Author:
Tracy Rains
Subject:
Reading Informational Text
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Level:
High School
Grade:
9, 10, 11, 12
Tags:
  • Activism
  • BLM
  • Civil Rights
  • Literature
  • Police Incidents
  • blm
    License:
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
    Language:
    English
    Media Formats:
    Downloadable docs, Interactive, Text/HTML, Video

    Problem Based Module: "Hands Up! Don't Shoot!"

    Problem Based Module: "Hands Up! Don't Shoot!"

    Overview

    In this project, you will explore a real-world problem, and then work through a series of steps to analyze that problem, research ways the problem could be solved, then propose a possible solution to that problem. Often, there are no specific right or wrong solutions, but sometimes one particular solution may be better than others. The key is making sure you fully understand the problem, have researched some possible solutions, and have proposed the solution that you can support with information / evidence.

    Begin by reading the problem statement in Step 1. Take the time to review all the information provided in the statement, including exploring the websites, videos and / or articles that are linked. Then work on steps 2 through 8 to complete this problem-based learning experience.

    This project will address the following:

    Habits of Mind: Thinking flexibly

    Critical Thinking Skills: Analyze/evaluate

    THE PROBLEM

    STEP 1: THE PROBLEM

    On the night of February 26, 2012, seventeen year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer. Read this article or watch this video to gain insight into what happened that night.  

    In July 2013, George Zimmerman was found “not guilty” in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.  Watch this brief video to see the reaction inside and outside of the courthouse.  

    Since Trayvon Martin’s death, there have been numerous unarmed African Americans killed during an encounter with police. The following are some of the incidents that have received national attention:

    • On July 17, 2014, Eric Garner was confronted by police officers after accusations that he was illegally selling cigarettes. The confrontation ended with Garner being killed by a chokehold performed by a New York City police officer. Click here to watch a brief ABC News Report. In December 2014, a grand jury decided not to indict the officer who choked Garner, which triggered protests across the country.  

    • On August 5, 2014, John Crawford picked up a toy rifle off the shelves at an Ohio Wal-Mart. A bystander called 911, claiming he was loading the rifle and aiming it at children. Wal-Mart released the security footage which did not match the claims in the 911 call. Watch this brief news report and see what you think. The Department of Justice filed no charges against the officer who shot and killed Crawford.

    • On August 9, 2014, Michael Brown was shot and killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri.  Hear Brown’s friend give his eye-witness version of events. This CNN video shows surveillance video leading up to Brown’s death. The now infamous Ferguson Riots began on November 24, 2014, after the St. Louis County prosecutor announced that a grand jury decided not to indict the officer for Brown’s death. To gain a better understanding of what happened in Ferguson, read this article by The New York Times. For a brief description of other contributing factors to the Ferguson Riots, watch this video.  

    • In April 2015, Freddie Gray died when his neck was broken while being transported in the back of a police transport van. Watch the CNN report of Gray’s mysterious death. Six Baltimore police officers were suspended without pay; however, all were acquitted of the charges against them.

    • On July 6, 2016, Philando Castile was pulled over for a broken tail light in Minnesota.  Castile informed the officer that he had a gun in his glove compartment and that he also had a license to carry. The officer shot Castile multiple times. The jury found the officer not guilty. Watch CBS News discuss the police dashcam video.

    • Just days after the shooting of Philando Castile by a Minnesota policeman, a peaceful demonstration in response to that shooting turned violent. Micah Johnson, a 25 year-old African American, opened fire on Dallas police officers, killing five. Read this article for more information about the deadly shooting. Watch this brief news segment from ABC News to see footage from the demonstration.

    In response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman, three women started a social movement using the hashtag, “Black Lives Matter.” Read their reasoning for the creation of the movement here.  

    The Black Lives Matter movement has met resistance from groups using the phrases, “All Lives Matter” or “Blue Lives Matter.” Opponents of Black Lives Matter view it as racist because, essentially, all lives matter. Black Lives Matter activists respond by saying that while all lives matter, it is apparent that black lives matter significantly less to police and to the government.  This video explains the purpose of the Black Lives Matter movement. This video explains why “All Lives Matter” is viewed as hurtful to the Black Lives Matter movement. In this video, former President Barack Obama acknowledges the “Black Lives Matter” vs. “All Lives Matter” debate.

     

    DEFINE THE ISSUE

    STEP 2: DEFINE THE ISSUE

    Think

    1. How could you sort/classify/categorize this problem? What type of problem is it?

    2. What is the motive/underlying theme/message?

    Do

    • Use your words to summarize the problem in 4-6 sentences.

     

    WHAT DO YOU KNOW

    STEP 3: WHAT DO YOU KNOW

    Think

    1. List the keywords from the case study. Put a check beside words you are familiar with prior to starting this project.

    2. Brainstorm and categorize to create a list of the significant parts of this problem.

    Do

    • Make a chart showing what you know that will help you solve the problem.

    ANALYZE THE CASE INFORMATION

    STEP 4: ANALYZE THE CASE INFORMATION

    Think

    1. Determine if the information is based on fact or opinion.

    2. Distinguish relevant/irrelevant information from the current case study and provided resources.

    3. How would you compare/contrast the constraints and opportunities of the problem?

    4. Infer and explain information that is important to the case solution, but is not explicitly stated in the case.

    Do

    • Develop and write out the problem statement in your own words.

    POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS

    STEP 5: POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS

    Think

    1. What are other possible outcomes?

    2. Analyze and explain the multiple perspectives/solutions within this case.

    3. What conclusions can you draw from your research?

    4. Generate alternative solutions.

    Do

    • Gather, organize, and interpret information from multiple sources.

    • Based on what you know, defend your preferred solution.

    RESEARCH SOLUTION

    STEP 6: RESEARCH SOLUTION

    Think

    1. Research the knowledge and data you need to support the solution and fill in missing gaps.

    2. Investigate and draw conclusions about how the preferred solution impacts the world today.

    3. What changes to your preferred solution will/have you made?

    4. What evidence justifies your solution?

    Do

    • Select decision criteria.

    • Analyze and evaluate alternatives.
       

    CONSTRUCT CONCLUSIONS

    STEP 7: CONSTRUCT CONCLUSIONS

    Think

    1. Review your research and develop a solution, providing supporting documentation to convince others of your solution.

    2. Decide if you will be creating an argument or a model to illustrate your solution.

    Do

    • Develop a plan/proposal with supporting documentation to convince others of your solution.

    • Make sure to include the following items in your proposal.  (Feel free to include additional information as you need to explain your solution.)

    • Describe your findings and/or recommendations.

    • List the problem statement questions.

    • Break down the data you gathered into an analysis that supports your solution(s) or recommendation(s).

    • Summarize the process you used and options considered, along with any difficulties you encountered.

    • Your presentation can be a video of yourself presenting your model or argument, or it can be an animated video using infographics and other images.

    REFLECTIONS

    STEP 8: REFLECTIONS

    Think

    1. How did you decide to…?

    2. What seemed difficult?

    3. What seemed (or eventually became) easy?

    4. If you were to do any part of this over, what would it be and how would you change it?

    5. What did you learn about the topic or about yourself during this project?

    Do

    Write a 3-5 paragraph reflection essay including these three parts:

    1. Include an introduction where you focus directly on explaining what aspect of your experiences you will discuss in the reflection.

    2. The body of the essay should explain how you have changed or what you have learned. Make certain to explain what things caused you to change.

    3. In the conclusion of a reflective essay, you should discuss how you have changed and the effect of those changes. You should share how you think the experience will change you in the future.