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Writing letters to the next president in STEM class

Writing letters to the next president in STEM class

Written by Christina Puntel
August 12, 2016

Looking for ways to dialogue about current issues in science, technology, engineering, and math? Want to know more about how your students think about issues in the news like elevated lead levels in drinking water, nuclear energy, mining, or severe flooding? Interested in creating spaces for civic discourse and action during this election season? This collection of resources from Letters to the Next President 2.0 encourages learners to think about where they stand on a range of STEM issues in order to research and write a letter to the next President of the United States. Beyond the election, these resources serve to further teacher planning for classrooms that center around, as Paulo Freire called it, “problem-posing education.” We hope this collection of resources for STEM teachers (and STEM friendly classrooms!) elevates student voices as makers and problem solvers.


Want tools from Pulitzer Center journalism to bring the world to your classroom? This Lesson Builder Resource encourages learners to think about a range of issues they could address in a letter to the next President, including climate change, forced migrations, and other STEM issues like water and sanitation.

KQED News created an issues box for the 2016 election. Click on each box to learn more and get a sense of where others stand. Students can use this to get started thinking about their issue, how it relates to STEM, and what they hope the next president will do to make changes.

Then, check out the What’s My Issue KQED Media Make. Get creative and get the word out about what STEM issues deserve attention and action.


Got code? Remix this letter template from Chad Sansing and the Mozilla Leadership Network and use it as a guide to think about which issues your students might include in a letter to the next President. (Newer to coding? Play with something like first to understand how code works and what you can do with it!)

Incorporate historical science primary sources from the Library of Congress in crafting letters to the next president about a range of STEM issues. This resource, compiled by Trey Smith, has links to myriad primary sources related to STEM issues from the past that inform current policy discussions. Check out the blog posts for science teachers about lead paint, concussions in football, and electric cars! What issues would your students investigate as they engage with these primary sources to write their letters to the next president?

The goal of this College Ready Writers Program resource is to support students as they explore audience and purpose for their letter, gather information from multiple texts, and write and edit a complete draft. Can be taught in 4-5 days. Also includes a set of texts about the issue of addiction.

These students from Danae Boyd and Janelle Bence’s Coppell High class, created a spoken word poem about climate change. Can humans rise above our own selfish needs to make decisions for the planet? As you watch this, what are some ways you might encourage students to address the next president in a spoken word poem about this or other STEM issues?

KQED provides this Spoken Word Media Make resource to get you started!

Letters to the Next President is an online publishing site for letters to the next president. Sign up to register your site. Students get codes to login and publish their own letters. Students can read letters from all over the country about a range of issues. Great way to expose students to mentor texts before writing their own letters as well. 

If you give a mouse a cookie… After students write letters, they will probably want to keep writing in STEM and get involved in citizen science. Check out these Remix, Remake, Curate resources for poetry and science writing, citizen science projects, and much more!

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