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More than 90 minutes
  • Civil Rights
  • Current Events
  • Journalism
  • Politics
  • 6-12

(Note: For more support, see expanded procedure in downloadable lesson plan.)

  1. In advance, review the sample worksheet at the end of this packet. You may wish to distribute it to students, as well.
  2. As a class, read the First Amendment and define each of the five freedoms.
  3. Look at the NewseumED civil rights timeline (below) to see how activists used these freedoms to advocate for change.
  4. Explore the Newseum-created images in the “The Freedom to Make a Change Posters” NewseumED Pinterest board.
  5. Discuss which freedoms were used.
  6. Divide the class into small groups and create plans to address the civil rights issue chosen in lesson 1, Identifying Community Issues. This is done by completing the First Amendment as a Tool for Change worksheet.
  7. Once the worksheet is completed, have the groups turn it into a multimedia project.
  8. Groups will then present their projects to the class and decide on a single reachable goal and how to achieve that goal.
  9. Last, groups create a multimedia project about the community goal and plan to achieve it. They pitch their project to their peers, and vote for one to pursue as a class.

  • The Five Freedoms: A Tool for Change worksheet (download), at least one per small group.
  • Internet access

To help the class decide which project to complete, ask them to consider:

  • Which of these goals seems most worthy and why? Which seems most attainable and why? Is there any overlap or compromise between worthy and attainable goals?
  • Which steps seem most likely to lead to these goals? In what order do the steps need to be executed?
  • Where will this plan likely encounter obstacles? What might the obstacles be, and how will you overcome them?
  • Which of the five freedoms is most important to addressing this issue? Do you think these freedoms will always be the most important, or will their ranking vary depending on the issues and goals at hand?

Coming Up Short: Find a news story about a project or protest that did not fully achieve its intended goal, such as a fundraising campaign that fell short of its goal, a protest from the “Occupy Wall Street” movement that disbanded before achieving all of its goals, etc. You can also choose an event or events from the timeline that did not achieve its intended goal. Where did the project go wrong? Was it able to achieve any part of its goal? Have your students create a hypothesis for why the project they selected only partially achieved its goal, and use evidence from the article, timeline entries and/or additional research to support their theory. What lessons can be learned from these examples?


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