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Learning through engaged citizenship. 

engagEd is a resource for educators who wish to teach the tools of engaged citizenship and involve students in solving the world’s problems.

To create this collection of resources, AWTT invited the portrait subjects and the organizations that represent them, their ideas, and legacies, to produce lesson and activity plans that could be used in middle or high school classes to build bridges between the classroom and the most important issues affecting student’s lives.

These lessons are created by changemakers with strong opinions. AWTT’s staff has edited and curated these activities and lessons to offer educators and their students a window into the thought processes, lives, and dedication of activists who work for economic, social, and environmental justice.  Each activity offers a particular point of view that we believe is worth understanding and exploring. It will be up to each teacher to ask questions or present materials that help students see other points of view. One way to do this is to always ask, “What is the other side of this issue?”

Above you will find two ways to sort the lessons. With the first, you can sort lessons into three broad discipline areas: Arts, Humanities, and Math, Science and Technology. With the second, you can find out which activities other teachers are using most, or the newest lessons we recommend you try. For teachers participating in the Samantha Smith Challenge, these activities offer a great starting point for introducing your students to the idea that they can be part of the solution to the problems they see around them.

Teach your students to think like activists. Show them how to be citizens in a democratic society. Engage them in finding solutions for real world problems. With these tools and the confidence to use them, they will discover their own voices as citizens. 

Learning To Think Differently About Difference: A Lesson Plan by Alice Rothchild

When we learn about people who are different from us or conflicts and wars in other parts of the world, we see these people, conflicts, and wars through the lens of our own societies with our own assumptions, preconceptions, and language. Often our media reinforces these assumptions through language and point of view and fails to challenge us to think “out of the box” which is the first step in imagining creative solutions and actions that can lead to greater understanding and resolutions of controversial issues.
For example, discussions around Israel/Palestinian often trigger heated emotions that come from the legacy of the Holocaust, anti-Semitism, the treatment of the indigenous Palestinians, and the narrative that major powers and mainstream media use to read more...

Are Human Beings Naturally Violent or Naturally Peaceful?: A Lesson Plan by Paul K. Chappell

Are Human Beings Naturally Violent or Naturally Peaceful?
If human beings are naturally violent, then we will continue to have wars. If human beings are naturally peaceful, then world peace has a chance. Let's explore the possibilities.  read more...

Free Schools for Free People: A Lesson Plan by William Ayers

How can we make free schools for free people?
Schools are mirror and window into society—that is, schools always reflect and reveal their host communities: schools in a theocracy teach reverence; schools in an ancient agrarian community teach cultivation and animal husbandry; schools in an read more...

How To Know if Your Water Is Safe: A Lesson Plan by Diane Wilson

Is your drinking water and the water you swim and fish in safe?
In 1972 Congress passed the "first" Clean Water Act.  It stated that the US waterways would have 'zero emissions' by 1984.That goal was not met. read more...

How War Can Be Abolished: A Lesson Plan by David Swanson

The Abolition of War
In a December, 2015, U.S. presidential debate, a moderator asked a candidate whether he could serve as Commander in Chief and defined that as being willing to kill innocent children by the thousands. In 1996 the U.S. read more...

Connecting through Portrait Drawing: A Lesson Plan by Tilly Woodward

Connecting With The World and Its People Through Portrait Drawing
This lesson for a middle school art class that combines drawing, interviewing, writing, presentation and reflective discussion. read more...