English Classes Draw Attention to Social Injustices

Freshman English PBL Project


Photo by: Nick Youngson

Ninth grade English students involved in the Social Injustice PBL spoke up for equality within their social issues.

This spring, Mrs. Molly Palenski, Mr. Daniel CheathamMrs. Marlena Cantor, and Mr. Ryan Wenger presented their freshman English classes with a project-based learning (PBL) assignment focusing on social injustices in society. This project allowed students to conduct research on social justice issues that peaked their interest. The students then had the task of bringing their topic to the public’s attention through an informative video created on a media platform.

The project kicked off with a trip to the library, where head librarian Mrs. Heather Murfee jump-started the students’ brainstorming by talking about activism, and through interactive activities, introducing multiple areas of injustice. 

Following this, each student chose a topic about which he or she felt most passionate. Students undertook extensive research on a variety of subjects, such as: women in poverty, gender inequality, treatment of the mentally ill, and ageism. After researching the topic, students composed a video in which they spoke about their problem and called the audience to action with ways to resolve the problem. They then shared it with their classmates, drawing attention to the issues in society.

For many there was much more to this assignment than what initially met the eye. Some students connected to their topics on a personal level. Freshman Audrey Phillips shared, “I was passionate about this topic before I started the project. My project was on same-sex marriage rights, and I have family members who are gay and couldn’t get married for the longest time.” Others gained interest as they uncovered more truth on their topics. Lauren Deaver, who explored the subject of child abuse, explained, “I at first picked my topic because it seemed easy, but as it went on, I became more and more passionate about it.” Leah Hoffman agreed, stating, “I liked looking at the statistics because it made me realize how much of a problem it was.”

After all the hard work, students left this project with open eyes and countless ideas to take action and fight the social injustices present in today’s society. They also learned lifelong skills through the assignment. Mrs. Palenski, whose class participated in the project, highlighted this aspect, stating, “Since so many companies use voice over videos to share ideas and attract customers, I definitely see my students using this in the future.”