I recently taught the Stories from the Climate Crisis Mixer activity with a class of 8th graders. We began with a brief conversation about what stories they’ve already heard about climate change. Students were then given the choice to partner up or fly solo — there are several low readers in this class, and the reading level of the text was quite high — and students/teams were given time to read their role.
I added one biography to the roles with a local connection: an individual on the Wisconsin Youth Climate Action Team so that students would have a chance to see themselves in the stories.
We then went outside for a walk-and-talk. Students were given the lesson prompts two at a time, and assigned to walk and talk with another person/team to find if they fit the role. For example, the first pair of prompts involve looking for someone who is helped by climate change and someone who is hurt. Pairs chatted for a bit, determined which category they fell in and why, and then walk-and-talked with another person/pair. After they had time to talk about the first prompts, we gave the second set of prompts and, as we walked along the pond, they were to look for connections between water and climate change.
When we returned to the building, I asked them to team up with folks who might have similar situations and might be able to act together. They were able to “match make” their classmates, too, if they could identify roles in other students that fit together. Back in the classroom, we circled up and debriefed the activity. I just wish we’d had more class time to continue the conversation. They had quite a lot to say in their reflections.