Current Issues

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

August 8, 2019

In the wake of the El Paso and Dayton shootings, how can we foster a classroom climate where every student feels supported - and where we can talk about these upsetting issues? Here are some ideas.

August 4, 2019

Where do the 2020 presidential candidates stand on climate change?  And why is the issue getting more attention in 2020 than in past elections? Students explore the issue, the candidates, and the social movements that are helping to drive the debate through readings, discussion, and activities.

July 8, 2019

Students learn about gerrymandering and the Supreme Court's important decision. Why has gerrymandering gotten worse, why does it matter, and what are the prospects for change?

July 2, 2019

What healthcare system is best for the U.S.? Students work in teams to evaluate and debate different countries’ healthcare systems from the perspectives of a variety of stakeholders (including doctors, the wealthy, and people without insurance). Students must integrate data from a chart with...

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.