Being the Change: Violence Against Women

9, 10, 11, 12

The students will consider ways in which they can be peaceful within a violent community, country, or world. They will learn about domestic violence and visit a women's shelter or hear a presentation from a shelter representative.

PrintThree Class Periods

The learner will:

  • respond to several quotes about peace
  • brainstorm ways to be peaceful even when surrounded by violence
  • create a product that communicates their ideas for promoting peace
  • take notes on how a shelter for victims of violence operates
  • read and react to facts about domestic violence
  • Charts of two quotes (See Instructional Strategy, Anticipatory Set)
  • Chart paper
  • Art supplies (poster board, markers, scissors, colored pencils, glue, construction paper)
  • notebooks/clipboards with 5Ws note-taking sheet
  • a women’s shelter (this will require prior contact from the instructor)
  • student copies of Handout One: Women's Shelter 5Ws Note Taking Guide
  • Student copies of Fast Facts on Domestic Violence (see Bibliographical References)
Teacher Preparation 

Access to a women's shelter may be difficult to obtain. The size of the group allowed to visit the shelter may be limited.  Also, confidentiality concerns may limit the breadth and depth of the field trip. This visit will require advance preparation work between the teacher and the shelter. It is suggested that the shelter presenter/tour guide prepare a Who/What/When/Where/Why type of presentation for the visitors. Ask that the presenter spend some time sharing how to prevent violence against women. If a visit to a shelter is not possible, invite a representative from a shelter to visit the class to give a presentation.


peace: living in harmony; freedom from disputes; the absence of war

change: the process of altering, making something better

domestic violence: a violent confrontation between family or household members involving physical harm, sexual assault, or fear of physical harm


Ask youth to share one idea they heard today that they hope to work on, with the goal of being more peaceful and encouraging peace in those around them in their community.


New York City Shelter to contact: Aegis Battered Women's Program, Shelter for Battered Women P.O. Box 905, Morris Heights, Bronx, NY 10453 718-733-4440

Fast Facts on Domestic Violence:


  1. Anticipatory Set

    Start by sharing the following quote with the group: “Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” -Anonymous Ask youth to discuss whether they think it is possible to be peaceful even when one is living within a violent country or community. Share with students another quote: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” –Ghandi. Ask youth what it means to be change. Ask how we could interpret this quote in relation to violence and peace.

  2. Day One:

    Allow the students to form groups of 3-4 students. Ask them to discuss ways in which they can “be the change” within their own communities related to ending violence and promoting peace. After ten minutes, ask the small groups to share ideas with the whole group.

  3. Ask the whole group for suggestions of ways to communicate their ideas to their peers and to community members (these might include creating a skit, chart, poem, song, rap, poster, media presentation).

  4. Have the small groups work together to choose a way to advocate for peace using one of the communication ideas from the whole group brainstorming. Give them time to plan their advocacy.

  5. Day Two

  6. Groups complete their presentations and present their products for peer review.

  7. As a class a plan for presenting or displaying their products in the community to advocate for peace.

  8. Day Three: Domestic Violence - Visit to a Shelter or Presentation by a Shelter Representative

  9. To give the students background about domestic violence define the term (see Vocabulary) and distribute copies of Fast Facts About Domestic Violence. Read and discuss anything that is surprising or new to the students. Be sensitive to the possibility that some of the students may have firsthand experience with domestic violence.

  10. Prepare the students for the visit to the women's shelter by stressing their roles as observers and listeners. Remind them to take notes using their 5Ws note taking sheet.

  11. During the visit or presentation, encourage the students to ask questions that may help them better understand the goals of a battered women’s program.

  12. Have the students share their recordings after the trip or presentation.

Cross Curriculum 

Students may present their skit, song, or artwork advocating for peace for an outside audience. For example, they may present their work at a festival or elementary school.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Utilize the persuasive power of written or oral communication as an instrument of change in the community, nation or the world.
      2. Benchmark HS.3 Participate in acts of democratic citizenship in the community, state or nation, such as petitioning authority, advocating, voting, group problem solving, mock trials or classroom governance and elections.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.4 Cite historical examples of citizen actions that affected the common good.
      2. Benchmark HS.8 Explain the concept of community/social capital and how it contributes to building a democratic society.
  3. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
      2. Benchmark HS.2 Research the need in the school, neighborhood, local community, state, nation, or world.
    2. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities, and research.
    3. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Provide a needed service.