Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

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LINK: Social Studies in Action Home Image of a high school student in the classroom.
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The Individual in Society

Video Summary: Questioning is a strategy that all teachers employ. In his philosophy elective, Brian Poon uses questioning to stimulate students' critical thinking about the complex -- and sometimes competing -- theories in philosophy.

In this lesson, Mr. Poon asks his students the following question: What role can an individual play in creating a just society? Then he sets up a dilemma for them to ponder. Fenway, a fictional nation, is on the verge of racial and ethnic strife and students must come up with possible solutions to Fenway's turmoil. The class is divided into five groups, representing the five philosophers they've recently studied: Plato, Thomas Hobbes, Mao Zedong, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Martha Nussbaum. Each group responds to Fenway's dilemma from the viewpoint of the philosopher they represent. Groups are given the opportunity to challenge the solutions of the other groups. As a concluding activity, students integrate the best ideas from each group in order to be of most help to Fenway.

Class at a Glance
Themes and Disciplines Addressed in this Lesson

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