Einstein Middle School, 8th Grade
At Einstein Middle School in Shoreline, WA, four core subject teachers, two administrators, three staff, and 120 8th grade students collaborated on a unit that integrated the theme of poverty and homelessness across the curriculum and engaged students in service learning. The social studies teacher introduced the poverty unit to her students by using Facing the Future's hands-on activities. They then enacted an Oxfam Hunger Banquet and invited guest speakers into the classroom from several agencies that serve those living in poverty.
After being introduced to some of the issues that surround homelessness and poverty, students volunteered once a week for five weeks at eight different sites in downtown Seattle that serve those living in poverty. Students prepared and served food, did pedicures, talked with people, and collected food and needed items to give away to the homeless. The places they visited included Mary's Place, Angelines, Millionaire Club, First Avenue Service Center, Ballard Food Bank, the Gatewood, and Aloha Motel/Tent City. One group was "on the street," giving out food and other items.
Students read “Slake's Limbo” in English, looked at economics of poverty in math, and studied epidemiology in science. When their volunteering was over, students wrote reports about a local and global aspect of poverty, published “zines” about poverty, and organized and conducted an evening exhibition to teach others about poverty. They planned and implemented Facing the Future's Take a Step for Equity lesson for the entire student body.
You can learn more about the poverty unit at Einstein: