Helping Students "See Beyond the Pale"

byLuke Holm

In a world wrought by deceptive media, oil-made living, and constant consumerism, students are bombarded by influential information every single day.  The unit “Helping Students ‘See Beyond the Pale’” is designed to develop critical thinking skills and awaken students’ minds to the truth of the world around them. Using Paul Fleischman’s Eyes Wide Open, as well as various articles, videos, and fictional short stories, students will explore the theme of environmentalism and how the world got to its current state. Throughout the unit, students will explore subtopics such as advertising, lobbyism, world population, consumerism, peak oil, and green energy.

This unit can be used for a wide range of academic grade levels. It is meant to introduce controversial topics to students in a nonbiased and open atmosphere. Furthermore, the unit is designed to promote great autonomy in choosing the various areas of focus. Students will engage in collegial discussions to enhance their understanding of environmental topics and develop educated opinions about the world around them. By the end of this unit, students will be inspired to think more deeply about their world and, in doing so, become active members of their community.

(Developed for Social Justice, grade 7; recommended for Elective, grades 7-12)

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