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Design Cycle #2: A Seat at the Table: How U.S. Youth Think and Talk about Civic Issues

Written by Nicole Mirra
May 16, 2020

“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” – Shirley Chisholm

Many adults think that young people like you are not concerned about civic issues. As a result, they often don’t invite you to the ‘table’ of public life and listen to what you have to say. But we know that this is not true or right – the issues that you chose to explore in our survey are the same ones that adult voters care about. So, let’s change those assumptions!

You are now in a chat group with students from the other 3D schools to explore your chosen civic issue. Your teacher will show you how to join a private Edmodo group where you can chat with your group members – we chose Edmodo so that you don’t have to share your personal contact info and so that we can see and learn from your chatting.

So, what happens next?

  1. Chat with your group members as much as you can!

This is an opportunity to learn from new friends across the country. We’d like you to get to know each other and chat. We’ll give you some guiding questions for your exploration but also want to keep it flexible enough for you to take it where you decide.

  1. How does your chosen issue affect each of your lives personally? How does it affect each of your communities? What similarities and differences do you see across your locations?
  2. What are your feelings/beliefs about this issue? Are there differences of opinion in your group? Let’s lean into that – how can you learn about each other’s reasoning in a compassionate way? What happens when we just don’t agree?
  3. How does the news media talk about this issue? Is it helping us to dialogue or hurting? What are some sources you trust to learn about this issue?


  1. Create something to share your group’s exploration!

You will have such a unique perspective after spending time chatting with youth who are similar to and different from you around the country. We want to share what you’ve learned and what you’re still thinking about. This is when you will move out of Edmodo and create something together. We have some ideas for you, but you have the freedom to choose a product of your choice. You will be telling the story of your group, NOT just explaining your civic issue. It will be more interesting to hear about your journey together.

  1. Podcast
  2. Video Story
  3. Blog Series
  4. Photo Essay