How Poverty Affects Children: Shasha's Story (full unit)


In this middle school unit, students explore the meaning of poverty through the eyes of Shasha, a 14-year-old girl working to help feed her family in post-2010 earthquake Haiti. By examining the root causes of poverty, statistical poverty indicators, and UNICEF poverty-reducing programs, students learn about the effect of poverty on children's lives and ways to break the cycle of poverty. This unit concludes with a writing assessment aligned with College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards 1 and 2 for Writing from the Common Core State Standards. The unit also helps build empathy with children who experience extreme poverty with an optional tie-in with "Live Below the Line," a challenge to eat and drink on just $1.50 for five days.

Christine's Story

Dec 29, 2010 - Christine's story: A 14-year-old Haitian student braves the aftermath of the earthquake. UNICEF correspondent Thomas Nybo reports on the progress of a 14-year-old Haitian girl who is doing well in school despite the lingering effects of the January 2010 earthquake.

Shasha's Story

Shasha's story: UNICEF revisits a Haitian girl in a camp for the displaced. UNICEF correspondent Thomas Nybo reports on a young Haitian girl's hope for continued education, a year after the earthquake destroyed her family's home.

Syria Data Analysis Activity


Students read a map infographic and round the number of Syrian refugees from five countries. In a word problem involving hypothetical cooperation between two destination countries for Syrian refugees, student then calculate the mean (average) and find the missing value in a data set to produce a specific average. This activity (which also appears in the Syria Student Magazine (grades 6-8)) correlates with Standard 6.SP.5 for sixth grade mathematics in the Common Core State Standards.

Syria Student Magazine (grades 6-8)


This reader for middle school students explores current issues through informational texts, questions that promote critical thinking, photography from the field, and data analysis exercises involving maps, charts, and graphs. It was developed in conjunction with the Syria Lesson Plan (grades 6-8), but it may be used independent of the lesson as well. Find the lesson under the “Plan” tab in the Armed Conflict topic.


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