In the “Take a Stand” activity, students engage in critical thinking and conversation around contested public issue statements. Instructors choose a contested public issue statement and students take a stand along the continuum based on their claim about the issue.
This activity is especially useful to help frame a discussion on controversial issues because it invites students to share their opinions about an issue. The method exposes students to the diversity of viewpoints on the topic and provides students an opportunity to express positions on controversial issues and to practice communication skills. This is a good initial activity to assess student knowledge before a lesson and can also be useful to assess student understanding after a lesson. Because the method involves physical movement of students, it often motivates students who are normally quiet in class to speak out.
This Street Law resource includes:
- A short video demonstrating the strategy (see below or watch it on YouTube)
- A facilitator guide that provides detailed implementation instructions
- A tip sheet to help instructors develop issue statements that will work well with this teaching strategy
- Binary sign templates for classroom use (e.g., Agree/Disagree, Yes/No, etc.)
Because this strategy may explore issues related to race and social identity, Street Law recommends: Teaching Street Law Content Involving Race and Social Identity. This resource can help teachers bring content about race and social identity into their classrooms. It offers some advice and questions to help guide decisions about teaching this content while affirming students’ identities.
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