Intro to the Department of Education: Elementary Lesson Plan

Use this lesson plan with your students to learn more about the role of the department of education through the #StartWithStudents survey.
Lesson Plan
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Topic: #StartwithStudents--- How do big issues affect our lives at school?

Grade Levels: Grades 1 through 5

Objectives: Students will understand how major issues impact their lives at school.

Materials:

Procedures

Activation:

  • After watching the video, talk about the following in a whole class or small group discussion:
  • What problem did Ryan notice in his community?
  • What did Ryan do to solve the problem that he noticed?
  • What problems, or issues, do you see in your school community that you wish could change?
  • Create a list of students’ ideas about what they wish could change in schools.
  • In person: on a whiteboard or piece of chart paper
  • Online: use jamboard or a similar platform that allows students to post their ideas to a whole class “board”

New Learning & Activity:

Part 1

  • Use part 1 of PowerPoint to get students thinking about how government decisions affect their lives at school.

Part 2

  • Use part 2 of the PowerPoint to have students brainstorm what they think the next Secretary of Education should care about. Tell students that things that people care about are called issues. Refer back to the list you made earlier about what students would like to see changed in their school community. Make connections between the change they want to see, and what issues the next Secretary of Education should care about.
  • Add to the PowerPoint slide when students share their ideas. At the end of the discussion, there should be a PowerPoint slide that shows what your group thinks the next Secretary of Education should care about.

Part 3

  • Tell students that many students across the country have been thinking about important issues that the next Secretary of Education should care about.
  • Tell students that you will be going through a few issues that other students came up with. Ask students to think about whether each issue is very important, sort of important, or not very important.
  • For each category, assign an action that students can do to signal what they think about each issue:
  • Remote learning: jump up and down if you think an issue is very important, stand up if you think an issue is sort of important and sit down on the ground if you think an issue is not very important. (Can be replaced with hand signals).
  • In Class Social Distance Learning: hold up a green sticky note if you think an issue is very important, hold up a yellow sticky note if you think an issue is sort of important, and hold up a red sticky note if you think an issue is not very important.
  • In Class with Ability to Move Around: put signs around the room with “very important,” “sort of important,” and “not very important.” Have students move to each sign depending on what they think for each issue.
  • After this activity, ask students if there was anything important missing from the issues other students came up with. Keep a list where students can see/access it.

Wrap Up & Complete Survey

  • Ask students to think about or write about the most important issues they talked about today.
  • Have a few students share about what the most important issues were to them, and why.
  • Lead students through the #StartwithStudents survey or share the resources with parents so that students can complete the survey at home with a parent or guardian.

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