Keep the Learning Going

Explore the Syrian Refugee Crisis With These Powerful Resources

"Swimming for Her Life" in the November issue of Scope tells the amazing story of 18-year-old Yusra Mardini, an incredible athlete who fled her home country of Syria and went on to compete in the Rio Games last summer. We hope that her powerful story will inspire your students to learn more about the refugee crisis and the situation of refugees around the world—and what your students can do to help.


Here are five powerful resources to keep your students' learning going:



To Read and Watch: Scope 's nonfiction article "Shattered Lives," about child refugees from Syria, and the accompanying video

To Do: Hold a class discussion about the world's responsibility to refugees.





To View: an infographic from the UNHCR visualizing the Syrian refugee crisis

To Do: Have students study the infographic and discuss the information it provides that is not included in the article "Swimming for Her Life."



Zoltan Zempleni/Shutterstock


To Write: a letter to a Syrian refugee 

To Do: Students may feel powerless after learning about such a severe humanitarian crisis. Writing a letter to a refugee is one way they can have an impact. Have students write a message of hope to a Syrian refugee through the organization CARE. See details here. Here are some other ways students can get involved.



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To Read: the novel A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

To Do: Have students write an essay about how war affects children. How do Yusra and the characters in the novel overcome their challenges?



Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images

IDEA 5 (challenging)

To Read: a high-level article about the refugee crisis of World War II

To Do: Hold a class discussion about the refugee crisis during and after World War II. Have students consider how that crisis and the current refugee crisis are similar and how they are different. Who were the refugees during World War II and what was their situation? What was the response from the international community to refugees then and what is it now? What can be learned from both situations?



5 Fantastic Learning Extensions For Our Civil Rights Play

On March 2, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, an African-American teenager refused to give up her seat on a bus—months before Rosa Parks famously did the same. The teenager's name is Claudette Colvin, and she is the hero of our play This Is What Courage Looks Like. Claudette's story captivated us, and we think it will inspire your students.


Here are five fantastic ideas to keep their learning going:


(Associated Press)


To Watch: a video interview with Claudette Colvin telling her story in her own words

To Do: Hold a class discussion about what it means to have courage, drawing on the play and the video interview.



(Grey Villet/Getty)


To Watch: a video about the Montgomery Bus Boycott

To Do: Have students write the story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott in the form of a graphic novel, poem, song, or short story.



Rosa Parks (center) waits to board a bus after the successful Montgomery bus boycott, December 26, 1956. (Don Cravens/Getty)


To Read: a primary document created by the leaders of the Montgomery Bus Boycott advising people how to behave on the newly desegregated buses

To Do: Discuss with students why leaders may have thought these types of suggestions were necessary. 




To Find: Have students find someone who has actively supported a civil rights issue, either by participating in a protest or rally or by creating a petition or campaign.

To Do: Have students conduct an interview with this person. Students should find out why the person chose to support that particular cause, what the person hoped to change through his or her activism, and how that person was effective. Students can present their findings to the class in the form of a video, slideshow, or speech.



(Associated Press)


To Watch: a video of President Obama giving a speech on the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act

To Do: Have students invent a dialogue between President Obama and Claudette Colvin (or other historical civil rights leader of students' choosing).


Compare and Contrast: The Hindenburg & The Titanic


Scope's October nonfiction feature "The Flaming Sky" tells the gripping story of the Hindenburg disaster in 1937. But 26 years earlier, a different disaster shook the world: the sinking of the Titanic. The two iconic tragedies are often compared. So we dug up our narrative nonfiction article about the Titanic from our archives just for you and your students. Here's how we recommend you use the two texts.


1. Have students read the "The Flaming Sky" and watch the  Behind the Scenes video.



2. Have students read “Into the Dark Water” about the sinking of the Titanic.



3. In small groups, have students explore the web resources for “Fire & Ice” a Smithsonian exhibit created to compare the Hindenburg and the Titanic disasters. Students should take notes as they go through the site.



4. Bring the class back together and discuss how the two disasters are similar, how they are different, and what can be learned from both.


Here are some questions to get your discussion going:

  • What was happening in the world during the time of the Titanic and the Hindenburg disasters? How were the periods similar and different?
  • What were the accomodations like on board the Hindenburg? What were they like on the Titanic?
  • How were the Titanic and the Hindenburg viewed by the public when they were each built? What reputation did the two ships have?
  • Why did the Titanic sink? Why did the Hindenburg explode?
  • How did the Hindenburg disaster impact the public’s view of zeppelins? How did the Titanic disaster impact the public's view of ocean liners?
  • Compare the structures of the two articles. What do they have in common? How are they different?



Mars Extravaganza! 5 Great Learning Extensions

Scope, September 2016

Here at Scope, a big part of our mission is to open doors of curiosity for your students, to inspire them to pursue what fascinates them, and to help them become learners not only in the classroom, but outside of it as well.

And what could be more fascinating than our Mars extravaganza in the September issue? After your students read the fiction piece "Follow the Water" and the informational text "What Would It Take to Live Here?" share these awesome resources to keep the learning going.




To Read: An article about creating a bill of rights for a Mars colony

To Do: Have students work in groups to create their own bill of rights for colonists on Mars.




To Read: A debate about moving to Mars—from the Scope archive!

To Do: Hold a class debate about whether or not it would be a good idea to move to Mars. Divide the class into two groups: Those who would like to move to Mars and those who would not. Have students try to persuade those in the other group to change their minds.




To Watch and Read: A video of the first moon landing and a newspaper article about the historic event

To Do: Have students imagine what it would be like here on Earth if humans were landing on Mars for the first time. Have students create their own news coverage of the event in the form of a newspaper article, broadcast, live tweets, etc. 





To View: NASA's Mars Explorers Posters

To Do: Study these futuristic recruitment posters. Discuss why the type of professional featured in each poster would be important on a Mars colony. As a class, brainstorm other professionals that might be needed. Break students into groups and have each group create a recruitment poster of its own. Then each group can show its poster to the class and give a short presentation about why it would be important to have colonists on Mars with that particular skill.



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To Read: A book about Ernest Shackleton's expedition to Antarctica

To Do: Have students write essays comparing the challenges that Ernest Shackleton faced and how he overcame them with the challenges that a Mars colonist would face.


Have another awesome extension idea? Share it in the comments below!