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Students Aim to Reform Many World Issues

January 27, 2016

Arlington Heights, IL - It is often said that one person can’t make a difference in the world, and that it is hard for one positive voice to stand out among a plethora of negative voices out there.

Don’t tell that to the eighth grade social studies students in Greg Lendy’s class at South Middle School as these students were put on a mission to reform current world issues just as the progressives did in the Industrial Age of America. They delivered.

“Whatever we do in this class [history], we always try to relate it back to present day, so it means something to the students,” Lendy said.

Over Whaling

Lendy begins every school year telling his new eighth grade students that his class is about making a difference in the world. He hopes his students can take what they learn from his history class and figure out how they can apply it to change the current world.

“The students really embraced that idea with this reform project,” Lendy said, “and they truly left inspired.”

The project challenged students to create a reform project that could be placed on social media. The students were asked to pick any problem or injustice in the world, research it, develop a solution, and create a product by using a movie making website.

Topics included texting and driving, over whaling, contaminated water, women in the Middle East, and Alzheimer’s awareness. Students worked in groups to research each topic and create an iMovie slide show with visuals, text and music to generate a case for reform on a certain world issue and a potential solution.

Contaminated Water

The students were then asked to reflect back on their project in a nine-question survey put together by Lendy.

“The most important thing I learned is that while trying to motivate someone else you motivate yourself in the process,” one student wrote.  “Researching and putting together the presentation motivated me to want to do something more for the cause.”

Every presentation was shown to the class as a whole, and feedback was given from a genuine place, according to Lendy. 

“The projects themselves turned out awesome,” Lendy said, “but the best part of the entire project was the reflections that the students did. They realized they could make a difference in the world and some had never thought about that before. That was rewarding.”

You can follow the Lendy Reform project on social media by looking up “#LendyReform” on Twitter. The impact the students hope to have is great.

“The end product made me feel like I did something to better the world,” one student said, “and I can say that's a really great feeling!

Other Projects

Women in the Middle East

Alzheimer’s Awareness

Texting and Driving

Adam Harris
aharris@sd25.org