Lesson Plan August 18, 2022

Grabbing the Reins: The Fate of the Earth Is in Our Hands



This unit was created by Kiana Shaw, a elementary school Literacy and Social Studies teacher in Chicago, IL, as part of the 2021-2022 Pulitzer Center Teacher Fellowship program. It is designed for facilitation across approximately five to seven class periods.

For more units created by Pulitzer Center Teacher Fellows in this cohort, click here.

Unit Objectives:

Students will be able to...

  • Identify the causes and effects of climate change 
  • Identify how the effects of climate change can be reduced
  • Construct a persuasive essay or piece of art  to call to action local/national leaders around the issue of climate change

Unit Overview:

Although a frightening reality, there is arguably less coverage of climate change and the current state of our home, Planet Earth, than there should be. Underreported climate stories often take a back seat to the pandemic and other issues. However, the state of the world is a pressing issue that needs to be explored, especially by the next generation.

This unit focuses on the destruction humans are causing the Earth, and how students can be involved in raising awareness of these pressing issues. Over the course of the unit, students will learn about the causes of climate change and the effects on the Earth. Students will also read informational articles and videos to learn about young activists, such as Manisha Dhinde and Greta Thunberg, who will serve as models for how their voices can be heard despite their ages. In the culminating activity, students will use this knowledge to construct a persuasive essay or art piece for local/national government officials, and persuade them to take action on climate issues.

Performance Task:

For the final activity, students will choose one of two options for their performance task:

  1. Write a persuasive essay or letter to a local elected representative, identifying the causes of climate change, proposing solutions, and calling the official to action 
  1. Create an art piece using recycled items (found object project) to emphasize how recycling can reduce carbon imprints

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