Classroom Lessons

Classroom Lessons

Colorado schools debate: Who decides history?

​Students and teachers in Jefferson County, Colorado, joined forces in the fall of 2014 to protest a school board decision to review the Advanced Placement U.S. history curriculum to ensure that it promotes patriotism and discourages civil disorder. In this lesson, students consider how the board's guidelines might change their own history texts, and what prompted students and teachers to protest the board's decision. 

'Occupy Central': Civil Disobedience in Hong Kong

Students learn about protests in Hong Kong (the "Umbrella Revolution") and analyze the different forms of civil disobedience protesters have used to organize for their cause. 

Malala: Standing up for girls

Update:  On October 10, 2014,  the Nobel  Committee announced that this year's Nobel Peace Prize would go to Malala Yousafzai, 17, of Pakistan, the youngest person ever to receive this honor. Kailash Satyarthi of India, a campaigner against child labor, shared the prize. In this lesson, posted in October 2012, students learn about Pakistan and about Malala's campaign for the education of girls, which made her the target of a Taliban assassination attempt in October 2012. The lesson has students read and discuss Malala's blog from her earlier days in Pakistan.  


Columbus and the Clash of Cultures

In small groups and class discussion, students share knowledge about Christopher Columbus and his voyages, learn about the impact of Columbus, and consider some ecological and political results of the encounter 

National Coming Out Day: A Circle on Passing

In this activity, timed to coincide with National Coming Out Day, students learn about what it means to "pass" (as straight, as white, as Christian...) and consider what the pressure to "pass" costs individuals and society. The activity is structured as a circle, but can be adapted for use in a conventional classroom. 

Reflecting on National Hispanic Heritage Month

This lesson uses Hispanic Heritage Month as a jumping off point for discussing how “history” is shaped and what we can do together to include a larger variety of voices and narratives in our study of history.

Domestic Violence in the NFL - and everywhere

Students use the case of Ray Rice — the professional football player seen physically abusing his fiancé — as a starting point to learn about domestic violence.

Reconsidering President Obama's ISIS Strategy

Students work in small groups and as a class to decide on what policies they would recommend to the President to deal with threats posed by ISIS. 

People's Climate March

The People's Climate March in New York City on September 21, 2014 was the largest climate march in history. In this lesson students learn about the march and the current scientific consensus on climate change, and consider what we and political leaders should do about it.