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Students earn about the strategies of unionizing and boycotting


Social Studies  


9, 10, 11, 12  


Title – Do Something about… Teen Voting/Civic Engagement
Lesson 7 – How do organizers bring about change?
By – Do Something, Inc. /
Primary Subject – Social Studies
Secondary Subjects –
Grade Level – 9-12

Do Something about…
Teen Voting/Civic Engagement


The following lesson is the seventh lesson of a 10-lesson
Teen Voting/Civic Engagement Unit from Do Something, Inc.
Other lessons in this unit are as follows:

Lesson 1: What is Civic Action?
Students learn about why people get involved in their communities.
Lesson 2: Why Is Democracy So Demanding?
Students will discuss the role of citizens in a democracy.
Lesson 3: Representin’
Students learn about the system of representation in a democracy.
Lesson 4: How have people used elected offices to make changes?
Students learn how holding a political office effects change.
Lesson 5: Social Capital
Students learn about social capital and how to use networking for civic action.
Lesson 6: Politics, A Laughing Matter
Students learn how cartoons and satire raise concerns about an issue.
Lesson 7: How do organizers bring about change? (See lesson below)
Students earn about the strategies of unionizing and boycotting.
Lesson 8: Why do I have to do jury duty?
Students learn how jury duty is a type of civic engagement.
Lesson 9: How can I use writing to lead others to action?
Students learn how the written word is a method of civic action.
Lesson 10: How can speaking engage others in my cause?
Students learn how speeches can gather support for community change.

More student teen voting resources can be found at:

For more Service-Learning Curricula check out:

Lesson 7: How do organizers bring about change?


Students will learn about the strategies of unionizing and boycotting.




Writing Standard 4:

  • Uses a variety of print and electronic sources to gather information for research topics



    1. Warm-up: Bring in a few puzzles. Spread the pieces on students’ desks and tell them that they have ten minutes to put together as much of the puzzle as possible. Tell students that they need to figure out which puzzle pieces they have. Let students work and record what you see happening.
    2. Have students reflect upon the process and discuss as a class the process. What made this task difficult? Was there a leader that organized people? How did this person emerge? Ask students how they figured out which puzzle pieces they had? Did students get up and reorganize themselves depending on which puzzle piece they had? Did new groups form?
    3. Explain to students that organizing people and creating a movement is one way to bring about change in a community. People organize into movements because there is power in numbers. Once a movement has a large number of participants, they can use various strategies to bring about change. Some of these strategies include marches, strikes and boycotts .
    4. Discover: Today, students will learn about Cesar Chavez, a very successful organizer. Have students read about his life. Explain that he unionized farm workers and used the boycott of table grapes to achieve labor contracts.
  1. Explain to students in a free market economy, consumers can vote with their money. When we make a purchase from a particular store, we are supporting the store and the policies of that company who provide that store with goods. When people collectively decide not to buy a product, this is called a boycott . Boycotts can influence how people, companies and nations make choices. Ask students if they can think of any other famous boycotts.
  2. Take Action: How can students organize other people in the school and community to take action about their issue? What actions might they take? Boycotts? Marches? Demonstrations? A concert to raise money or awareness? Have students write out an action plan for organizing around their take action topic.


Other Activities:

1. Have students discuss other famous boycotts. What made these successes or failures? How did they change company or national policies?

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