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Appendix: Issue Exploration


Many teachers want their students to be exposed to a range of issues and explore them before deciding on an issue. The issue seminar format described below is modified from veteran Mikva teacher Bill Lamme’s classroom.

Issue Awareness Seminars Format

Students are divided into issue groups. Each issue group is responsible for planning and presenting a three day seminar on their selected topic. These seminars follow the following format:

Day 1: Informational Presentation

All members of group must play an equal role.

  • Group must use at least one visual aid: large poster, PowerPoint, or video
  • The presentation must include:
    • Definition and general summary of the issue
    • Case Study: an in depth look at a case study (specific example)
    • Homework (an article or articles) for the rest of the class to read prior to the presentation

Day 2: Guest speaker

  • Each group is responsible for bringing a gust speaker to speak with the class
  • Group must prep the guest speaker on audience and purpose of visit
  • Group will introduce speaker and manage class time
  • Group will write a thank you note to guest speaker

Day 3: Action Day

  • Group must describe actions that are now happening or have happened in the past on their issue
    • What are the major groups working on this issue?
    • Include all arenas of activity – laws and/or proposed legislation, lobbying, conferences, educational and public relations efforts, petition drives, letter writing campaigns, fundraising, protests, demonstrations.
  • Group will highlight local action on the issue
  • Group will propose a specific action or actions for the class to work on.

Examples of possible issues for Issue Exploration Seminars:

  • Violence
  • Transportation
  • Domestic Abuse
  • Depression
  • Teen Pregnancy
  • Lack of Sex Education
  • Unemployment
  • Prison Abuse
  • Corruption in government
  • Voter Suppression
  • US involvement in wars abroad
  • Drug Trafficking
  • Climate Change
  • Environmental Justice
  • Endangered species
  • Animal Rights
  • Immigration/Immigration Reform
  • Drug abuse
  • Homophobia/anti-gay policies
  • Sweatshops/Fair-trade
  • Education
  • School to Prison Pipeline
  • Recidivism rates
  • Drop-out
  • Cost of college/student debt Bullying
  • Obesity rates
  • Suicide
  • Gun laws
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