Project 4: Printing for Change
As 7th graders, students often feel powerless to change the world in a big way. By educating themselves, thinking of solutions, and spreading the word, 12 and 13 year olds can make a difference. The world is in dire condition and they can not wait until they are adults to begin changing the world for the better – it will be too late.
Students began by brainstorming a list of environmental, political, or social problems of the world as a class. They chose the problem they are most passionate about by asking themselves these questions: If you could erase one problem off that list, which one would you rid the world of? Of these world problems, which one bothers you the most? Which one do you think is the worst? Which one affects the most number of humans? In the end they answered the question, If I could change one thing about the world it would be: _________________.
This cross-curricular project began in English class by writing a research paper. They stated what the problem was, what is causing the problem, possible solutions, and what the consequences of not changing our behavior would be. Taking the research paper to technology class, students formatted the writing to resemble magazine pages. In groups by topic, students created a cover page for their mini magazine, or zine.
In art class we began by watching NBC’s 2005 photos of the year. Students experienced a range of emotions: the horror of a starving child, laughing at a jumping dog in the snow, and the enormity of a giant tsunami. We discussed how images can make people feel . . . and when they feel, they will more likely change their actions. Telling someone there are starving people around the world does not affect them as much as seeing a photograph of a helpless boy with every rib exposed. Images say 1,000 words. It doesn’t matter what language you speak, a picture can be understood. It can reach everyone.
Students sketched different ideas to communicate their chosen topic of change. Their designs are carved into linoleum printing blocks and were printed over and over. The point of printmaking is to make a lot of copies, allowing them to communicate with a lot of people and make change on a large scale. The best prints were glued into their researched and formatted document to complete their message. Students were organized into groups to arrange their zines. In the end, students passed out their zines to promote change to more people, so they can pass it on to more people.