An activity and picture book discussion illustrate the tendency for people to see differences as a reason to fight. As we see in political divisions, society can be torn apart by factions. Differences provide an opportunity to be curious about someone else. Factions may also have a positive side when like-minded people collaborate to accomplish something difficult. 

Students read an old quote about the interconnection of all life on the planet and recognize that we are each affected by what happens to others and the environment. They will analyze current local, state, national and international issues addressed in the evening news. They become aware of the work of the U.N. Global Sustainable Development Goals and of foundations that give funds to improve the conditions of life. Students reflect on something they can do to make a difference.

Youth will use metaphor, simile and personification to create imagery in their writing and recognize philanthropy in poetry. The learners will also become familiar with the poet laureates, Billy Collins and his writing.

Through two readings, we learn about racist attitudes and practices in the transportation systems that were supported by Jim Crow laws in the 1940s South. When Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, it was a final stand after years of injustice and continuous acts of protest. We learn how her social action was part of combined efforts and ultimately changed public transportation laws.

From history we know that working in community (not on our own) is the best way to make change. Young people explore the work of nonprofits related to equity and social justice. 

Learners will sponsor Mix It Up Day, a national project to promote diversity within a school environment. Learners will experience roles as private citizens attempting to change behavior.

This lesson describes a psychological awareness of the connection between racism and self-betrayal and self-deception. When we recognize that going against our best judgment leads to self-betrayal, it can help us act with integrity in many situations.