I live near Chicago and the NATO Summit protests were all over the news a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to do a lesson so I decided to discuss the summit under our theme of solving world problems. Typically my students and I discuss how engineers, scientists and inventors can use design to solve world problems. This time I decided to ask how NATO, as an organization, could help solve world problems. Students read a BBC timeline of NATO and a Yahoo article entitled “NATO Summit Guide for Chicago Residents”. Typically I would not post this lesson but the answers from the kids were amazing and I want to share.
I asked students to respond to the question, “How could an organization like NATO help to solve the following World Problems: Violence, World Hunger, Jobs/Economy, and Corrupt Officials?”. The answers were brilliant and the intelligence of my 8th graders amazed me. The discussion afterwards opened up a world of insight paired with questions and misconceptions I found hard to answer. Here are some answers.
Violence: “They can intervene in wars to establish peace and security among the citizens.” Talya
“Negotiate problems with countries to avoid war.” Anna
World Hunger: “Come together with organizations and ask how they can help.” Victoria
“Use all the money they are wasting on security in Chicago and protection in Chicago and give it to countries who need it.” Lindsey
“Help distribute food.” Alexander
Jobs/Economy: “Trade with each other or share resources.”Aiden
“If one country has debt, the others can help them.” Bella
“Ask other countries what works well for them and tell the struggling countries.” Nick
“Create jobs by protecting world leaders.” Devin
Corrupt Officials: “NATO is made up of officials meeting and if the officials don’t work well, the other countries can work to change that.” Tommy
“Help establish democratic countries.” Gita
“Let them calm down with peace.” Claudia
“Take them down.” Several kids said this.
The discussion afterward centered around why decisions are so hard. Students in the class brought up opposing ideas, I spoke only when I thought things were getting too heated or off topic. It was facinating to see how 8th graders see the world.