Current Issues

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

March 7, 2019

This primer includes six short, interactive, multimodal lessons to help middle school students learn, think, and write about climate change – and consider how to take action.

February 27, 2019

In February 2019, community organizations declared victory when Amazon withdrew its plans to open a second headquarters in Queens, New York. Students explore what happened and the arguments for and against the Amazon deal that went down. 

February 22, 2019

Young people across the country are taking legal action to defend their right to a stable climate and healthy environment. In this activity students learn about the pioneering lawsuit Juliana v. United States, and discuss a short documentary about youth climate activists. 

February 18, 2019

What is a "national emergency," and why did President Trump declare one? Through a reading and discussion, students explore the news and the background, including Trump's call for a border wall, the government shutdown, the history of "national emergencies," and the opposition to the President's...

February 10, 2019

The current political crisis over Virginia’s governor and attorney general appearing in blackface raises many opportunities for learning, including about aspects of our nation’s history of racism. These issues require ongoing attention and deep exploration far beyond this news cycle. Here are some...

February 8, 2019

The economy is growing. Why aren’t people feeling it?  This lesson has students examine whether the way economists measure the health of the economy actually reflects the reality Americans experience. Students explore alternative measures that some countries and states have begun to adopt aimed at...

January 30, 2019

Los Angeles teachers and their allies won a strike demanding improved public education in LA. Students explore the background, strategy, demands, and impact of the strike with a quiz, reading, and discussion.

January 21, 2019

Are Amazon, Google, and other companies monopolies? Should we use antitrust legislation rein them in? Students read about and discuss the roots of anti-trust laws and whether they should be applied today. 

January 18, 2019

In this simulation, students play the role of striking teachers in order to explore the reasons and strategies behind recent teacher strikes.

January 16, 2019

What made 30,000 teachers in Los Angeles decide to go out on strike? In this lesson, students read short quotes from the news to better understand the issues at stake, and discuss the issues from their own perspective as students.