Lesson Plan: Examining Current Global Issues

Overview

Former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan indicated, “Young people should be at the forefront of global change and innovation. Empowered, they can be key agents for development and peace.” As future leaders, it is imperative that young people are inspired to make a difference and develop creative solutions to address global issues.  As an organization with humanitarian roots, AFS-USA understands the value of involving students in developing solutions to intercultural challenges. Moreover, AFS-USA developed Project: Change, an initiative aimed to prompt students to think critically about global issues and develop ideas to address them through volunteerism. 

This lesson plan will explore the AFS-USA Project: Change initiative, as a tool to challenge students to think about their role in developing creative solutions to combat global issues. Students will explore 5 key global issues: Education, Sustainability, Hunger & Nutrition, Arts & Technology, and Human Rights & Cultural Understanding. Students will then be challenged to identify a global issue that inspires them in one of the following 10 countries: Colombia, Egypt, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Ireland, Kenya, Nepal, Russia, and Turkey, and develop a creative solution. Students are encouraged to present their solutions to their peers and enter the contest for an opportunity to put their vision into action. 

Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Explore 5 key global issues: Education, Sustainability, Hunger & Nutrition, Art & Technology and Human Rights and Cultural Understanding
  • Learn more about the history, culture and tradition of the following countries: Colombia, Egypt, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Ireland, Kenya, Nepal, Russia, Turkey
  • Recognize the power of taking action to address a global issue
  • Develop a creative idea for a volunteer project that inspires them

Materials

AFS-USA Project:Change Issue Areas and Countries

Common Core Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.5: Analyze how a text uses structure to emphasize key points or advance an explanation or analysis
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.2: Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas

AFS Educational Goals

Global Realm: To develop an increased curiosity and concern about world affairs, to develop a sustained commitment to obtaining information from many sources and seek out perspectives from other cultures in understanding world situations and problems.

Key Terms

Education: is “fundamental to development and growth,” according to The World Bank. Recognized internationally as an essential and basic human right, education is the single most important tool that can help lift children and adults out of poverty. Although the right to an education has been recognized by The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, many countries face paramount challenges in providing access to education for their citizens.

Sustainability: refers to the extent to which people’s habits and actions are able to avoid damaging our natural environment. According to The United States Environmental Protection Agency, “everything that we need for our survival and wellbeing depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment.”

Nutrition and World Hunger: The World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that there are 842 million who struggle with hunger worldwide. Recent data from the WFP indicates that there are approximately 553 million people facing hunger in Asia and the Pacific, 227 million in Africa, and 47 million in Latin America and the Caribbean. These numbers are staggering and concerning, as lack of proper nutrition can significantly hinder human development.

Arts and Technology: are essential components of the global educational priorities known as STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. As we move towards a more interconnected world, Arts and Technology are among the most important topics in preparing students to be global leaders. Many of the world’s most meaningful advancements in recent decades – from smart phones to solar power to advanced prosthetics - have resulted from innovators successfully combining creativity with technical skills.

Human Rights and Cultural Understanding: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has recognized certain inalienable rights and principles afforded to all humans regardless of their ethnicity, gender, language, religion, or political opinion. These rights address issues of education access, personal liberty, accessibility of resources, and freedom of movement, culture and opinion. The ability to take advantage of such rights has been linked to human growth and prosperity.

Activity

  • Review the issues areas with the class.
  • Ask students to select a specific issue area that they want to explore in one of the following 10 countries.
  • Ask students to develop a creative solution for an important global issue. Encourage them to do further research on the following websites: worldbank.org, amnesty.org, undp.org (Other websites are also encouraged) 
  • Students to present their solution in a digital presentation, including: Prezi , Padlet , ThingLink, Youtube, Emaze
  • Students will show their completed presentation to the class, to be evaluated by their classmates on the following criteria: Quality of research, Creativity, and Cultural appropriateness.
  • Students are encouraged to submit their project to the Project: Change to be entered for an opportunity to put their vision into action.

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