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Intro to the Department of Education: Middle School 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

Topic: #StartwithStudents--- How do big issues affect our lives at school?

Grade Levels: 6-8

Objectives: Students will understand how major issues impact their lives at school, how government impacts education decision making, and the importance of student involvement in decision making.


Community Change Example

#StartwithStudents PowerPoint

JamBoard or Chart Paper

Start with Students survey:



  • What did this group of students recognize as an issue in their school community?
  • What did they do about this issue?
  • What are some issues that you wish were different in your school community?
  • How might you take steps to change this issue?
  • 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”


Part 1

  • Use the powerpoint to go through how decisions are made about schools, and to get students thinking about how government decisions may affect them.

Part 2

  • Use the PowerPoint to think with students about issues that the next Secretary of Education should be thinking about. Make connections to the issues that students shared in the beginning of class. At the end of this discussion, you should have a list of what your class thinks is important for the next Secretary of Education to be thinking about.

Part 3

  • Put students in pairs or small groups. As you go through each of the issues on the PowerPoint, encourage students to discuss the thought questions together. Have them think about how these issues directly impact them and their school experience.
  • After this, have students come up with a list of their top 5 issues that seem most important. These can be issues listed in the PowerPoint, or issues that students came up with independently.

Wrap Up/Complete Survey

  • Give students the opportunity to share, or write about the issues discussed in class.
  • Lead students through the survey, or send resources home with students so that it can be completed with a parent or guardian.

Other Helpful Materials from Student Voice

School board 101 (school board action guide)