Before seventh graders in Kelsey Horst’s social studies class began to contrast the lot of the average person in England with that of one in the American colonies, she posed a big question to the students. What does equality mean to you?
The gentle probe embedded concepts of social justice and diversity into the students’ study of early America, planting seeds that they could be change-makers in their world.
The students at home and in the room shared their thoughts on Nearpod, an app that let them see their classmates’ answers, too.
- Everybody is the same.
- Everyone has the same rights and opportunities.
- No one’s voice is ignored.
Those thoughts formed the undercurrent of a lesson on land ownership in England and the British colonies. Students learn that far more people owned land in the colonies and that owning land gave the “yeoman farmers” the right to vote.
Back to the framing question of equality. Was anyone left out? Students came to their own answers.
- Native Americans
- Enslaved people
“Inequity did not only exist in colonial America. There is still work to be done to promote justice today,” said Horst. “What can you do in your community?”
- Look through the eyes of other people
- Help people who are homeless
- Speak out