Unit 3: Taking Action Project (3-4 weeks)

Day One

  1. Introduce the Taking Action Project.
  2. If possible, ask a guest speaker to present to the class on his/her civic action in the community. This could be someone who works for a local nonprofit, someone who participated in a major social movement, someone who works in government – the goal is for students to hear about “taking action” in practice.

Day Two

  1. Ask students to brainstorm ideas for taking action and to workshop those ideas with partners or in small groups. You may wish to direct their workshopping by requiring students to give feedback on each other’s ideas according to the guidelines in the assignment.
  2. If possible, conference with students individually.


Day Three – until the project is due (3-4 weeks from Day One)

  1. Instruct students to conduct outside research (and provide whatever support is necessary for that).
  2. Help students to make contacts in the community as necessary.


Assignment Due Day

  1. Instruct students to present their projects to the class.
  2. Instruct students in the audience to ask academic questions of their peers.


Note: Assessing students on such a wide variety of actions is challenging. As you can see from the rubric attached to this assignment, I have placed an emphasis on the quality of the plan of action, the research, and the reflection, rather than on the impact of the action itself. I find that this focus allows a more even ground for students and also allows me to compare very different projects.



Unit 3 Student Work 

Here are examples of student projects on the following topics:

Note that this student work is not necessarily intended to be exemplary; it demonstrates a range of student understanding and skill. For example, the project about gay rights states that the “causes of this injustice” date to the 1960s and 1970s. (Of course, the causes of injustice here date back much further than that; the student meant to say that a social movement intended to fight this injustice gained momentum in the 1960s and 1970s.) This misstatement showed me that I had more work to do in helping students discuss cause and effect.