Take a stand - Large

Are you a DIY-er?

Download the FREE project overview for a summary of each lesson and enough information to get started on your own.

Don’t have time for DIY?

USE US! We’ve curated and collected everything you need to bring this project to life. Purchase the project for $125 and get immediate lifetime access to the extensive online resources AND get supplies shipped to your door.

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Can 4th graders inspire change in public policy?

Students hold great potential for change. Yet, public policy decisions are hardly (if ever!) influenced by the creativity, interest, and experience of our smallest citizens. In this project, students will take a stand in support of a public policy issue that matters to them. They will learn about all sides of several topics like education and the environment. Through respectful discourse, they will construct and articulate well-researched positions on a topic of their choice with an inspirational podcast!

Imagine if all our students could make their voices heard and become the changemakers our world needs. What a way to make a difference in the world!

Project Learning Targets

Lesson 1: Students learn tolerance for people with different perspectives.

Lesson 2: Students apply tolerance to relevant issues and express their learning through art.

Lesson 3: Students research both sides of an issue to construct arguments for a debate.

Lesson 4: Students debate clearly and respectfully. 

Lesson 5: Students include elements of good storytelling in a podcast script. 

Lesson 6: Students record and review their podcasts. 

Lesson 7: Students understand how to revise and refine their podcasts. 

Lesson 8: Students share their perspectives with an authentic audience.

For lesson descriptions, download the project overview.

What is included with your project? 

Sample Online Resources
  • Two Sides to Every Issue
  • Elements of Good Storytelling
  • Tips and Tricks for Creating a Podcast
  • Why you think you’re right — even if you’re wrong      (YouTube 11:37)
  • Podcaster’s Checklist
  • And so much more!
Kit Supplies
  • Round Trip, by Ann Jonas
  • Pop Microphone
  • Debate Graph
  • Fluorescent Cardstock
  • Sticker Sheets
  • English Language Arts: Reasons and Evidence
  • Math: Decimal Notation
  • Science: Information Processing
  • Social Studies: Core Civic Virtues
  • Social-Emotional Learning: Self-Awareness and Self-Management
  • Connect with a Civil Discourse Professor 
  • Channel Your Inner Politician 
  • The Podcast Pros
  • ‘Ello, Guv’nor
Storm the Capitol

Share your podcast with other classes around the state, and have your students work to organize a march on the state capital to share their thoughts and feelings with your elected representatives.

  • Timely and Actionable Feedback
  • Standards-Based Grading

To see a complete list of what’s included in your project, download the project overview.

About the Author

Paul Solarz

4th Grade Teacher
Westgate Elementary School
Arlington Heights, IL

Each Blue Apple Project Includes:

  • Engaging lessons designed to make learning memorable, meaningful, and fun
  • PBL Supports such as: real-world connections, collaboration options, cross-curricular content, and just-in-time professional development
  • Time-saving links to dozens of curated online resources
  • Kit of supplies that bring your project to life
  • Access to a Project Coach to ask questions and share ideas... you're never alone!
Take a stand - Large

Are you a DIY-er?
FREE

Don’t have time for DIY?
$125

Paul Solarz

4th Grade Teacher
Westgate Elementary School,
Arlington Heights, IL

Hi! I’m Paul Solarz and I’ve been teaching at Westgate Elementary School in Arlington Heights since 1999. I’m a vocal advocate for student-centered teaching practices and a focus on twenty-first century skills attainment. My students spend time each week pursuing personal interests during Passion Time (a.k.a. Genius Hour) and maintain personal ePortfolios of their work in class. I’ve published a book entitled, Learn Like a PIRATE which gives teachers ideas for empowering students to collaborate and become stronger leaders while effectively leading the classroom. In 2015, I was named a Top 50 Finalist for the Varkey GEMS Global Teacher Prize, and was also named the 2014 Educator of the Year by Illinois Computing Educators.