Stay-At-Home Summer: Current Event Inspired Activities for Families
Each week, the WorldStrides Education Team develops a collection of activities centered around the locations we love (and the subjects we’re smitten with!). Each collection of projects is created with the whole family in mind, and will get you moving, thinking, creating, and most importantly of all – having fun! This week’s collection focuses on activities inspired by current events in the country.
When WorldStrides students travel to major cities around the globe they are likely to observe the current events of the location they’re in. Teachers and Course Leaders know that observing these can be a teaching moment that creates informed students. Learning about current events, both at home and farther out, helps students understand the importance of people, events, and issues in the news and to pay attention to what’s happening around them. Although we are not out in the field with students right now, we can still learn from our current events.
Rock the Vote -Voting in your State
According to the Pew Research Center, most Americans would agree that high voter turnout is important for elections in the United States. Even so, voter turnout in the U.S. consistently lags behind turnout in other democratic nations. Why is this the case? How can we increase voter turnout in our own communities, and raise awareness for the importance of voting?
Learn: Watch this video from We The Voters to learn about the history of voting in the United States. The Founding Fathers decided that each state could regulate and administer voting in their own way, which means that voting in your state may look very different from voting in other parts of the country.
Do: Create a social media campaign encouraging individuals in your community to vote! In order to make an effective campaign, you will need to create several posts. Your posts should explain the importance of voting, debunk any myths that may dissuade people from voting, and include specific information about important deadlines and voting requirements in your state. Check out the example below about voting in Virginia.
Think: Take a look at this article from The Guardian comparing the ease of voting in each state. How easy is it to vote in your state, and how does your state compare to other states on the list? Which state makes it easiest to vote, and which state makes it hardest? Are there any rules about voting in your state that you disagree with, or think should be changed? How do voting laws affect voter turnout in your community?
Check out one example of a social media post explaining important voting details in the state of Virginia.
The Purpose of Memorials
When we visit historic sites, we often find memorials or monuments dedicated to specific individuals or events. We can often learn some history by just being at the memorial and considering the symbolism of its design. We may even find information about the memorial’s dedication, an inscription, and mementos from past visitors. However, there is often much more to learn about a monument or memorial, its purpose, and the values of those who built it.
Learn: In Washington, D.C., many students visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial but may not see another powerful memorial just steps away; the Vietnam Women’s Memorial. Take a moment to watch this video, learn about why it was built, and how it impacts those women who served in Vietnam.
Do: Research the monuments and memorials in your home community. Find one that reflects a value that you agree with, or shares an interest in a specific person or event in history that you want to learn more about. Visit that memorial, learn about what it represents, and make some observations about the design, materials, and symbolism. Then do some additional research about when it was built, who funded the memorial, and why it is important to your community.
Think: Why are monuments and memorials built? What impact do they have on how we learn history? How can learning about a monument or memorial provide insight into the collective beliefs of the community that built it? How can we use monuments and memorials to inform, shape, and strengthen communities?
One team member visited the newly-opened University of Virginia Memorial to Enslaved Laborers. Learn a little about the design with this video, and check out her photos below!
Create your Personal Slogan
You may be seeing yard signs for local and national candidates as we approach the November election. A good slogan should be memorable and concise and express the candidate’s message about core values or issues. Reflecting on past elections and campaigns can teach us about the political culture of the time.
Learn: Campaign messaging is crucial when trying to secure votes in an election. What can we learn about candidates from their slogans? The Library of Congress historians review the way that campaigning and slogans has changed over the course of American history in this blog article. You can also watch this History Channel video about why candidates use slogans.
Do: Create your own slogan! Can you think of something that effectively captures something you would like to do or change within the government? It could be an overarching message or focus on a specific issue like education, equality, global affairs, or the environment. Need some inspiration? Check out this list of presidential campaign slogans from 1840 to today. Or take a look at the slogan created by a member of the Curriculum and Academics team.
Think: What emotion were you trying to evoke with your slogan? What common characteristics should all campaign slogans share? Is there a sign or slogan you’ve seen in your community that made an impact on you? In what way? How has social media impacted the importance of and use of slogans?
Did you create a great campaign slogan or an amazing social media campaign? Make sure to share it with our team at email@example.com – we might share your hard work and creativity on our social media! Want more activities to get you moving? Check out our collection of outdoors inspired activities!