Unit 2: Why do Controversial Issues Matter Inside of the Classroom



  • Why do you think Controversial Issues are important to talk about?
  • How do you think Open C.Is impact the community inside of the classroom?
  • How do you think Closed C.Is impact the community inside of your classroom?

Please record your answer HERE.

Learning Targets

  • Students will understand why Open C.I's impact their classroom.
  • Students will understand why Closed C.I's impact their classroom.
  • Students will be able to make connections between open/closed C.I and why those connections matter.

Lesson 2.1: What is the point of C.Is?

As mentioned in the previous Unit, we have gained any understanding of what a Controversial issue is? After completing the warm up, and your brain has had time to think; we can now dive into why should these things matter? What is the point of a C.I? Not only why does controversy exist, what is the point of talking about them inside of your classroom?

Before you continue I would like you to one last time write down why you think Controversial Issues matter?

According to Browne, Freeman, and Williamson (2000) "In a world where arguments and counterarguments flourish with respect to almost all social questions, students have a fundamental need for the development of attitudes and skills that permit them to negotiate the inescapable dissensus that surrounds them." (p.1) This right here is why C.Is could matter and why teaching them is so important?!

Have any final guesses as to why these things matter?




If you guessed Critical Thinking Skills you would be right.

Oulton, Day, Dillion and Grace (2004) argue that, " Students need to explore how it is that individuals can apparently arrive at different perspectives on an issue. Introducing them to multiple perspectives is therefore an essential part of the methods of teaching about controversial issues" (p.491)

Now that we have an idea as to what skill these things help with. That idea of gaining the ability to critically think, that ability to reason and think about such things in a deep way, we realize that Controversial Topics may affect people differently. That means we can move on to our next lesson, dear reader.

Lesson 2.2: Why do Open issues matter in the classroom

While we realize what C.I's accomplish inside the classroom we can now look at why these things truly matter inside the classroom specifically in terms of Open Controversial Issues.

Why do you think they matter?

Watch the video below, dealing with Race inside of the classroom, to get a better picture on why talking about things like Race matter in the classroom.

I am sure you are thinking, dear reader, why a video of race from the perspective of BIPOC students matters. This is an open issue, that idea of race, the issue of racism. One student even mentions that schools are doing a disservice to students by not letting them understand the basic principles of diversity and yet they are allowed to graduate. How can we let students graduate without knowing about issues that affect their classmates and we just pay no attention to them?

That idea of letting people know about the basics of an issue is the crux of open C.I's. How can we let people graduate without knowing about things like Climate Change, Gun rights, Abortion. Now I am not saying that every school needs to talk about each controversial topic, but for students to be more aware of what is happening. They should be exposed to these things and both sides of those things.

Which issues would you have liked to have talked about growing up in your classroom? Take a second to write them down, we'll come back to it.

Lesson 2.3: Why do closed issues matter inside the classroom?

Now that we have mentioned open issues and how whether the issue is open or closed they are helpful to talk about because students gain those critical thinking, high level order reasoning skills in place. We mention something that may be a bit confusing dear learner. Closed issues.

If we know why Open ones matter, because they have a realistic basis in society today, they have actual impact on the types of students we are teaching. Students may have never heard of an issue, be inspired to fight for said issue, such as Greta Thungberg on Climate Change, or Alex Honnold on providing solar energy across the globe. These people are fighting for issues that leave a lasting impact. Why do closed issues, things that have no basis in our society anymore matter?

Can you think of any closed issues, dear learner, that spring to mind?

Remember these are things that are settled debates that have no real reason to be debated or talked about inside the classroom?

What about why the civil war was fought, or people who deny the Holocaust?

Watch the following Video and learn about why remembering the Holocaust matters. Kalman Weiser makes a great point in the video. Did you catch it?

Assessment for Unit 2

As we wrap up why these things may matter inside of the classroom, I would like you to reflect on some things.

  • Why do Open Controversial Issues impact the classroom?
  • Why do Closed Controversial Issues impact the classroom?
  • What skills do talking/teaching about Controversial Issues help develop and expand?

Please answer those questions and summarize your thoughts here.

Away we go!

You can click here to move onto Unit 3!