• Inspiring young people to engage with media in
    thoughtful & creative ways that support well-being.

Digital Climate Change

Media Literacy Curriculum for Grades 6-8

This curriculum was built on a single, critically important question: How can middle school students recognize and build empathy in digital spaces to better communicate with each other? Developed in conjunction with student leaders and youth development researchers, this module explores how students can manage and minimize online conflict, including mean comments, exclusion from social groups, and online fights. It also teaches students to identify miscommunications and address them early on in conversations. Through this curriculum’s seven lessons and final guidebook project, students learn that they have the agency to create their own communities and build a positive culture in their school and their lives.

Curriculum Highlights

  • Reflects real-world technology and student experience. The curriculum encourages increasingly tech-savvy students to frame social-emotional skills in the context of the digital platforms and online environments they’re familiar with.
  • Designed for maximum flexibility. While the final project creates a vehicle for students to demonstrate what they’ve learned, the lessons can also be taught as stand-alone learning experiences or woven into an existing unit.
  • Optimized for engagement and effectiveness. There are numerous opportunities for students to build social-emotional skills as well as showcase their creativity and have fun.
  • Crafted in collaboration with youth leaders. This curriculum was developed in partnership with the research team at the Digital Wellness Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital, the STEM Discovery Lab at the University of New Hampshire, and the nine student leaders on Media Power Youth’s Youth Design Team.

What's Included in the Curriculum?

This project-based learning module explores emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, and empathy, the communication skills that students need to build positive relationships with peers and adults. Digital Climate Change leveraging the value of students’ personal experiences through hands-on lessons, rich classroom discussions, and the creation of a guidebook for their peers.

The curriculum begins by helping students reflect on their personal media use, first in class discussion then via a Media Use Log, where they will log their use of social media for 3 to 5 days. They will also be introduced to book creation tools that will allow them to create an ebook.

Students will then explore concepts of emotional intelligence and empathy, as well as practice navigating miscommunication in digital spaces. Students will then dig into the concept of conflict, reflect on how conflict makes them feel, and strategies for resolving it both in person and online.

The final lessons are focused on creating a guidebook for other middle school students to help them to build empathy and to navigate difficult situations that may arise in online communities. Each student will choose a concept that stood out to them and use Book Creator to package and share their perspectives.

How Do I Get Started?

Digital Climate Change includes comprehensive professional learning materials to help teachers build media literacy knowledge and instructional skills for quick and confident curriculum implementation. This includes a detailed Teacher’s Guide with background information, instructions on how to use online book creation tools, FAQs, vocabulary terms, and further reading.

All lesson plans are provided in Google Docs formats. You also have access to an “Assets” folder, with separate folders for each lesson. Here you will find any worksheets, slide presentations, and PDF handouts that go along with the lessons. Worksheets and homework sheets are generally located at the end of each lesson plan. Submit an inquiry to get more info and access.

Media Power Youth also offers in-person curriculum training for groups of 10 or more educators. We can customize training for specific teams, including a discussion of recent research, as well as best practices for implementation. We also provide consulting services to help schools address media-related issues impacting learning and student life. Contact us for more information.