Materials for Activity
- Newspaper, markers, and tape
Preparation for Activity
- Post a few sheets of blank newsprint.
Description of Activity
Find out as much as possible about a significant and controversial issue, and present your findings as a letter to the editor and/or a letter to a relevant political figure.
This will work best in two meetings, with time for research in between. Do this as a group, or prepare the group to lead the activity with others in the congregation (e.g., older children, teens, and/or adults). Having the children and their parents work together could be ideal.
To save time, choose the topic yourself; write it on the newsprint. Or, lead the group to brainstorm topics (write suggestions on newsprint) and then choose one by voting. Possible topics are health care reform, mandatory testing in public schools, bans on particular breeds of dogs, the legal age for driving or voting, or an issue particular to your community, such as decisions about the use of public spaces.
Once you have a topic, have participants brainstorm questions they could use to pursue information; write the questions on newsprint. Be ready to suggest some leading questions to model participation.
Once the group has generated a rich set of questions, assign volunteers to research each question. Share ideas about how and where they might find information. Ask that their reports be brief-a few sentences or bullet points.
Time and technology constraints will probably mean that volunteers will need to go home to do their research, and then report back at a later gathering. At the second meeting, compile the information participants have gathered in the form of a Letter to the Editor or a report to a public official or committee.
If you cannot hold a second meeting, have participant/researchers email or mail their findings to a designated co-leader who can turn the findings into a report or a Letter to the Editor. Make sure you send all the researchers a copy of the report or letter, and inform the whole group about any response you receive.
Including All Participants
If any participants lack Internet access, assign researchers to work in pairs or small groups. If possible, arrange for participants to do their research using computers and the Internet at your congregation.