Curriculum

The Changemaker Project curriculum can be integrated into any project-based learning course, or within an extra-curricular club. Much of the material is self-guided, but students should also have the support of a team advisor (usually a teacher) to guide them through it.

Our online course is broken down into three main areas:

  • Leadership Development

  • Understanding the Problems

  • Building Solutions

As students work through the course content, they form teams and choose a project to tackle, develop and implement their projects with the guidance of our mentors, and then pitch their project for seed funding at our Global Pitch event each June.

Interested in learning more? Ask to see a live demo of our curriculum.

leadership development

The curriculum begins with teacher-guided leadership development lessons to help students cultivate the following qualities:

VISION

CONFIDENCE

INITIATIVE

EMPATHY

RESILIENCE

understanding the problems

Next, students begin a series of modules to learn about various social and environmental problems. Students explore a variety of resources to get different perspectives on each issue, meet a "Featured Changemaker" who is tackling the issue at hand, and engage in discussion with their peers as they respond to reflective question prompts.

discrimination

  • Examining stereotypes, implicit bias, and fear of "other"

  • Racism

  • Sexism

  • LGBTQ rights

  • Immigration and refugee crisis

  • Religious intolerance

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social inequity

  • Educational inequality

  • Homelessness

  • Global hunger

  • Access to water

  • Child labor

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health + safety

  • Global disease epidemics

  • Obesity + chronic disease

  • Impact of technology on society

  • Access to mental healthcare

  • Urban gun violence

  • Domestic violence

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animal welfare

  • Cows

  • Birds

  • Pigs

  • Cats + dogs

  • Other animals

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Environmental

protection

  • Consumerism

  • Impact of animal agriculture

  • Pollution

  • Biodiversity and habitat destruction

  • Climate change

designing solutions

Once students have explored various social and environmental problems, they choose a problem they'd like to tackle. It can be an issue from our curriculum content, or a challenge in their own community that they'd like to solve. Students break into teams of 2-5, based on their issue area, and begin designing solutions.

Our curriculum follows Stanford's Design Thinking process, which is based upon empathy. We want to ensure that students aren't just coming up with solutions that they think are clever, but don't actually meet the needs of those affected by the problem.

 

Students begin their design process by conducting "Empathy Interviews," to learn about the needs of those they're trying to help. Through these interviews, students begin to uncover pain points and specific challenges that they might not have known about otherwise. When interviews are not feasible, students gain empathy by utilizing interviews, memoirs, and other first-hand accounts of those affected by the problem.

Next, students take a look at their data from their empathy interviews and research, and define the problem more specifically. From there, they can begin to "ideate" or brainstorm solutions. This is the fun part! No idea is too crazy-- the goal here is to get them thinking as creatively and "outside the box" as possible.

Once they have a big list of ideas, students can begin to evaluate them for feasibility, and even combine several ideas together to make something unique. From there, they prototype the best idea or two by creating a model or "trial run" of their project idea which they can test to gather more feedback.

The Design Thinking process is iterative, meaning they go through the steps multiple times (and not necessarily in the same order!) to continually build empathy, gather data, and refine their approach.

mentorship + project implementation

After they go through the Design Thinking process, each team submits a Project Proposal and receives feedback from The Changemaker Project staff.

Next, teams are paired with mentors who have expertise in their project area. Mentors meet with teams via Zoom calls to learn about students' projects, provide guidance and support, and point them toward the right resources to help them achieve their goals.

As students are executing their project plans, we provide leadership development tools around:

  • Project management

  • Mindfulness + self care

  • Conflict resolution

Teams create a 3-minute pitch video to showcase their project, the impact they've made, and their plan for scaling or expanding their project if they receive funds. These pitch videos are evaluated, and finalists are invited to pitch for seed funding at Global Pitch.

Check out the projects our 2019 finalists created!

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@2017 by The Changemaker Project.