Lesson Plan August 8, 2023

Unhomed: How Issues of Place Displace African Americans


This unit was created by Faydren Battle, a high school English Language Arts educator in Stone Mountain, Georgia, as part of the 2022-2023 Pulitzer Center Teacher Fellowship program. It is designed for facilitation across 20 45–90-minute class periods over the course four weeks, with work outside of class. For more units created by Pulitzer Center Teacher Fellows in this cohort, click here.


Students will be able to...

  • Understand redlining, gentrification, environmental racism, inaccessibility of housing and other geography-related challenges experienced by Black Americans
  • Conduct sustained research in order to answer a research question
  • Integrate relevant information from multiple authoritative digital sources into an essay
  • Create a faux social media post based on research

Unit Overview:

Students will analyze the enduring legacy of U.S. slavery, and gain insight into structural racism, by examining the impact of place on race, and vice versa. Topics students explore will include housing policies, housing access and affordability, environmental racism and climate concerns. Students will analyze selected articles from the Pulitzer Center, along with at least one additional research article, to research and present a project that explores at least one of the following questions:

  • Option 1: How does race impact one’s physical environment in the U.S. and how can we combat inequities based on race at the local level?  
  • Option 2: How does race impact how and where one exists in the U.S. and how can we combat this issue at the local level?  

Scope and Sequence:

  • Background of issue and research question
  • Close read (main idea, connections) articles from Pulitzer Center
  • Conduct research, close read of research articles
  • Write essay on their selected research topic
  • Develop news report or TikTok on their selected research topic

To prepare for their final projects, students will also review strategies for selecting a research topic, planning and organizing research on a selected topic, developing strong topic sentences, and organizing key details and themes to share research.

Performance Task:

  1. Research essay that responds to one of the following questions. See Final Research Essay Description. [.pdf] [.docx]
  2. TikTok-style video: Students create a TikTok-style video to describe their research on an underreported issue to their communities. 
    1. Graphic organizers for TikToks


Formative: See “I will know I have it when…” objectives in each lesson (available under Facilitation Resources).

Summative: Students will write an essay and create an original news report (or TikTok) that reflects their research on an issue they have selected. The topic should reflect unit themes and the final project should include analyses of at least one Pulitzer Center-supported story and one outside source. Research Writing Rubric (modified from the Georgia Milestones Assessment System rubric) [.pdf][.docx]

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