People in Profile - 3rd Grade Power and Representation project
Third grade focused on Power and Representation in their Cultural Studies Curriculum and in their People in Profile unit this year students were tasked with examining how activists and small groups develop and exert power to create change (a"change-making process"). To inspire third grade students' social justice lens and activist identities, they delved into an issue they are passionate about such as climate change/justice, environmental justice, sustainability and conservation, food justice, representation (in various areas of underrepresented groups/voices), gender equity, indigenous people’s rights, immigrant rights, and educational equity/access. From here, students were paired with an activist who worked on the specific issue that the students were interested in researching, which encouraged agency development. They researched an individual's activism with a teacher-created website, explored teacher-approved resources and media, generated questions about their individual's change-making process, and developed a process of inquiry about their self-selected issue.
Some examples of questions that were provided to guide students' thinking are:
What was ________'s changemaking process?
What action(s) did they take?
How did they use their power?
Did they meet allies along the way?
What obstacles did they encounter?
What was the end result?
Finally, students worked collaboratively in small groups to create a digital product which they then shared with small groups of other students and parents to "teach" others about their individual's advocacy and the issue that they were passionate about.
One important aspect of this project was the connection between the unit and the third grade Art curriculum. Concurrent to their People in Profile project, third grade students were guided by the Art Teachers to experience protest art, demonstrations, signs, and discussed what their activist might write on a poster. From there, they studied typography and created a sign to represent the views of their activist. This project was a wonderful culminating unit experience for the students as they develop their own identity as activists. The unit represents a guided inquiry passion project in which students are tasked with developing a passion, questioning, researching, creating, and then teaching about it to others.