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Updated by Heather S on Jun 28, 2015
Heather S Heather S
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21st Century Learners: Lesson Plans

Here is a list of selected lesson plans geared towards helping middle school students (primarily 7th grade students) in increasing their knowledge about the necessary skills needed to be successful 21st Century Learners in today's society.

Leadership: Fairness Game

Through this lesson students learn about the influence they can have on others through the role of leadership. During the lesson students play a game in which they are divided into groups of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. In the game students are given certain rules or requirements to follow based on their grade level. As students move up in the grades they earn more rights. The game tests whether or not 8th grade students recognize their ability to influence and help out those in the younger graders without directly telling them to do it. The lesson also comes with discussion questions that students and teachers can use to engage in and reflect upon in response to the role leadership plays even at their age today.


Through this lesson on communication, students will be exposed to and practice various situations that require certain forms of communication to be used. Students will learn that successful communication is essential in one's ability to communicate effectively in order to give and receive information. The lesson also helps students distinguish between the different types of communication one may encounter: verbal and non-verbal. By helping students understand how to communicate with others effectively students learn how to maintain healthy relationships, resolve conflicts peacefully, excel in school, and eventually get and keep jobs.

The Role of Entrepreneurs in Society

In today's society entrepreneurship is commonly found in most market economies. In 7th grade students explore the benefits of entrepreneurship and how entrepreneurs take a risk in starting their own business. Through this lesson students will review informational data about a fictional town. Based on the data provided students will work in groups to develop a proposal to establish a new business for the town. Before building the business students must work together to consider what goods and services are already being offered in the town and identify opportunities for a new business in their town's market economy. Students will then compare how an entrepreneur's success differs in marker, mixed, and command economies.

Defining Literacy in a Digital World

As a BYOD classroom, students are exposed to various elements of digital literacy throughout the school year. To help increase students' understanding and knowledge about digital literacy in a BYOD classroom at the beginning of the school year, students will explore the different formats used to demonstrate knowledge of concepts. Through this lesson students will work in groups to identify what digital literacy is, locate various examples of digital literacy and determine how digital literacy formats can be used to demonstrate understanding of concepts. Students will then organize this list into categories. For example: note-taking, presentations, visual aids, etc. Students will then choose one of the digital literacy formats they explored in groups and create a short "Who Am I" presentation to help their classmates gain a better understanding of who they are and ways they use digital literacy in their own everyday life.

Conflict Resolution Problem Solving

Conflict and Change is one of the eight themes integrated throughout students' 7th grade Social Studies curriculum. Through this lesson students are introduced to different types of conflicts and work together to practice ways in which the conflict can be resolved. For when there is conflict between or within a society, change will be result. Sometimes those conflicts lead to change that impacts just a few, other times it affects everyone involved. Understanding what the problem is in societies and solutions used to solve them, helps students gain a better understanding of how to problem solve within their own life experiences. Defining and working through the scenarios provides students with the opportunity to build these life long skills to be a contributing citizen in society.

Emotional Intelligence Through the Power of Language

Every one has a story to tell and middle school can often be a trying time for students who do not know how to work through and understands their emotions. Through this lesson students will explore various events in their life: times they were happy, sad, angry, ecstatic, frustrated, etc. All of these feelings are part of who we are and help shape who we become. Students will work to create a memoir about themselves using the Six Word format choosing four different emotions over various topics of their choice (ex: sports, hobbies, nature, family, friends, etc). Students can choose to incorporate art and other visual forms of expression into their final memoir product.

Becoming an Active Global Citizen

Living in a small town community observing the connection middle school students have with others around the world can sometimes be difficult. Teaching students about the connections they have with others around the world, even in a small town, can help students increase their perspective of the town's geographical location and America's perspective on countries through a global perspective. Through this lesson students will explore America's global perspective and relationships with countries in the Middle East* (*the original lesson was between Canada and the US, however all activities can be adjusted as needed). Students will also further explore the concepts of "interdependence” and “interconnections”, and how it relates to their lives and the lives of others in the Middle East in the context of a social, political, economic, and physical lens as they write a front page newspaper article, develop a global bulletin board, and final "InsideOutside" Circles learning activity.

Team Work: House of Cards

Students will work in groups to build a house of cards in 15 minutes During this lesson students must work with their group and they are only allowed to use the resources that are available to them in their groups. Through this team building activity students are competing against other groups to be the first one done with their house of cards. Upon completion of the activity students will discuss how their team chose to go about building their house of cards and the role of team work used in their group. Students will record responses in their journals. The teacher will then pair groups up into bigger groups where students must work with one another to join two houses of cards together. When all groups have finished students will revisit the same discussion questions used, reflecting on how their team work within the groups changed as the two groups were combined together. Building teamwork between students is essential in the 7th grade curriculum, because students rotate learning groups on a weekly basis.