Identity and Impact examines the intersection of personal identity and the changes that we want to make in the world. The course aims to answer the essential questions of “What is identity?” and “What does it have to do with making an impact?” by exploring the multi-faceted nature of both our own identities and others’ identities, considering how changemakers’ identities inform the impact they have on the world, and learning about different avenues for social impact. Ultimately, the course seeks to give students the chance to think deeply about the Scott Center’s core questions: what matters to you and what are you doing about it?
This course was originally designed by Hillbrook’s Director of DEI, Gulliver LaValle, and Director of the Scott Center for Social Entrepreneurship, Annie Makela, as a quarter-long sixth-grade elective. The class was co-taught a second time by the Scott Center, DEI, and sixth-grade teams as a Reach Beyond Block offering for all of sixth grade, meaning that class time took place for approximately 2 hours, once a week, for a period of 8 weeks. This outline reflects that 8-week version, and highlights key activities in the hopes that educators can adopt, adapt, and expand the course’s central elements within their own classrooms.
Please reach out to the Scott Center at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in hearing more about the expanded elective outline.
Week 1: Introduction
Introduce the course and begin to share aspects of personal identity.
- Presentation of course objectives and plans.
- Take a picture of your favorite place on campus (concrete or abstract) to discuss with the class.
- Fill out the intro survey. Questions:
- “My understanding of identity is ____________.”
- “I think people make an impact through ____________.”
Week 2: The Single Story + Your Identity
Explore the concept of a “single story” and articulate multiple stories of personal identity.
- Watch Chimamanda Ngozie Adichi’s 2009 TED talk, The Danger of a Single Story.
- Discussion questions:
- What is a single story?
- Why can it be harmful?
- Have you experienced a harmful single story in your life?
- Discussion questions:
- Students make an identity chart, including at least 10 spokes, that will help us move beyond a single-story understanding of their identities. Key to emphasize: some aspects of our identity evolve over time and other aspects stay the same. You are the author of your identity wheel and you can always revisit and change it as your identity changes.
- Examples (can be done on paper or digitally via a template):
Week 3: Other Identities
Hear about others’ experiences through the lens of their identities.
- Watch the New York Times “A Conversation on Race” videos via a jigsaw activity with students in groups.
- Each group watches 2 assigned videos.
- Students collaborate within group to take notes and discuss key concepts.
- Discussion questions:
- What did you take away from this video? What should we understand?
- What is the story of this video?
- How is this experience different from yours? How is it the same?
- What can we generalize about experience from this video? What is specific?
- Discussion questions:
- Students are divided into new groups and report thoughts and ideas from previous group.
- General reflections as a class.
- Suggested videos:
- Exit ticket – have students answer these two questions individually before leaving class:
- What did you hear in the videos or group discussion that was similar to your identity/experience?
- What did you notice that was different from your identity/experience?
Week 4: Changemakers – Identity to Impact
Learn the stories of people who have combined their identities and social impact to create change.
- Each student will profile a changemaker by researching their story and answering key questions in the form of an informational poster. Think about ways to make the poster engaging: colors, pictures, drawings, and words.
- Questions to consider:
- Beyond the single story, what are some of the ways (think back to your own identity chart) this person would want to be known?
- What matters to this changemaker?
- What are they doing about it?
- Any other interesting information that might be helpful to know about this changemaker?
- Ideas for changemakers to feature:
- Temple Grandin
- Jane Goodall
- Malala Yousafzai
- Greta Thunberg
- Rosa Parks
- Bayard Rustin
- Rachel Carson
- Ruby Bridges
- Muhammad Yunus
- José Andrés
- LeBron James
- Ida B. Wells
- Ai-jen Poo
- Megan Rapinoe
- Dolores Huerta
- Xiuhtezcatl Martinez
Week 5: Hear From a Changemaker + Field Trip Prep
Meet a local changemaker and prepare for a place-based learning experience.
- Hear from a speaker whose identity has informed their changemaking journey, and who can share their background, story, and work with the students as an example of finding what matters to you and doing something about it.
- We were lucky enough to be visited by and hear from Eddy Zheng of the New Breath Foundation, who shared his story of navigating the justice and legal system as a sixteen-year-old and founding New Breath, which works to provide new opportunities and healing in the AAPI community, specifically for immigrants, refugees, and those affected by incarceration, deportation, and violence.
- Students play the role of note-takers and interviewers, getting a chance to direct the conversation with the speaker after their introduction/presentation.
- Prepare for next week’s field trip: logistical information, behaviors to exhibit when entering someone else’s community, pre-lesson about the organizations/locations to be visited.
Week 6: Field Trip – Place-Based Learning
Explore different avenues for impact in your broader community.
- Take a field trip to visit local organizations, art installations, or other impact-related locations. This is a time to step into spaces in the community that students might be less familiar with. It is also a chance to directly observe a few of the many ways that someone can make an impact and explore more stories of how people’s identity informs their changemaking.
- Our field trip included:
- A visit to Sama in San Francisco to learn about how businesses (in this case, specifically a B Corp) can make an impact.
- A walk through Clarion Alley, where students observed a diverse range of murals and street art and discussed the concept of art as activism and change-making.
- A student choice-directed lunch, offering a chance to try out a new restaurant or cuisine, all while supporting local businesses.
Week 7: Business as a Tool for for Justice and Action
Learn about business models tied to changemaking and plan for a final B Corp-inspired activity.
- Learn the definitions of different types of businesses working for the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit: B Corporations, Fair Trade, and 1% For the Planet. Explore examples of these kinds of businesses.
- Our lesson was taught via a presentation by Scott Center Director, Annie Makela.
- Examine the specific case study of Ben & Jerry’s to explore the concept of “leading with values.”
- Look at examples of Ben & Jerry’s social impact flavors (like Change the Whirled and Change is Brewing) and have each student design their own flavor that is “best in the world and best for the world.”
- We provided students with a standard ice cream recipe and list of potential add-ins.
- Students tied their flavor to an SDG and/or social impact cause.
- Flavor Equity: standard ice cream base with pink and blue pop rocks (tied to equal pay)
- Fulfill Hunger: standard ice cream base with pretzels, pecans, and brownie pieces (tied to SDG #4 No Hunger)
- Heal the Fire: standard ice cream base with chocolate, marshmallows, and fudge (tied to SDG #15 Climate Action)
Week 8: Ice Cream Challenge
Celebrate the final day of the course by making social impact-centered ice cream
- Make the ice cream flavors designed the previous week.
- Before class starts, teachers prepare basic ice cream bases in individual bags and set up ice station and add-in buffet, full of products from Fair Trade, B Corp, and women- and POC-owned companies.
- Students place add-ins in bag, head to ice station, where ice and salt are placed around small bag in a larger bag, and shake/roll bag until contents take on consistency of ice cream.
- They then eat the ice cream out of the bag with a spoon!
- Fill out the end-of-course survey, revisiting the introductory survey questions and responding to prompts about learning takeaways.