A Superabundance of Media Velocity
Alexis de Tocqueville once noted that Americans only tend to divert their attention from individual pursuits when presented with some “amazing object.” New understanding about human behavior in the age of targeted algorithms and media-driven polarization to help students to think critically about building sustainable democracies. Students will explore the power of modern media to shape the behavior of individuals and the culture of a nation, conduct a simulation of election manipulation, engage in critical thinking discussions and play an online game. This workshop can be structured to your needs to last from 60 minutes to 2 hours. 2.5.2 Democracy and citizenship and 2.5.1 Health and life skills.
Crime and Punishment in America
Why does the United States haveseven to ten times as many prisoners per capita as other advanced nations? What is driving such an extreme approach to shaping a civil society? What role do cultural values and history play? Students in this workshop will respond to short videos and quotes, try an Implicit bias test, weigh in on their own personal values, examine notions of punishment in an American indigenous society, and discuss the tension between individual and social driving forces in decision-making. This 60-90 minute workshop works best with groups of 30 or fewer. 2.5.2 Democracy and citizenship and 2.5.1 Health and life skills.
A Puppetry Exploration of Democratic Change Leaders in America
How did Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. get people to see who they really are? What can we learn from indigenous people? What was it like to be white in the segregated South? What is a Women’s Bible? Students will learn the art of creating puppet gestures, explore short stories about interesting Americans, then write short scripts and perform their own 4-5 minute puppet shows. The time frame for this workshop can be structured to your needs – at least 90 minutes is recommended. 20 or fewer students are recommended. Puppets are provided for the students, and optional puppet-making instructions can be sent in advance. 2.4 Learning to Learn
Films that help us to “think outside the box” about America
From Star Trek to Inside Out, film-makers often have used their craft to shape new ideas about humanity and society. The short films in this workshop offer inspiring stories about unique individuals, new ways of thinking, and how to re-imagine ourselves. In this 60-minute exploration, students work in small groups, present, and discuss insights gained from the films. The workshop works best with groups of 30 or fewer. 2.5.2 Democracy and citizenship and 2.5.1 Health and life skills.
“The Land of Opportunity?”
The United States has historically been seen as the “land of opportunity,” where anyone can rise “from rags to riches,” but growing income inequality and a lack of public will to address shortcomings threatens this reputation. Have you ever wondered what determines whether your income will be higher than that of your parents? In this 60-minute workshop, students will use an online mapping tool, along with videos, charts, short readings, and discussion to explore the factors that determine income mobility in America. Groups of 40 or fewer are preferable for this activity. 2.5.2 Democracy and citizenship and 2.5.1 Health and life skills.
Who is Amercia?
How might we characterize what is unique about a nation? In this 45-60 minute interactive workshop, students will be introduced to the idea of a national identity through creative images, film and song. Can Americans put blacks and whites together? Have Americans made a religion out of business? What’s at the core of thinking about the death penalty, health care, poverty, immigrants, and guns? Critical thinking discussions accompany the examination of foreigners’ notions about the U.S. and students will compare the identity of America to their own Norwegian national identity. This workshop works best with groups of 30 or fewer. 2.5.2 Democracy and citizenship
How imagination and reality are connected.
Have you ever wondered how a creative film-maker opens viewers’ minds to new ways of thinking or what kind of experiment could reveal whether our brains can unlearn something? In this 90-minute critical thinking-focused workshop, students will watch and discuss examples of American ingenuity, then use their own imaginations to explore “what if” questions Curiosity and creative capacities are on tap as students consider questions like: What if half the human population could read minds? What if animals could talk to humans? What would you think of a world in which couples do not procreate; they shop for their offspring? This workshop works best with groups of 30 or fewer. 2.1 Learning to Learn
“School is Life” in America
When school starts at 8:00 and ends at 6:30, with homework to follow, you have to wonder whether life for an American teenager happens primarily at school. In this workshop, students will explore a typical day in the life of an American high school student, from cafeteria lunches and after-school sports to student-led organizations, the college admissions contest, 1:1 teacher meetings, an always “on” competitive environment, coaching about life choices, the constant call of one’s phone, structured lives, and adapting to pandemic restrictions. Students also will consider the role of equity in education and the implications for society. This 45 minute workshop uses images and videos to drive discussion. 2.5.3 Sustainable Development
Natural Resources: A Golden Goose or a Curse
It is a wonderful thing for a nation to own valuable natural resources… or is it? In this 60 minute lesson focused on questions of ethics, students will explore how natural resources offer wealth, but can also serve as a barrier to well-being. Students will consider the management of natural resources by both Norway and the U.S., in the face of imminent global heating. Interesting concepts from Indigenous societies are also explored. A short video and podcast, writing and group discussion are included. 2.5.3 Sustainable Development