LESSON ONE:  Defining Your Space


Learning Objectives



State Curricular Benchmarks           

        Strand III, Standard 2: Ideals of American Democracy

        Strand III, Standard 3: Democracy in Action

        Strand VI, Standard 2: Group Discussion




Conflict resolution                     Politics                        

Culture                                     Compromise                

Experience                               Citizenship



Time needed

This process should take approximately 30-40 minutes, depending upon the class.  It can take longer as students (once opened to free discussion, debate and communication) will sometimes want to talk at length about their definitions and ideas. 



Teaching Strategy

For this lesson, it is important to first let the students know that there is no right or wrong answer.  This lesson is simply a hook to get students interested and involved in the project as it is mandated by their answers and definitions.  Students are asked to define words like citizen, political, culture, agenda, etc.  It is important not to write down any definitions of these words on the board prior to class, as this will sway student response.  The teacher can have students write down their answers to report them later, write answers on the board or just allow the answers to be given orally.  This is up to the teacher.  Once the conversation begins to flow, the facilitating teacher will begin to ask questions like the following:


These questions will facilitate a discussion among students.  This will allow them to see that the political world is all around them, in their school, their community and even within their own identities.  At the close

of the discussion, students, with the guidance of the teacher, should be informed of their power.  They should be informed that they are already an organized group, and that they can articulate their issues, but that there is little space to articulate for young people.  Also, students can begin to understand that culture is important to both perception and experience.  This will aid them in considering other points of view when working further on the project. 



Assessment Recommendations

For a group discussion assignment like this, the assessment option that is most useful is participation.  However, a small writing assignment, or journal entry on their thoughts about the conversation could be a good way to gauge the response of students.