The Current Logo

Lesson Plan 2: Understanding Social Change Today

Written by Mariruth Leftwich
November 09, 2017

Materials and Resources Required:

  • Guest speaker or information about the same or similar issue of social change that shares a contemporary perspective
  • Resources from a contemporary social action agency related to the topic
  • Chart paper/whiteboard for a comparison chart
  • Art supplies: whiteboards, whiteboard markers
  • Optional Art Supplies: LED lights with batteries attached to better simulate ‘remixing’ ideas using a creative media. These LED lights can be easily constructed using LED bulbs and lithium batteries. For a full set of instructions, visit: http://www.instructables.com/id/LED-Throwies/

Introduction:

  • Review the results from the first activity and make a written list of the important change strategies learners saw documented in the historic sources (legislative or policy change, campaigns to change behaviors, attempts at changing business practice, raising public awareness, etc.).
  • Ask learners to consider if this issue is still something people are concerned with today, and if so, how do they think the contemporary issue is being handled today? 

Activity:

  • Provide a briefing on the contemporary issue, which may include relevant speakers, videos, scientific research, news articles, etc.
  • After being presented with the contemporary issue information, ask learners to identify the strategies for change that they see represented. List the current change strategies in a column beside the historic change strategies and ask learners to compare and contrast strategies (i.e. in the past there may have been a reliance on print media or radio broadcasts to influence public opinions and today there is an emphasis on social media).
  • Describe a contemporary issue scenario and ask small groups to brainstorm what strategies they might use to see change happen. The example from the Green City Remix project was highlighting the work of the Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP) and a current project they are working on to enforce school buses using clean fuel sources (http://gasp-pgh.org/2015/12/15/school-buses-should-be-clean-and-safe/) and groups were asked to create a list of potential strategies that could help GASP succeed.
  • Art Activity: This project will culminate in the participants creating a reflective art installation, and the second half of this activity asks learners to practice transforming their ideas into concepts/statements rather than narratives.
    • The goal of the art activity is for learners to think about how they might visualize an issue using a medium primarily other than words.
    • For the Green City Remix project, students were asked to visualize the invisible impacts of air pollution on the Pittsburgh skyline. Participants were provided with magnetic dry erase boards, dry erase markers, and LED lights that were powered by lithium batteries with magnets attached. They used the colored lights against a vinyl silhouette of the city skyline to create an artistic representation of air quality issues today. Example images of the activity are included below: