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Something is Wrong: Exploring the Roots of Youth Violence


This curriculum guide developed by Chicago teachers presents a range of curricular resources for addressing issues of youth violence. It provides questioning strategies for encouraging deep reflection and critical thinking discussions, then a large variety of classroom activities in four areas: understanding oppression, types of violence encountered by young people, “artivism,” and youth-led research and organizing. Finally it provides additional resources and miscellaneous useful tools.
Curriculum Link: Author: Edited by Mariame Kaba, J. Cyriac Mathew, and Nathan Haine of The Chicago Freedom School, Project NIA and Teachers for Social Justice

Expected Student Outcomes/Objectives

The aim of this curriculum guide is to get participants to piece together their individual experiences in a way that clarifies their understanding of oppression and its connection to violence so that they can have more control over their own lives.
Through this curriculum, students will:

  • Look at some of the roots and practices shaping the culture of violence in the U.S.
  • Explore its toll on students’ overall well-being and sense of humanity
  • Think about and discuss the enforcers and victims of violence and the effects of violence on both victims and perpetrators;
  • Develop ideas about how violence can be minimized through systemic change.

Description of Activities

Activities in this guide are not intended to be used all in one course. Rather, a variety of activities are presented in each of the main sections so that teachers can select a way to engage the topic that fits with their student population and course content. A wide range of curriculum is organized into conceptually-defined sections. Curriculum resources aim to develop students’ analytical, reflective, critical thinking, and research skills as they explore the impact of the mortgage crisis on youth violence, examine the impact of police practices on youth, conduct student action research and community asset mapping, and learn civic engagement strategies.

Instructional Materials Needed


Instructional Materials Provided

380 pages of teacher-produced curriculum resources

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Additional criteria

Cost: Free

Curriculum type: Other

Academic subject areas: Visual and Performing Arts; Interdisciplinary; History/Social Sciences; English

States' Career Clusters: Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Secruity; Human Services; Government & Public Administration; Education & Training

California Industry sector(s): Public Services; Education, Child Development, and Family Services

Duration: Varies

Grade Target: All

Level of Expertise for CTE: All

Targeted Support Material: Community Involvement

Standards Addressed: Not yet assessed for alignment with new standards

Source: Organization/Publisher-developed

Organization/Publisher: Project NIA

Curriculum Link:

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