Current Issues

Classroom activities to engage students in learning about and discussing issues in the news

June 16, 2019

There's a hidden cost to our free accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and other social media platforms: our privacy. In this lesson, students learn about and discuss how corporations make a profit from our data, potential policy solutions, and how young people are making their own decisions...

June 4, 2019

On June 16, 1976, young people in South Africa mobilized a powerful protest against the apartheid regime's education policies. The Soweto Uprising became an epic fight that contributed to the end of apartheid. In this activity, students learn about the Soweto Uprising as well as two recent U.S....

May 28, 2019

Does social media promote positive democratic debate, sow hatred, or both? Students explore whether social media has contributed to echo chambers, and hate speech — and consider options for improving public discussion on social media.

May 18, 2019

Students take on the roles of real-life patients, doctors, and employers so they can hear different people’s experiences with the current U.S. healthcare system and think about what should change.

May 12, 2019

What can we do to make college affordable and reduce student debt? With a quiz, reading and discussion, students consider statistics, stories, and some proposals from 2020 presidential candidates.

May 4, 2019

Is social media strengthening our communities, or is it actually harming our ability to connect in person? Students  discuss two readings about the pros and cons of social media engagement, including some research on this question. 

April 20, 2019

Two high-profile proposals to tax the rich are gaining attention and popular support. This activity has students explore these proposals, the historical precedent for them, and their possible benefits and pitfalls. 

April 15, 2019

A Courtside Confrontation and Its Aftermath

This is Part 1 of a two-part lesson that has students consider a confrontation between NBA player Russell Westbrook and a white fan and the public discussion that ensued about racism in the NBA and society at large. Part two of the lesson has students...

April 15, 2019

An Essay about White Privilege

This is Part 2 of a lesson that has students consider a confrontation between Russell Westbrook (a Black NBA player) and a white fan, its aftermath, and the public discussion that ensued about racism in the NBA and society at large. This lesson, part two of the series...

April 13, 2019

The Brexit controversy has roiled the U.K. for years. What is Brexit? And why has it torn British voters apart?

Students learn about and discuss the original Brexit vote, explore arguments for and against a second referendum, and examine why some people voted to back the “Remain” or “Leave”...