Margot Stern Strom Innovation Grants

Explore two new lessons created by the two grand finalists of the 2017 Margot Stern Strom Innovation Grants!

Our two grand finalists for the Margot Stern Strom Innovation Grants are ready to share their lessons with educators everywhere! Each lesson provides approaches that help your students understand empathy and how to consider other points of view that may differ from their own. Explore them today and see how you can create a more compassionate world with your students.

Catherine Epstein's Lesson

Challenging Assumptions with Curiosity

Catherine Epstein of Meridian Academy in Boston, MA is a 2017 Margot Stern Strom Innovation Grant grand finalist.

This lesson creates tangible engagement between students on different ends of the political spectrum by exchanging letters with each other over the course of one school year. This will cultivate a long-term dialogue between students who might not otherwise thoughtfully engage with one another and can help them come to a more nuanced understanding about political difference.

Essential Questions:
  1. How can citizens of the same country have different perceptions of that country?
  2. How do our identities shape our values?
  3. What assumptions do others make about us – and do we make about others – based on identity?
  4. How can we use our assumptions to generate curiosity?

Read what Catherine has to say about her experience with this project.

Jackson Westenskow's Lesson

Jackson Westenskow of High Point Academy in Aurora, CO is a 2017 Margot Stern Strom Innovation Grant grand finalist.

Empathy through Gameplay

This simple game-based lesson uses blocks and requires students to understand the roles of fellow players in order to cooperate and win. Students experience a real example of empathy and then can extend their learning through application to other authentic situations. The game can spark conversations about empathy to build a common ground of understanding among peers.

Essential Questions:

  1. What is empathy? How can empathy help a group (community, society) achieve a goal?
  2. How can empathy improve communication?

Read what Jackson has to say about his experience with this project.

The Margot Stern Strom Innovation Grants are made possible through the generous support of the Fialkow family.

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