What's Being Done?

Grades: 
6, 7, 8

Learners share their findings concerning the laws that regulate the use and treatment of animals and grow in their understanding of and appreciation for the role of advocacy in promoting change.

Lesson Rating 
5
Duration 
PrintOne 45-Minute Session
Objectives 
  • identify legislation about animal welfare found in their state
  • identify additional animal advocacy organizations and their roles
Materials 
  • copies of handout: Scenarios cut apart by scenario
Bibliography 

​ 

 

Instructions

Print
  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Review the information collected about laws and actions to protect animals. 

  2. Write the words advocate and advocacy on the display board. These English words are derived from the Latin word advocatus meaning to “add voice.” We “add voice” by writing, speaking, pleading, or acting in favor of or support of something.”  Advocacy is based on an individual’s or organization’s beliefs and values. In situations where specific laws do not exist, it becomes the government entity's responsibility to consider what decision is “best” for the common good.

  3. Discuss ways that an individual, group or organization could advocate for a cause like animal welfare (petitions, boycotts, letter writing, editorials, volunteering, parades, rallies, pickets, sit-ins, silent protests, hunger strikes, publicity/advertising, graffiti, blockades, riots, demonstrations, strikes, walkouts, lockouts, teach-ins, internet voting, debates, campaigning, street corner talks, fund raising, lobbying, signs/billboards, phone solicitation, and violence).

  4. Arrange the participants into five equal groups. Give each group a copy of one of the five scenarios from the handout“Scenarios.” Tell each group to read their assigned scenario and reach consensus on what is the primary advocacy method(s) being used in this scenario. One group member reads their scenario to the class and names the primary method of advocacy that was used.

    (Scenario One – Fund Raising/Donations; Scenario Two – Editorial/Letter Writing; Scenario Three – Volunteering/Solicitation; Scenario Four – Letter Writing/Petitions; Scenario Five – Boycotting) Allow time for questions and discussion.

  5. There are many groups and organizations advocating for the humane treatment of animals. They can use the internet to explore organizations that advocate for animals for current efforts. One example is www.aspca.org

  6. Challenge the young people to select an issue - local, national or international - that they believe needs to be addressed through an act of advocacy (need for a local dog park, access to water for animals in public places, local animal welfare laws and regulations, availability of affordable pet care, and need for spay and neuter clinics).

  7. Assign students to write a letter or essay expressing their beliefs about animal welfare, clearly stating the issue they want to address and proposing a strategy to address the issue. Help students determine the appropriate audience for their writing and how to submit the piece to that venue - organization, local or national governmental entity, news media, etc. (The class may choose to address one local animal welfare issue as a group or each student may choose an issue on their own.)

  8. After the persuasive writing is completed and delivered, have the students reflect on their learning and advocacy. One possible way is to cut out a variety of jig-sawpuzzleshapes from a single piece of large white construction paper. Be sure that each student in the classroom gets at least one of these puzzle pieces. Have each student write on their puzzle piece a response to one of these prompts: What I believe about animals and their role in our world. How I feel about animals in sports and entertainment. What difference did my advocacy make? Have the students, using a colored pencil or crayon, lightly color their puzzle piece so as not to cover up what is written on it. Then working as a group, have students put the puzzle together. Once the puzzle has been completed, have a few of students paste/glue the pieces onto a larger piece of paper and display the complete puzzle under the heading, “Working Together for Animals.”

Assessment 

Assessment will be based on learner involvement in group activities and discussions. There should be evidence of reflective listening and thoughtful response. The satisfactory completion of the advocacy writing will serve as the primary assessment pieces for this lesson.

Cross Curriculum 

Learners will select an animal welfare issue they want to address. They will write a persuasive essay or letter, and send it to an organization, local or national governmental entity, news media, or other appropriate venue in an attempt to promote animal welfare.

Handouts

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Discuss why some animals and humans will sacrifice for the benefit of unknown others.
      2. Benchmark MS.4 Describe the characteristics of someone who helps others.
    2. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Describe the importance of hearing all voices in a community and respecting their right to be heard.
      2. Benchmark MS.4 Identify civil society organizations that protect and speak for minority viewpoints.
    3. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Discuss a public policy issue affecting the common good and demonstrate respect and courtesy for differing opinions.
  2. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 05. Integrating the Service Experience into Learning
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Identify outcomes from the service.