Current Issues

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

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”...

April 5, 2019

Through a quiz, reading, and discussion, students learn about the 'Operation Varsity Blues' admissions bribery scheme, how wealthy families legally game the system, and growing campaigns to make the system fairer.  

March 31, 2019

Less than half of eligible voters typically vote in national elections in the U.S.. The House of Representatives has passed a bill to encourage voter participation by making Election Day a national holiday. This activity explores the arguments for and against this and other proposals for making it...

March 29, 2019

Fiction exploring the possibilities of a changed and changing climate can be a powerful way to make these abstract futures more immediate for ourselves and our students.This listing of climate fiction (cli-fi) includes brief descriptions of a range of short stories and novels, along with questions...

March 20, 2019

This series of lessons helps students (grades 3-5) learn about why is climate change is happening, why it matters, and what they can do about it.

March 13, 2019

Students examine three current youth movements to fight climate change by dramatizing each strategy’s benefits and risks.