Lesson Plan

Be an Activist

Students will learn about an environmental topic that interests them, utilize media to build awareness, and share their information to achieve action from an audience
Andrew H.
Classroom teacher
Uchon Elementary School
Seoul, South Korea
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My Grades 6
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, English Language Learning

Students will be able to...

  • understand the causes, effects, and possible solutions for an environmental problem that interests them

  • work on your problem in English with your team

  • use multimedia to share their learning with a broad, global audience

  • make a plan to help solve this problem

  • engage an audience and drive action!

English Language Arts
Social Studies
English Language Learning
Grades 6 – 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Activism

The purpose of this step is to present students with samples of what final products might be.

  • Use this step to outline some of the ideas you intend to have students show at the end:
    • BELIEF vs. ACTION --> Define "activism"
  • Explore real-world examples of activists-- revisit belief vs. action
Student Instructions

Students will watch these videos and respond to question prompts by the teacher

2 Introduce Objectives

Define the project objectives using the PowerPoint attached. Outline goals to students, provide them with a model or multiple models of what the end product might be.

  • Include different media: posters, videos, protests, petitions to give students a broad stroke of samples
Student Instructions

Students can continue to note, how each resource fits BELIEF vs. ACTION.

3 Selecting a Topic

Teachers will help students generate topics that students are passionate about individually.

Teachers will then help students narrow down these topics and qualify them in order to determine which topics are most interesting.

Student Instructions

Students will start exploring and completing preliminary research on topics, mostly "What is the problem?" and "What do I believe?"

They can also utilize tournament brackets (see linked resource) to reduce topics if they struggle determine which topics are the most exciting.

4 Research Phase

Teachers will present the Strategic Searching lesson from CommonSense to frame efficient searching.

Model examples of Strategic Searching for the students.

  • If students struggle at coming up with direction for their research, present the Step 3 Question Formation worksheet
  • Have students generate a line of inquiry regarding their topic, to expand on their questions and shape their curiosity
  • They can then use these to shape their research questions for "SEARCH"-approach to researching (see Strategic Searching)

5 KidBlog Refelction

Teachers can guide student reflection by having students summarize their learning during the research phase.

In a final blog post, students should summarize research, state what it is they believe, and declare what action they will take toward their goal.

6 The Art of the Pitch

Teachers will begin by teaching students what a pitch is. Use Shark Tank examples to illustrate the phases of the pitch.

Attached is a powerpoint that you can use in class or modify to suit your needs.


Student Instructions

Students will spend the next week or so preparing their pitches.

They will simplify their research and work on making a strict one minute cut-off for their presentations. Teachers can include mini-lessons outlining strategies to be more concise.

Students can practice then present their pitch in front of the class. Teachers can bring in or assign "sharks" to ask the tough questions (with some prep and guidance in advance). 

Have observers fill out "Shark Sheets" (attached) to guide inquiry.

Finally, have students post a KidBlog entry reflecting on the process:

  • What was difficult in the pitch process?
  • What did you do well & why?
  • What feedback did you receive from the sharks? How will this change your project plan?
  • How can you improve a pitch in the future?

7 Action!

The final phase of the project will probably take between one and two weeks depending on the frequency of your class.

This stage of the project may vary greatly depending on your students' action projects. Some of my projects included:

  • Crowdfunding projects that required approval from the school and parents
  • Mentorship presentations where students presented, played games, or taught lessons in lower grades
  • The creation and distribution of handouts, literature, and posters
  • Social media campaigns

You may need to supplement worksheets to groups to guide their process. It also helps to regularly meet with students during this step to keep them focused and on task.

Student Instructions

Students will focus on taking their pitch, their beliefs, and their action plan, and going live.

Finally, students will use the attached files above to track their action process. 

There will be a final reflection after the entire process has been completed for students to reflect on the process as a whole.