics #

Extemporaneous Speech #

This year’s questions focus on climate change.

  1. What routine/daily changes can individuals make to decrease their carbon footprint?
  2. What are communities already doing to find alternative, non-fossil fuel sources of electricity?
  3. How has climate change disproportionately impacted communities of color?
  4. Regarding climate change, how are farmers impacted, and how has farming contributed to it, and what adaptations have/can be made?
  5. What are three main effects of rising sea levels, and what are communities doing to prepare?
  6. How has climate change increased extreme weather events, wildfires, and floods?
  7. What transportation initiatives exist/have been proposed to address climate change?
  8. How are businesses impacted by climate change and/or solutions implemented to slow or stop its effects?
  9. What are youth doing, around the world, to advocate for climate action?
  10. How does climate change impact national security and sovereignty of ______? (Student may select a particular country).
  11. What can be done to help indigenous communities impacted by climate change?
  12. Is the energy loss in electric vehicles significantly efficient to justify the cost over traditional, gasoline engine-based vehicles?

Moments in History #

Choose one or both time periods:

  • 1960s (1960-1969)
  • 1250-1500 CE  (AD)

Examples of areas students might consider: politics, military action, historic sites, monuments, natural disasters, ethnology, legends, folklore, science, inventions, medicine, arts,  entertainment, geography, transportation, sports, religion, heroes, villains, personalities, significant speeches, fashion, and fads.

Special Occasion #

Choose one occasion:

  • A conference/convention keynote address
  • A proposal for an innovative community service project
  • A tribute/dedication to a veteran/veteran memorial
  • A protest speech

Category Descriptions #

Public Speaking #

Students write original speeches, and may use one 4″ x 6″ note card, where students are encouraged to outline or include speaking points, rather than word-for-word manuscripts (so they can engage better with audiences).

Max. Time Max. Time Visuals Description
Demonstration Speech 10 min. 1-2 speakers demonstrate how to do something or how something works.
Extemporaneous Speech 6 min. 30 minutes prior to speaking, the contestant will select a question from which to phrase a direct and clear answer and support it with evidence and reasoning.
Informative Speech 4 min. Present a speech with a narrow enough topic to be developed adequately in the time provided to share knowledge, educate and/or raise awareness.
Moments in History 6 min. Explore an historical topic within prescribed topics, using such sources as archival records, diaries, personal interviews, letters, newspapers, etc.
News Reporting 10 min. 1-3 students develop a newscast surrounding current events, suitable for TV or radio, reading from a manuscript.
Persuasive Speech 8 min. Persuade with compelling language by offering a solution to a problem; to take action in response to a situation; or potentially reinforce and strengthen attitudes.
Special Occasion 4 min. Responding to a prescribed topic area, deliver a speech appropriate to a specific occasion and its probable audience by entertaining, persuading, or informing.

Performance of Literature #

Contestants interpret literature to convey the human existence, exploring psychology of characters, to mine the artistry of language, and/or cultivate arguments surrounding themes/issues. Key: Book = performed from manuscript; Brain = memorized.

Category Max. Time Mode Genres Description
Non-Original Oratory 8 min. / Speech The contestant presents a speech originally delivered by someone else.
Play Acting 10 min. Single play (dramatic literature) 2-7 performers act a scene or cutting from a single play with emphasis on character development, ensemble, and appropriate physical movement.
Poetry Reading 8 min. Poetry, verse, song lyrics One or more poems center on a theme or emotion; delivery mines the artistry of language.
Prose Reading 8 min. Short stories, cuttings from novels, drama, essays, nonfiction One or more works of prose -- including short stories, cutting from novels, drama, essays, or other non-fiction work -- center on a specific theme or emotion.
Readers Theatre 10 min. Any genre 2-7 readers compile and present a script with symbolic interpretation such that the audience imagines action being described rather than witnessing it being performed.
Solo Acting 8 min. Any genre The contestant convincingly acts characterization(s) to transport the audience to the world of the material peformed.
Storytelling 8 min. / Any genre; most often, narrative prose Chronicle and perform events in a coherent, unified, clear, and interesting manner, while seated and conveying a sense of audience for one of the prescribed topic areas.