Current Issues

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

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. 

January 12, 2019

Students look at photos, read about, and discuss some of the climate crises in 2018, then survey a range of actions being taken to address it.

January 12, 2019

Students compare the “Green New Deal” proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with President Roosevelt’s original New Deal. 

January 9, 2019

Students discuss President Trump’s prime-time speech about border security on January 8, 2019, and examine whether the facts back up his statements.