Overview: Students learn about and discuss social inequalities and, in small groups, research and prepare a skit for their classmates depicting a societal injustice and a possible solution for it.
Subject: Social Studies: Cultural & Social Studies; Visual & Performing Arts: Drama
Grades: 10th, 11th, 12th
Duration: 3 class periods
Related Concepts: Social Justice, Performing Arts, Protest, Current Events, Nonviolent Demonstration
Students will be able to:
- Research, perform, and write about the societal inequalities that exist for a particular societal group along with potential solutions for improving social justice for that population.
Essential Questions: What is social justice? What inequalities exist in society? What can be done to improve them?
Vocabulary: Social justice, inequality, injustice, discrimination, disparity, socioeconomic status
Common Core Standards Addressed:
- ELA: Speaking & Listening
- ELA: Writing
- Projection system
- Computers/devices for student research
Continue the discussion with the prompt "What kinds of inequalities do you think exist in society?" Students may suggest specific injustices such as racial discrimination or think of a particular underprivileged group, such as those in a lower socioeconomic class.
Explain that the idea of fairness for all in society and freedom from discrimination regardless of an individual's personal characteristics is called "social justice." Ask students to suggest specific types of discrimination that they may be familiar with and offer additional examples (such as racism, sexism, ageism, discrimination based on religion, etc).
Divide the class into small groups of 4 or 5. Each group will be assigned a particular group in society (such as immigrants, racial minorities, women, senior citizens, people with disabilities/special needs, or people from a lower socioeconomic class). Using the Internet, along with library resources, each group researches some the ways in which discrimination or unequal privileges exist for their assigned societal group. Student groups will also discuss amongst themselves possible solutions for these injustices. Once the students have the opportunity to research information about their assigned societal group, they will prepare a presentation for the rest of the class.
Each group will briefly summarize its research findings (by listing some of the specific ways the assigned societal group faces discrimination or inequalities) and then perform a brief (approximately 5-10 minute) skit acting out one of these specific injustices the societal group can face. For example, a group assigned "senior citizens" as a topic might choose the specific example of age discrimination that can exist when senior citizens apply or interview for jobs and perform a skit of an older person interviewing for a job and the interviewers discussing their decision afterward to hire a younger candidate instead. Following the skit presentation, the student groups will summarize some of the possible suggestions they discussed for improving social justice for their societal group. All members of each student group must participate in the presentation in some capacity.
Note: Ensure that students are sensitive in their depiction of individuals from different races or with different abilities than themselves.
Assign an essay in which students discuss what they learned about existing societal inequalities from doing their own research and by viewing the presentations of other groups. Encourage students to include their own thoughts about how to work toward improving social justice for all people.
- Use informal assessment to gauge student understanding during class discussions.
- Walk around as students work on their small group assignments to ensure that students are grasping the key concepts and following directions.
- Review and approve student ideas for their presentation and skits prior to students performing them for the class
- Assess essays for student understanding of the topic of social justice and what may be done to improve inequalities in society.
English Language Learners and Students with Special Needs:
Include students in groups with higher level students.
Clarify any potentially challenging vocabulary terms or concepts.
Shorten or otherwise adapt the essay assignment based on student ability.
- Higher Level Students:
- Encourage students to write about why they feel injustices exist in society and what societal attitudes need to change to improve social equality.
Students can build on their experience with researching about social injustices and possible solutions with the lesson Improving My Community Through Social Action.
Provide a list of local opportunities for involvement (peaceful protests, volunteering at homeless shelters, etc.) and have learners participate in social justice on the ground level.