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Exploring the (New) Political Climate

December 8, 2016

Nadiera Young


Intended Audience: Middle School Students

OBJECTIVE: While continuing to learn to establish a classroom for healthy discussions, students will create their own version of a “good” society by collaborating with peers and answering big questions. This lesson plan is designed to help students understand that conversations surrounding politics, race, religion, etc. can happen in respectful ways and that each person is different, but these differences should not be used to put others down for the benefit of those in power.

Common Core Standards




Cross Curricular

  • Science: Students will learn about the 2016 presidential candidates’ stances on Global warming and climate change, to help determine what they hope to see in a potential president.
  • Social Studies: Students will learn about how America became a two party system (majority) to better understand what it means to be a Democrat and Republican, and also understand that while these are the main two systems they are not the only ones.
  • Math: Students will learn about the Electoral College, the role it plays in our voting system, and what role the single vote of a person plays in electing the President of the United States.
  • Language Arts: Students will learn how to have discussion on difficult/fragile topics such as the 2016 Election, learn how to speak constructively and with evidence to support their opinions, and to do so in a respectful manner.

Cultural Connection    

Students will understand that conversations surrounding politics, race, religion, etc. can happen in respectful ways. Each person is different, but these differences should not be used to put others down for the benefit of those in power.

Character Connection

Students will understand that when they listen to others, really listen and engage in meaningful conversations, they may be able to see things from multiple perspectives or perspectives that others may not be able to see.

Lesson Plan

Welcome/Purpose/Hook: How will I connect this concept to students’ lives or to other content that we have learned?

Drill (15 mins)

Students will define Safe Space and Brave Space to determine what they hope to see their classroom form into.

Options of answering the question:

1.     Writing on a sticky note

2.     Interpretive movement

3.     Speak the answer out loud

Mini Lesson (8 mins)

Details of Lesson Sequence

How did we get here? ~Political Climate in the US

·      What is polarization? ~Refers to the division of political parties along ideological lines and movement away from the political center (not a constant feature of American democracy).

·      Ideology: the body of doctrine, myth, belief, etc., that guides an individual, social movement, institution, class, or large group.

·      How does this impact how we have discussions today?

Guided Practice (15 mins)

Class Discussion

Students will create their ideal society.

·      What is a good society?

·      How should we get it?

·      What are the causes of the problems we see today?

Modeling- When I think of a good society, I consider the following things:

·      Who is impacted by my decisions? How?

·      My feelings

·      Others’ feelings

·      Multiple lenses to consider multiple perspectives

·      Think past myself/my own world

Checks for Understanding (5 mins)

I will start the discussion by posing a question. Students will contribute to the question by discussing answers with peers, challenging peer, asking for clarification, and helping peers when they are unable to articulate thoughts. I will gauge understanding through the answers presented in the discussion.

I will know students are applying what they have learned by how well the discussion goes. Students should use ground rules when engaged in the discussion.

Independent Practice (15 mins)

In small groups, students will create their perfect society. Students can create this society in their own image, without parameters. Students will need to show this using images or words

Evaluation/ Final Checking for Understanding and Closure (10 mins)

Can all people be included in a society even if they do not agree with everything that is being said or done?


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