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Lesson Plan June 16, 2021

Problemas globales, soluciones locales: El activismo ambiental Global problems, local solutions: Environmental activism


This unit was created by Cara Bucciarelli, an elementary Spanish teacher in Chicago, IL, as part of the spring 2021 Pulitzer Center Teacher Fellowship program on Journalism and Justice. It is designed for facilitation across approximately eight 45-minute live or virtual class periods.

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

Unit Objectives

  • Students will be able to define the following terms:  
    • Una noticia poco denunciada  / Underreported story
    • La justicia ambiental / Environmental justice
    • El racismo ambiental / Environmental racism 
    • El activismo / Activism 
  • Students will identify the topic and some details of informational texts and videos.
  • Students will identify and identify with character traits that relate to being an activist or taking a civic action. 
  • Students will investigate global and local environmental issues through articles, videos, infographics and class discussions.
  • Students will create a bilingual infographic or call-to-action about an environmental justice issue in Chica

Unit Overview

Who makes decisions about the environment? How do decisions about environmental issues affect a community’s  health? Who is an activist? How do individuals inform and/or advocate for their communities?

Students will first investigate the global problem of plastics pollution. Through an exploration of maps and data, including from the Pulitzer Center Resource Plastic that Travels 8,000 Miles: The Global Crisis in Recycling, students will gain knowledge of issues pertaining to plastics, both on land and in our oceans. They will utilize the Pulitzer Center resource Joane:  We Can End the Toxic Use and Burning of Plastics as one example of a clear community action taken by young people to help bring about awareness and change in their community. Through reading the article and watching the related video, students will identify character traits of Joane, the featured activist, as well as discuss the process of engaging in a civic action. 

Next, students will examine environmental issues in communities across Chicago, engaging with locally-relevant themes such as the effects of lead in water and soil, microplastics, and air pollution. They will define the terms environmental justice and environmental racism and discuss how those ideas relate to issues locally and globally. During this part of the unit, students will continue to identify traits that exemplify activism in the leaders highlighted in the articles, as well as determine what traits they may share with activists. 

Finally, students will create an infographic or other call-to-action highlighting an environmental issue of their choosing. 

Performance Task

Based on the topics introduced through the unit, students will design an infographic  or call-to-action about an environmental issue of their choosing.  Students will choose from a list of potential options, including designing a poster or infographic, creating a video, writing a poem or letter, or designing artwork that includes language.

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teal halftone illustration of a young indigenous person


Indigenous Rights

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Environment and Climate Change

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