Messages, Choices and Impacts: Native American Social Justice Movements

By the ILIS Department
In Integrated Learning and Information Science (ILIS), 4th graders examined Native American social justice movements, using thinking routines from JusticexDesign to examine their messages, choices and impacts. JusticexDesign is a project from Harvard University’s Agency by Design, which works with cohorts of educators to help create and support curriculum and use thinking routines that help students explore designed injustices. Each 4th grade class looked at a different protest movement: the Day of Mourning, Spirit Camp at Standing Rock and the protest of the Line 3 pipeline.

Each class started by viewing images from the different movements and engaging in a thinking routine called Looking: Ten Times Two. Students looked at an image and wrote down 10 words describing what they noticed in the image, then repeated the task using 10 different words. The purpose of this routine is to help students slow down and make careful, detailed observations by encouraging them to push beyond first impressions and obvious features. Next, 4th graders had a class discussion about what classmates noticed. After this initial introduction, students researched and learned more about the protest movements, making connections with the images and words they collected. Next, students discussed why Native American tribes are engaging in the movement their class studied.

Fourth graders then thought about then aspects of the movement they connected with and created illustrations they designed themselves or found images to relay the ideas, feelings and reflections they wanted to convey. Students either drew or traced these images onto paper, then cut and engraved them on the library’s Glowforge laser cutter. After they cut and engraved designs, students decorated them with color. Some students designed sculptures, and one created a motorized water feature. Fourth graders shared the messages they focused on, the choices they made in their designs, and their reasons for focusing on those specific images, then wrote about the impacts they hope their designs have on sharing these messages with the Parker community. Fourth graders did a wonderful job in creating their projects, as well as diving into the research and learning about some of the movements taking place today in the Native American community.

Click here for photos.
Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.