The idea behind this lesson is for the students to draw a connection between equity and sustainability. During the course of today’s class the students will have a diagram that is centered on three aspects of poverty: family/community, education, and health/healthcare.
The students will watch a short video illustrating the life of a 12-year old boy living in poverty: Marcell’s Story. As they watch the video, the students will use the diagram and write down concerns expressed by Marcell regarding his family and community, his education, and his health.
After watching the video, students will break into groups and share their findings. Each group will share with the class their discoveries and their reflections, explicitly focusing on the categories of the worksheet (family/community, health/healthcare, and education). At this point the students will be given a broad overview of the “Three Spheres of Sustainability” which targets SOCIAL, ENVIRONMENTAL, AND ECONOMIC factors that make up a sustainable society when in balance. Even though today’s lesson is focused on the SOCIAL factors, students should be familiar with the other two parts and keep in mind how they are all connected.
In the same small groups, the students will learn more about access to healthcare and higher education, and how those from low-income families have limited access to these resources. In order to go more in-depth, students will watch a short clip about why American Health Care is so expensive. While watching the video, students will think about how Marcell and his family/community are impacted by high healthcare costs and write down their thoughts on the diagram, then discuss afterward.
To learn more about the educational aspect, students will read an excerpt from an article about how access to higher education is becoming more and more unattainable for low-income students. While reading the article, students will identify problems Marcell might face if he pursued a college degree and add these concerns to the diagram. Students are encouraged to make connections to the recent changes made to AccessUVA and their own personal concerns as students when they share with their group.
Thinking about Marcell’s story, the students will collaborate in groups and construct a diagram or chart identifying all of the benefits of income equality, lower healthcare costs and accessible education on an individual level and for society as a whole. How would Marcell’s story be different? Students are encouraged to make connections between income equality and access to healthcare and education.
Reflecting on all of the benefits and taking a look at the three spheres of sustainability, students will discuss where our conversation fits in making a more sustainable society. How does income equality and better access to education and healthcare influence the sustainability and health of our world?